Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5.
USA, 1967. APJAC Productions, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Screenplay by Leslie Bricusse, based on the novels by Hugh Lofting. Cinematography by Robert Surtees. Produced by Arthur P. Jacobs. Music by Leslie Bricusse. Production Design by Mario Chiari. Costume Design by Ray Aghayan. Film Editing by Samuel E. Beetley, Marjorie Fowler.
Adaptation of the popular children’s novel is a downright embarrassing mess. Rex Harrison gives a spirited performance as the famous doctor whose parrot speaks fluent English and teaches him in turn to speak the languages of all animals of the world. Dolittle decides to make good use of this new talent and becomes a doctor for animals, travelling the world in search of a mythical creature called the Great Pink Sea Snail. The song score is atrocious (Harrison could only get away with his rap-singing in My Fair Lady, but not again), but some of the young and young at heart might enjoy it (parts of it anyway) and the visual effects are still quite impressive, especially the excellent animal training.
Academy Awards: Best Special Visual Effects; Best Song (“Talk To The Animals”)
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Cinematography; Best Art Direction; Best Film Editing; Best Sound; Best Original Music Score; Best Scoring of Music-Adaptation or Treatment
Golden Globe Award: Best Supporting Actor (Richard Attenborough)
Nominations: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Rex Harrison); Best Music Score; Best Song (“Talk To The Animals”)