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 »
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
When the boys are checking into Dr. T's piano prison, the kid immediately behind Bart identifies himself as Kim Charney, same name he used during brief career as child/teen actor. See more »
It is clear in some scenes that Bart is not really playing the piano: sometimes he misplaces his fingers, sometimes he does not move his fingers correctly, sometimes he even fails to press down the keys. See more »
Dr. Terwilliker's Voice:
Bartholomew Collins! The years you spend with Dr. Terwilliker, will be the happiest years of your life. But if you get homesick, don't try to escape. The barbed wire around the Terwilliker Institute... is ELECTRIFIED!
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Of course this is not really a movie for children. The structure of the movie is similar to "Wizard of Oz", beginning with a child which seems to be frustrated with the real life and then dreaming into another world, full of magicians, witches, fabulous adventures and so on. But while "Wizard of Oz" is funny, the characters can simply be divided in "good" and "bad", the adventures can be understood - in "5,000 Fingers" the little boy enters a nightmare! Funny and helpful characters are emotional disturbing. A witch can be recognized as fabulous being, but a piano-teacher is close to real life, and Dr. T. is much more frightening than the evil witch from Oz! The decoration and especially the musical numbers are fantastic, think of the bearded twins on skaters! Fantastic! The psychology of the movie is excellent: A boy suffering from the lack of a father is afraid that his beloved mother is hypnotized by a strange man and will marry him. Certainly thousands of children at any time are fearing such a situation. Literature and cinema are full of this theme, think of "Alice in Wonderland", "Fanny and Alexander" and so on. Really interesting is the time at which this movie was made. During the 50s almost everything was nice and perfect, and here you have a nice and perfect Musical showing frightening, fear, the "other side" of everything. - Here in Germany I am desperately waiting for getting it on DVD or TV! This movie is quite unknown and perhaps unpopular for its content. But believe me: It's one of the "pearls" in movie history!
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