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 elusive great pink snail and the giant lunar moth. Along the way, the group encounters a succession of bizarre human and animal characters -- most notably the legendary pushme-pullyou, an animal so freakish that it compels Albert Blossom (Richard Attenborough) to burst out into the exuberant song, "I've never Seen Anything Like It in My Life." Incredibly, the film was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 1967.
by Paul Brenner synopsis