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Film: Doctor Dolittle
Doctor Dolittle is a 1967 film musical based on the Doctor Dolittle books by Hugh Lofting. It starred Rex Harrison in the title role and Anthony Newley as his sidekick Matthew Mugg. Script, songs and score were written by Leslie Bricusse.

The film had a Troubled Production, with hundreds of animals to wrangle, location shooting troubles, and Harrison throwing his weight around. Producer Arthur P. Jacobs even had a heart attack during production (but was happy to get another pet project of his, Planet of the Apes, greenlit by the studio). It was a critical and popular flop, but managed to score two Academy Awards, for Original Song ("Talk to the Animals") and Special Effects.

Many years later, the film received a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation.

(For the Eddie Murphy films, see Dr. Dolittle.)

This film provides examples of:

  • A Head at Each End: The Pushmi-Pullyu, a llama-like creature with two front halves joined at the waist.
  • Absent-Minded Professor: the Doctor to a certain extent, mainly in terms of money.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Subverted in "Like Animals".
  • Cool Boat: (after a fashion) The Great Pink Sea Snail.
  • Decision Darts: How they choose to visit the floating island.
  • Everythings Better With Llamas: The Pushmi-Pullyu. (In the original books, it's more like a gazelle.)
  • Giant Flyer: The giant lunar moth.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Doctor disguises a seal as an old woman in order to smuggle her away from a circus. It works so well that when he throws her into the ocean (so she can go home to see her husband) he gets arrested and charged with murder!
  • Hypocritical Humor: During "The Reluctant Vegetarian," we see Matthew Mugg agreeing that "meat is very unhealthy for you"—while chowing down on sausage.
    • Also: "I weren't late for my fox hunt, I'd report you for cruelty to animals."
  • "I Am" Song: "The Reluctant Vegetarian", in which he explains how his life has changed since he started talking with animals.
  • Improbable Food Budget: He gets minimal salary, either in money or favors, yet he manages to feed hundreds of animals.
  • In Defence Of Story Telling: Matthew sings two songs celebrating the Doctor's imagination.
  • "I Want" Song: "Talk to the Animals"
  • Kindly Vet: Naturally. Being able to talk with his patients helps even more.
  • Not Good with People: Doctor Dolittle can speak with animals and relates well to them, but aside from a few close friends humans are really hard for him to deal with.
  • Perpetual Poverty: The Doctor spends all his money looking after animals.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Doctor Dolittle learns how to speak with the animals from his talking parrot. A Translation Convention is not used; conversations are shown taking place in gestures and animal noises, with Dolittle translating the important parts into English for the benefit of his human companions.
  • Traveling Landmass: Seastar Island.
  • What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?:
    Matt: I told you Flounder was no name for a boat!
    Dolittle: Nonsense. Flounders have survived for millions of years.
    Matt: Yes, under the water!

The Dirty DozenFilms of the 1960sThe Fearless Vampire Killers
Film NoirImageSource/Live-Action FilmsA Head at Each End

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