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The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)

Approved | | Family, Fantasy, Music | 1 July 1953 (USA)
The bane of adolescent Bart Collins' existence is the piano lessons he is forced to take under the tutelage of Dr. Terwilliker, the only person he admits he detests because of his ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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Jack Heasley ...
Uncle Whitney (as John Heasley)
Robert Heasley ...
Noel Cravat ...
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Dancer (as George Kerris)
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Storyline

The bane of adolescent Bart Collins' existence is the piano lessons he is forced to take under the tutelage of Dr. Terwilliker, the only person he admits he detests because of his dictatorial nature. Bart feels Dr. Terwilliker has undue influence for these lessons on his widowed mother, Heloise Collins. The one person who sympathizes with Bart, although quietly on the sidelines, is the Collins' plumber, August Zabladowski. Bart hates his life associated with the piano so much he often daydreams when he practices and even during his lessons. His latest dream has him imprisoned in the fantastical Terwilliker Institute in the day before its grand opening. Terwilliker's second in command at the Institute is his mother, although she has been hypnotized into her position, which will also soon be as Mrs. Dr. Terwilliker. Bart tries to convince Mr. Zabladowski, who is there to install the Institute's plumbing, to save his mother and himself from Terwilliker. Bart also hopes that Zabladowski ... Written by Huggo

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Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

1 July 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Five-Thousand Fingers of Dr. T.  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)
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(Western Electric Recording)

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the late 1990s, composer Glen Roven and writer Anthony Horowitz began work on a stage adaptation of the film. Roven tossed out all of the pre-existing songs and penned 20 new ones, including "I Hate Music," "Happy Little Fingers," "You Deserve a Prince," "No Balls Here," "Pickle Juice," "Crazy Music" and others. The stage production was never fully realized, but audio demos recorded in 2001 have long been circulating among musical-theater aficionados. See more »

Goofs

When Judson and Whitney are first seen rolling around on skates in the Piano Yard, Bart is seen poking his head out from behind a small pink piano in the background. In the context of the plot, Bart is supposed to be hiding at the top of the stairs to his mother's office. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Collins: [answering the phone] Collins speaking. No madam, most definitely not, your son will not be allowed to bring his baseball. Dr. Terwilliker does not believe in baseballs, golf balls, basketballs or tennis balls, ping-pong balls, snowballs, croquet balls or hockey pucks. Dr. Terwilliker believes only in the piano!
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Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #33.82 (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

The Dungeon Song
Music by Friedrich Hollaender (as Frederick Hollander)
Lyrics by Dr. Seuss
Sung by masked, uncredited cast member
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User Reviews

 
Odds Bodkins.
28 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

Well I never. I have just had the pleasure of watching this film on Channel 4 in the UK. Its a damp and dreary Friday afternoon and this wacky exercise in surrealism has just been broadcast and has certainly put a smile on my face. What a storyline. What a set. What acting. This is a gem of a film which I had never heard of till today. It is a real departure from your average 1950s family film. Through the whole duration the film swings between brilliance and total whack. The madness of Dr Seuss comes across so well, especially when you jack up the colour a few notches :-) I am led to believe that Dali had a hand in the design of the sets. That in itself is enough to get me watching. I was surprised at the amount of reference to this movie I have actually experienced without realising it. For example, the Uk is presently showing an add for "frank" which is a recreational drug use/misuse information service available to the public. It uses a character who is undoubtedly based on Bart to do so. As a fan of surrealism I totally enjoyed the spooky weirdness of this mindbending musical. Just sad I didn't record it as I see it isn't available in European pal DVD format. Doh.


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