"Doctor Dolittle," the Movie Musical (1967)-- Rex Harrison starred in this Academy Award -nominated film from 20th-Century Fox, which also featured Anthony Newley and Samantha Eggar. In winning from the Lofting family the rights to make the movie, Fox had achieved what even Disney had not managed to do. However, despite a huge budget, exotic locations, a terrific cast (both starring and supporting), and a marvelous score by Leslie Bricusse, "Doctor Dolittle" was both a critical and a box-office failure. This lack of success mystifies the movie's fans (which group includes your webmaster), who can only point out that the family film has at least redeemed itself (in terms of sales) as a video. The twin pillars of the movie are surely Harrison's performance (he is said to have disliked making the film, but despite that he gives a lovely rendering of the gentle-but-strong, capable-but-clueless Doctor from Puddleby) and Bricusse's songs (including the Academy Award -winning "Talk to the Animals"). The admittedly meandering plot combines classic episodes from various of the Dolittle books with such relatively harmless innovations as a tentative love-interest for our hero, resulting in a big, beautiful film of the sort "they don't make 'em like" anymore.
More to come...