Monday, January 21, 2013
My friend the Doctor
Remember Movie Night, when we watched "Peter Pan"? We had another movie night.
It was less successful than the last because the kids were tired and snotty -- that is a word Pennario loved, snotty -- and the movie was more for the grown-ups, I am afraid. The movie was "Dr. Dolittle," the 1967 musical with Rex Harrison.
Looking up the movie I see it is almost universally reviled. Everyone seems to have hated it, right from the get-go! And I guess our kids were not nuts about it either.
Little Georgie, in particular, was restless and nostalgic for "Peter Pan." He asked if Samantha Eggar was a real woman or really a boy, apparently thinking of Mary Martin's gender-bending act. Then he started chanting: "Captain Hook! Captain Hook! Captain Hook!" probably hoping Hook would pop out from behind one of Dr. Dolittle's chimps.
But I liked "Dolittle." And that's what's important.
Movie Night is really for grown-ups. The kids are just allowed to be there.
I thought the songs were lovely. Leslie Bricusse wrote them. I thought Rex Harrison was funny. It is fascinating to read, by the way, that he was an arrogant pain during filming. You would never have guessed that.
The talking-to-the-animals bit is a riot. They are on this ramshackle boat and Dr. Dolittle goes, "One of the ship's rats came to see me last night. He said that according to old custom he might have to abandon ship."
"One of the ship's rats came to see me last night." Hahahahaaa!
Speaking of the rats abandoning ship, I understand this movie went way over budget and was a disaster for whatever studio made it, I forget. It lost money.
Still funny, say I. It is priceless just to see the spectacle of a horse walking into Dr. Dolittle's Victorian living room and being fitted for glasses. (Speaking of spectacles.)
You get to see Richard Attenborough running around singing and dancing. And you get to hear Anthony Newley sing "My Friend the Doctor."
Anthony Newley wears plaid pants. My mother and I kept laughing about that.
We'd never seen anything like it in our life!