Monday, November 20, 2006

My Thanksgiving Favorite

It's almost Thanksgiving, and though I know not everyone that comes to my little blog celebrates this American holiday I'm going to throw out one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories. Dr. Doolittle. Not the horrible Eddie Murphy version, but the gold-standard starring Rex Harrison and Samantha Eggar. I'm not entirely sure why, but this movie was broadcast every Thanksgiving when I was a kid. While my poor Mom slaved in the kitchen over a hot turkey, I would hole up in their bedroom and watch Dr. Doolittle. Somehow my Mom seemed to know this had become my own personal ritual and allowed me the opportunity to lose myself in one of my favorite childhood stories. For those of you who have only seen the Eddie Murphy version of this movie, I would say you haven't actually seen Dr. Doolittle as it was intended. Sorry Eddie, but I think that particular movie stinks. Rex Harrison's Dr. Doolittle is a kind of brusque character, one who largely prefers animals to humans. He also has the ability to talk to the animals, which was always my favorite part. And in the world of Dr. Doolittle, miraculous animals abound. The first one I remember is the pushme-pullyu. It mostly resembles a two-headed llama, and I don't even want to guess how the animal is supposed to go potty. But these weren't concerns that occurred to my childhood brain. (though I suppose I'm more childish now in even bringing it up) There are also an inordinate number of giant animals in Dr. Doolittle. The first of which we see is a giant whale, who is so big that it is actually able to move an island. Then there is the giant pink sea snail, with room inside for Dr. Doolittle's friends to travel. And lastly the giant lunar moth on which we see Dr. Doolittle fly off on at the end of the movie. And to the never ending delight to my childish mind, the movie was a musical. Does anyone besides me remember "If I could talk to the animals?" The movie is fairly long, running over 150 minutes, so with commercials I could kill most of the day watching it. Oh joy! But it was so much fun. It also starred the lovely Samantha Eggar as Emma Fairfax, who basically attempts to act as the voice of reason in the movie. Unfortunately they don't really broadcast this wonderful movie anymore. But thankfully I can watch my Thanksgiving standard on DVD. For me, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it. I would love to hear about any other Thanksgiving traditions anyone else has. And if anyone would like to write a guest post about their favorite Thanksgiving movie or special, then let me know and I'll add you to the contributor list. (I'll do a similar feature at Christmas). For those of you who don't celebrate Thanksgiving, feel free to share your holiday memories with us. We'd love to hear about them.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

I agree; the Rex Harrison version is the 'real' version.

So many awful remakes have been made of quality films.

SQT said...

So many awful remakes have been made of quality films.

I could probably put up a post just about awful remakes.

Right now Eddie Murphy tops the list for ruining good movies with Dr. Doolittle and his remake of the Nutty Professor. Awful!

The Curmudgeon said...

Well -- "ruin" is a relative term. I haven't seen "The Nutty Professor" in a long time... I mean the Jerry Lewis version... never did see Eddie Murphy's. But how much worse could it be?

I think Visit to a Small Planet may be the best movie Jerry Lewis ever made, at least after the split from Dino -- surely the inspiration for Mork and Mindy.

And in "Dr. Henry Higgins Talks to the Animals," isn't Rex Harrison playing the same role he played in My Fair Lady?

Come to think of it, did Rex Harrison ever play other than a crusty sort? The Ghost and Mrs. Muir comes to mind as another example....

SQT said...

Rex Harrison was definitely cranky. Though "My Fair Lady" scores big because it had Audrey Hepburn.

I can't say I'm a fan of old Jerry Lewis movies, though I did like some of the Martin and Lewis stuff. Jerry Lewis was too slapstick for my taste.

But honestly, the Eddie Murphy version in soooo bad that I found myself longing for Jerry Lewis to come and save me from the horror being inflicted upon me.

The Curmudgeon said...

My kids know Jerry Lewis mostly from the Animaniacs parodies. They don't really understand why I laugh so hard at these.

SQT said...

My kids think I'm a little nuts too. I love cartoons that throw a little something in for the adults.