Doctor Detroit

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Doctor Detroit
Doctor detroit.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Pressman
Produced by Robert K. Weiss
Written by Bruce Jay Friedman
Carl Gottlieb
Robert Boris
Music by James Brown (song, "Get up Offa That Thing/Dr. Detroit")
Lalo Schifrin
Cinematography King Baggot
Edited by Christopher Greenbury
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release dates
May 6, 1983
Running time
89 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8 million[citation needed]
Box office $10,375,893[1]

Doctor Detroit is a 1983 comedy film, written by Bruce Jay Friedman, Robert Boris, and Carl Gottlieb. The film stars Dan Aykroyd, Howard Hesseman, Lynn Whitfield, Fran Drescher, and Donna Dixon, with a special appearance by James Brown. The film was directed by Michael Pressman.

James Brown performed the theme song "Get Up Offa That Thing/Dr. Detroit." Devo performed "Theme from Doctor Detroit" and "Luv-Luv" and released an EP, including "Theme from Doctor Detroit," "Luv-Luv," and a remix of the theme song. Devo also produced a music video from the theme song incorporating footage from the film.


A introverted geek, Clifford Skridlow (Dan Aykroyd), is a professor of comparative literature at the financially strapped (fictional) Monroe College in Chicago.

Smooth Walker (Howard Hesseman), a pimp, owes $80,000 to "Mom" (Kate Murtagh), a gruff Chicago mob boss. Attempting to weasel out of his debt, Smooth invents a fictitious mobster, the flamboyant "Doctor Detroit," who purportedly is overrunning his turf. Aykroyd meets Smooth and his girls (Donna Dixon, Lydia Lei, Fran Drescher, and Lynn Whitfield) and has the best night of his life partying with them. After finding out about their troubles with Mom, Skridlow agrees to assume the role of Doctor Detroit in an effort to help them.

Meanwhile, Monroe College awaits its anticipated corporate endowment, a check to be delivered by one of the executives, Harmon Rousehorn (Andrew Duggan). The film alternates between Skridlow's straight life and his life as the Doctor: Skridlow teaches literature and helps his nervous father (George Furth) secure money for the destitute college, while Dr. Detroit battles Mom, boogies with James Brown, and helps out four prostitutes previously subject to Smooth.

The film was shot on location in Chicago during the summer of 1982.



Doctor Detroit
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released 1983
Genre New wave, R&B, synthpop
Label Backstreet/MCA
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars link

A soundtrack album for the film was released on Backstreet Records. The track listing is as follows.

  1. "Theme from Doctor Detroit" – Devo 3:10
  2. "Hold Him" – Pattie Brooks, Dan Aykroyd 3:22
  3. "King of Soul" – James Brown 2:40
  4. "Yo Skridlow" – T. K. Carter, Dan Aykroyd 4:40
  5. "Working Girls" – Pattie Brooks, Dan Aykroyd 4:48
  6. "Get Up Offa That Thing/Doctor Detroit" – James Brown 3:23
  7. "Luv-Luv" – Devo 3:36
  8. "You Are the One" – Pattie Brooks 4:05
  9. "Get It on and Have a Party" – Pattie Brooks 6:09

Reaction and sequel[edit]

In her autobiography, Enter Whining, Fran Drescher comments that this film was expected to be a major hit for the summer of 1983, but that it fell short of that expectation; by the time the film ended its run in theaters, it had only managed to make US$10.8 million, on a budget of US$8 million.

The end titles promise the release of Doctor Detroit II: The Wrath of Mom, meant as a gag based on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, released eleven months previously. Aykroyd was said to have been writing the script; however, the project went unfulfilled due to poor box office results. [2][better source needed]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]