"Rex Harrison Portrays Doctor"
Salt Lake Tribune, 13 June 1968, page 4B
'Dolittle' Delights Capacity Audience
Salt Lake Tribune, 13 June 1968, Page 4B
"Dr. Dolittle," a charming musical adventure about a general
practitioner turned veterinarian who speaks to animals, opened Wednesday
night to a delighted capacity audience at the newly redesigned Utah Theatre.
The 70mm Todd-AO production premiered in Salt Lake City as a benefit
for the Primary Children's Hospital and will begin regular performances
The film was inspired by the widely read "Dolittle" novels,
12 in all, written by the late Hugh J. Jofting from stories which originated
as letters to his children during World War I.
Starring Rex Harrison in the title role, with Samantha Eggar, Anthony
Newly and Richard Attenborough, the basic premise of the story is that
Doctor John Dolittle, having lost interest in his human patients, is taught
the language of animals (more than 400 dialects) from "Alliguiorse"
to "Zebran" by his multi-lingual parrot, Polymala, who alone
among his "clientele" can speak English.
It is this unique ability which leads Dolittle and his friends into a
world of exotic journeys and events which are accepted as the natural
order of things.
In a delightful blend of color and songs - "Talk To The Animals"
won an Academy Award - the audience follows Dr. Dolittle's escapades as
he seeks out the legendary Great Pink Sea Snail on Star Island.
To raise funds for the search, the doctor offers the services of a pushmi-pullyu
(an extraordinary llama-like animal with a head at both ends) to a circus.
Because of an incidental plot involving a despondent seal, Dolittle is
tangled in a wild confusion of mistaken identities, accused of murdering
a woman (the seal), and jailed.
The doctor's subsequent escape from jail and his voyage on the unconventional
ship "Flounder," make for hilarity and the kind of family movie
fun so rare on the film circuit.
Once on Sea Star Island, Dolittle and his party are captured by natives
and condemned to the death of "a thousand screams." In the story's
conclusion, the doctor treats afflicted animals on the island, cajoles
a great blue whale into pushing the floating mass into the warmer latitudes,
discovers the Great Pink Sea Snail - and announces his next adventure
will be a trip to the moon aboard a giant lunar moth.
Premiere ceremonies included a ribbon-cutting prior to the film, opening
the new main floor theater. The Penthouse Theatre will be completed next
month and open with "Rosemary's Baby."