While Hugh Lofting’s wonderful Dr. Dolittle books go back to the 1920s (with additional tomes in 1933 and 1948) and took place during the early Victorian era in Britain — actually Puddleby-on-the- Marsh, in the West Country — I didn’t discover them until I was about ten.
And then devoured the entire series. I loved these books.
When the film arrived in 1967, I recall a screening at Fox in NY, and it was 70mm.
As to the film, itself, it may have been a difficult task to translate. And I’d not seen it again until Twilight Time’s new Blu-ray arrived.
The film today, probably has a specialized audience.
Pre-teens, possibly, who read, and may be familiar with the Lofting works.
The film is a sweet production, filled with the innocence of childhood, and with the music of Leslie Bricusse, who also wrote the screenplay.
Anthony Newley, who knows how to sing Bricusse, is a featured player, along with Samantha Eggar and Richard Attenborough.
Does the film stand the test of time?
I’m not certain.
But what I can report, as an absolute, is that Twilight Time’s new Blu-ray, which includes some worthy extras, is a magnificent affair.
Color, grain structure (virtually invisible, do to the transfer element presumably being a 65mm IP), shadow detail, and overall resolution, are beyond reproach.
I’d really love to know what ten year-olds think of it today. Please do report back.
Image – 5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass