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Doctor Dolittle [Blu-ray]
(Richard Fleischer, 1967)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Video: Koch Media / Twilight Time
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 2:31:08.059 / 2:31:22.114
Disc Size: 21,637,536,480 bytes / 48,951,997,372 bytes
Feature Size: 19,944,622,080 bytes / 45,324,748,800 bytes
Video Bitrate: 18.10 Mbps / 27.28 Mbps
Chapters: 17 / 24
Case: 12-page Digibook Blu-ray case / Transparent Keep case
Release date: October 21st, 2011 / November 2017
Aspect ratio: 2.22:1/ 2.20:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1809 kbps 4.0 / 48 kHz / 1809 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 4.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1084 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1084 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1078 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1078 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3761 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3761 kbps / 24-bit (DTS
Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1950 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1950 kbps / 24-bit (DTS
Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2079 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2079 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English, German, Italian, none
English (SDH), none
Isolated Music Track
Description: So, they let both Rex Harrison and Anthony Newley sing. This 1968 family musical is classier than the 1998 Eddie Murphy remake, with all of its scatological humor. This won a couple of Oscars (Best Song, Best Effects) and was nominated for seven more, including Best Picture. At the time of release, however, this was a box-office dud. Based (in part) on the magical Hugh Lofting book, it begins in Puddleby-by-the-Marsh, England, from which the world-renowned veterinarian Dolittle (Harrison) begins his quest for a giant pink sea snail. Children should find this enjoyable for its exotic creatures, such as the Pushme-Pullyou. Most adults may not agree as readily, although some of us consider this a guilty pleasure.
Doctor Dolittle is a world-renowned veterinarian who speaks a wide array of animal languages. He sets off from his home... in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, England, in search of the Great Pink Sea Snail. In so doing, he and his friends meet such exotic creatures as the Pushme-Pullyu and the Giant Moon Moth.
The extremely patient will love Rex Harrison's quirky comic work here, and the man reportedly went to outrageous lengths to complete the film -- including being frequently bitten and urinated on. The lush sets and presentation are a big disconnect with the silly story, but that ultimately turns out to be part of the joy of the movie. Too bad the second half, in which Dolittle goes on a sea voyage in search of a giant sea snail, is such a disconnect from the much more fun first half.Excerpt from Christopher Null at FilmCritic.com located HERE
Those who have not encountered the bright-eyed, roly-poly little man within the pages of Mr. Lofting's wonderful stories, either in childhood or as a parent with a reading job to do, may find this elaborate whimsy, all done up with animals and quaint costumes, very much the thing to take the kiddies to at Christmas—and no damage done to images. And certainly the youngsters should enjoy it, provided they can take the two-and-a-half-hour length, not including an intermission, which is thoughtfully inserted at just about the right place.Excerpt from NY Times located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Doctor Dolittle arrives on Blu-ray from Koch Media in Germany. This is only single-layered for the 2.5-hour film and my major complaint would be the colors -which seem not only less vibrant than I was anticipating - but have an earthy brown bias - giving the skin tones a grayish overlay. Detail is promisingly visible and detail is acceptable. This Blu-ray is superior to SD and I guess with the film's middling reception - it probably won't be set for dynamic marketing in the near future. Frankly, it's just not that big of a moneymaker. This Blu-ray isn't of sterling quality but my presentation was consentient and, at best, reasonable.
My reservations about the Koch Blu-ray look like they have been addressed in this new Twilight Time transfer and colors gain significant vibrancy and the black levels are richer and darker. It shows more information in the 2.20:1 frame (negative ratio - 70 mm print). No contest really - the Twilight Time is a vastly superior video presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
More Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray Captures
The DTS-HD Master in an odd 4.0 channel mix at 1809 kbps works reasonably well. I can't say I noted any strong depth but the singing was very pleasant (I kinda like Anthony Newley's style.) There is some crispness overall but I can't say I was overly impressed. The disc offers optional subtitles in English, German and Italian and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Twilight Time give the choice of DTS-HD Master tracks in wither a robust 5.1 surround at a whopping 3761 kbps or a 2.0 channel (both 24-bit as opposed to the Koch's 16-bit.) The 70 mm had a 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) soundstage. There is some separation and responsive depth in the surround and buoyancy with the alternate being flat with more modest depth. It is filled with the music composed by Leslie Bricusse (for both releases this include the Overture and Entre'act to black screens). Notable are 'Talk To The Animals' and 'Doctor Dolittle' - available, with all the music, in an isolated score option. There arte optional English (SDH) subtitles on the Region FREE Blu-ray disc.
The supplements appear to be nothing more than a couple of trailers and an image gallery.
Extras include the audio commentary with songwriter/screenwriter Leslie Bricusse and film music historian Mike Matessino. I have not yet indulged. Also is Michelle S. Anton's 3/4 hour look at the life and career of actor Rex Harrison entitled Rex Harrison: The Man Who Would Be King originally shown on TV's Biography. There is an original theatrical trailer and the limited edition package (3,000 units) has liner notes by Julie Kirgo.
Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray
The Twilight Time is a significantly superior Blu-ray package - in every area. As a family fantasy film - it, like the music, is a memorable, fun, piece of cinema with some striking visuals. Obviously, if you are keen, the Twilight Time is the only way to go...
December 13th, 2011
November 23rd, 2017
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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