What do we think of it?
I loved it as a kid. Watched it every time it came on television. I may have watched it over twenty times. I know that it is one of the last drops of movie musicals, along with "Star", "Hello Dolly", and "Funny Girl".
But I think some of the songs are great- I have some downloaded on my IPod.I like Rex Harrison. I grew up thinking of him as Dr. Dolittle instead of Henry Higgins. I don't like Anthony Newley as much now. And was this best Samantha Eggar could get after her Oscar nomination ? But I love to watch Richard Attenborough do his bit. Isn't the kid in this movie the same kid in "The Nanny " with Bette Davis?
It's a good family movie. And Pushmi Pullyu has to be a covert sexual act.
I remember finding it sort of boring as a kid - thought the songs and the plot were both uninteresting. Never watched it as an adult.
I had read all the Doolittle books, and I was so looking forward to it. Huge disappointment.
Now that I know what a bastard Harrison was I have trouble watching it.
I had the "Dr Doolittle" comic book in the 1970s and thought I was the coolest kid ever.
I also had the album and would spend hours on a Sunday afternoon listening to the 'record' and looking at the photos from the film on the album notes.
Ahhh, good times. (Mary! to the xth degree)
I loved it as a kid, too. I was completely obsessed with the Pushmi Pullyu.
Btw, "Walk, Don't Run" with Cary Grant is on after Doolittle on TCM tonight. If you have never seen it, you must. Record it if you have to. It's a great little movie. Very funny.
[quote] I don't like Anthony Newley as much now.
I didn't like him even when I saw the movie as a kid. I thought he ruined what was otherwise am enjoyable movie. The best song is the title song.
Has anyone seen "The Girl in the Car with Glasses and a Gun"?
Harrison had a very great reputation around the time of My Fair Lady--he was a huge star.
It's hard for me to see that now; Henry Higgins seems like a borderline sadist/dullard. Hepburn was frequently paired with implausible love interests, but surely Higgins/Harrison was at the head of that list.
I had the soundtrack when I was a kid and memorized some of the songs. I used to shout, "Turnip, pie, and peanuts, that's the sort of filth I eat! Any sort of rubbish that is wholesome and discrete!" Even in college I breathily let my fraternity brothers know that, "I'm down to earth. I'll tell you straight. I could tell you stories that would fascinate you. I know my trade. I know my tricks. See, I once bought an elephant for two pound, six. Two pound, six! Taught him tricks!"
It was one of the first feature films that I remember seeing over, and over again, on my own. I was 7.
This was before we knew how to get to Sesame Street.
Very weird movie, bizarre to be slightly entertaining even if it's quite a bad movie.
And here's my Pushmi-Pullyo cat!
Aimed at families, R17. Based on the huge success of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Actually, most of the musicals of the 70's and 80's were aimed at teens.
I saw DOLITTLE some years back and found it hard to sit through. None of the lead actors is particulary good (Harrison jsut does another variation on Higgins) and the score is, at best, mediocre. Any musical where the score is done by Leslie Bricusse should be avoided at all costs.
I can't believe this film got a Best Picture nomination, but someone at 20th Century Fox must have been the Harvey Weinstein of his/her day to get this, CLEOPATRA, and HELLO, DOLLY nominated.
I couldn't make it through a single viewing of it when I was a kid. Bored me to pieces.
Best Oscar-winning song, ever.
if you're interested in the making of this film read the excellent book "pictures at a revolution." looks at all five best picture nominees of 1967.
I think "When I Loook in Your Eyes" is a really beautiful song. Claudine Longet (remember her?) did a very nice job with that on her album "Love is Blue". I loved this movie as a kid, but don't care for it much now. With today's special effects, this is one movie (without the music) that I'd like to see remade. There are several other Doolittle books, so perhaps there is a franchise here!
DOCTOR DOLITTLE's Oscar nomination for a Best Picture was a scandal. 20th Century Fox had sunk a huge fortune into the movie which suffered from a runaway budget. Among other things, they had to pay Christopher Plummer a full salary to not make the movie after Rex Harrison, who initially turned down the part, changed his mind.
Test audiences hated the long (and expensive) prologue in which Dolittle rode a giraffe through the African jungle in search of a hippo with a toothache. The movie was too long so the jungle sequence was cut. But the entire ad campaign was built around an image of Dolittle riding a giraffe. So snippets of the dropped prologue were inserted (awkwardly) into the floating island scenes. This includes no more than three precious but pointless seconds where Dolittle is seen on the giraffe, just like the poster promises.
The execs at Fox were in full-on panic when they realized what a dull movie they had on their hands. Yet they continued to throw more money at the problem. They hosted a series of lavish banquets for Academy Award voters. Screenings of the film accompanied by prime rib and champagne dinners accomplished the trick of securing a Best Picture nomination. But the strategy backfired as it was such an obvious case of bribery, both Fox and the Academy came out of it looking bad.
The merchandising tie-in was so huge yet so unwanted that toys and records in their original packages can still be found for sale in third-world nations. A decade after the Dolittle debacle, Hollywood was still so soured on the idea of film-themed merchandise that George Lucas was able to demand and receive all the merchandising rights for STAR WARS - a blunder that no studio ever repeated.
"Harrison had a very great reputation around the time of My Fair Lady--he was a huge star."
Harrison's glow from my Fair Lady has worn off by 1967. I HATED this movie as a kid 12 years old. The movie musicals were just getting worse and worse - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Paint Your Wagon, this one - it was like they made any show or idea into a bad musical movie. THAT's what killed them off.
Thank goodness [italic]I[/italic] was an effervescent delight!
Yes (R22). Pictures at a Revolution is a great book.
My favorite Doolittle story is in Inside Oscar where they mention a 20th Century Fox studio memo that says something like:
"All screenings of Doctor Doolittle will be accompanied by a full roast beef au jus dinner!"
Harvey Fierstein didn't create Oscar campaigning.
Rex Harrison, who was always a nasty piece of work, referred to Anthony Newley as "that Cockney Jew." One assumes Harrison was jealous of Newley's youth and superior talent as a musical performer.
Then Newley must have been straight or Harrison would have called him a 'the cockney fag.'
First, these 60s kids must have had attention spans that would defy today's adults: why is any film aimed at kids as long as DR. DOLITTLE? Today's ADD generation wouldn't make it through the first quarter of this bloated, dull film.
The best way to experience it is to listen to one of the "cover" albums of the score, or make your own--Bobby Darin did an album devoted to it, as did Sammy Davis Jr. They have the brass, sass, and energy that the film lacks.
Listen to Diahann Carroll's very tough, uptempo version of "At the Crossroads" on the Ed Sullivan Show.
And I don't think that much of Leslie Bricusse as a writer either, but some of the DR. D songs are enjoyable, even if the ballads all have a sameness.
Read the book "The Studio." It is a hilarious chronicle of what a bloated mess this move was to make and watch.
I just requested The Studio, Pictures at a Revolution and Picture (by Lillian Ross) from my local library.
DL often leads me to interesting books. Thanks, fellows!