Bart has only one enemy in the world: his piano teacher Dr. Terwilliker. Dr. T has a mad plan to force 500 young boys to practice at his magnificent piano 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ... See full summary »
Once upon a time there were two people in love, their names were Nina and Jamie. They were even happy enough to be able to live happily ever after, (not often the case) and then Jamie died.... See full summary »
Bart has only one enemy in the world: his piano teacher Dr. Terwilliker. Dr. T has a mad plan to force 500 young boys to practice at his magnificent piano 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Bart is the only hope to save these boys from being enslaved. Fantastic sets, screenplay, and even song lyrics were provided by Dr. Seuss. Features the only piano academy ever known to be equipped with cells and surrounded by an electric fence. Written by
Tim Kretschmann <Tim.K@VirComm.com>
According to producer Stanley Kramer, the film's budget would only allow him to hire 150 boys for the piano sequence, instead of the 500 boys he intended to use. When he threatened them with dismissal after they misbehaved, many of them stood up and cheered. See more »
When Bart climbs the huge ladder to escape the guards, when he jumps off of the ladder, you can clearly see a thick wire holding him. See more »
I don't think the piano is my instrument.
What other instruments are there, pray tell? Scratchy violins, screechy piccolos, nauseating trumpets, et cetera, et cetera?
See more »
"The 5.000 Fingers of Dr. T" is one of those 'sleepers' that have been turning up on video over recent years. As many commentators have said, the film is uneven in terms of inspiration. This is especially true on the musical level: only a couple of songs are memorable. Still, even the weaker ones are effective. But the film has a memorable, surrealistic set design with a marvelous color component.
A generally good cast compensates for any other deficiencies. As Bart, Tommy Rettig makes a terrific hero for his own dream/fantasy. (This film could almost be described as a lesser "Wizard of Oz"). Real life married couple Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy are fine as the 'parent' figures. While Hans Conried dominates every scene he is in: the wonderfully mean-spirited Dr. T. (The wonderful "Dress Me Up" song is irresistable).
But what truly makes this movie compulsory viewing is the brilliant dungeon ballet. Bart steals into the dark recesses below Dr. T's institute and discovers a beautifully realized nightmare world. All of Dr. T's non-piano-playing prisoners are incarcerated here, along with their instruments ('screechy violins, nauseating trumpets' etc). But this is no conventional scary, kid-movie sequence: the scene is staged as a major jazz ballet piece. The choreography is no less than ingenious. In their green leotards, these very musical 'boys' (including young George Chakiris) perform as rousing a dance number as has ever been put before the movie camera. And the musical score, at its peak here, is at one with the dancing.
Film historians tell us that "The 5.000 Fingers of Dr. T" was virtually ignored in its day. Perhaps it was too "weird" in 1953 for audiences who were already growing used to milder TV fare. But Conried's performance and the incredible ballet scene should assure it a place in fantasy film history for some time to come.
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