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
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 »
Various times through the movie, Heloise Collins's pink scarf alternates from her shoulder/arm, changing positions occasionally. See more »
It's sad that this enormously entertaining children's fantasy film goes almost unseen today. It is the only live action feature film that the late great Dr. Suess was involved in. The story involves young Bart, a free spirited little boy who is forced into piano lessons dictated by the pretentious, snobby Dr. Terwilliker (Hans Conried at his nasally best!) In his dreams, he imagines this horrible teacher runs a prison like institute where prisoners are forced to play a silly, large piano meant for 500 piano players all at once. The film has wonderful dialog, crazy musical numbers with great lyrics. Two of my favorite songs in this film is the baratone executioner, and Dr. T's gleeful song about dressing up. Oh, and there's a reference to the atomic bomb that is just too gosh-darned funny! This loopy classic has a nice message, mostly aimed at adults- take children more seriously, and let them be children. The last shot of the film has Bart running off to play sports. A perfect happy ending.
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