Doctor Dolittle
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Rex Harrison, although not at all like the portly man described in Hugh Lofting's charming series of children's stories, is sheer perfection as the kindly animal doctor in Leslie Bricusse's musical fantasy Doctor Dolittle. Sadly, Harrison is the only thing nearing perfection in this overstuffed and over-mounted fiasco that nearly brought down 20th Century Fox. Considered a lunatic because he can converse in 498 animal dialects, Dolittle gathers up his friends Matthew Mugg (Anthony Newley) and Emma Fairfax (Samantha Eggar) and heads off on a journey to the South Seas to find the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 32%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Leslie Bricusse's adaptation retains the delightful aspects while taking considerable liberty with the plot. His music and lyrics, while containing no smash hits, are admirably suited to the scenario."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The music is not exceptional, the rendering of the songs lacks variety, and the pace, under Richard Fleischer's direction, is slow and without surprise. Indeed, toward the end it is perfunctory. Things happen mechanically."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Not even a decent performance from Richard Attenborough can save this disappointing production."
‑ Ian Nathan, Empire Magazine
"Glossy, overlong, but still fun kids' musical with Rex Harrison in good form."
‑ Steve Crum,
"A major factor in the death of the film musical."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"It's so clumsy and pounding that taking a child to it might be grounds for a visit from family services."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Animal-friendly, kid-friendly classic."
‑ Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media
"Doctor Dolittle might be a little woolly at times but it's impossible not to be impressed by Rex Harrison and his marvellous menagerie."
‑ Richard Luck, Film4
"Click to read the article."
‑ Staci Layne Wilson,
"Unfortunately -- even as escapist fare -- it's a failure due to its lifeless, meandering plot, and characters."
‑ Jon Lap, Apollo Guide
"[It] almost bankrupted the studio when audiences stayed away in droves. In retrospect, it's not hard to see why."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"One of the worst films to be ever nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and one of the weakest Hollywood musicals of the 1960s."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Will put the kids to sleep, but may kill you."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"The lush sets and presentation are a big disconnect with the silly story, but that ultimately turns out to be part of the joy of the movie."
‑ Christopher Null,
More reviews for Doctor Dolittle on Rotten Tomatoes

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