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The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)

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2:05 | Trailer
A young boy travels to an imaginary world where, assisted by his family's plumber, he must save other piano playing kids like himself from the dungeons of his dictatorial piano teacher who also mind-controls his mother.

Director:

Roy Rowland

Writers:

Dr. Seuss (screenplay), Allan Scott (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Peter Lind Hayes ... August Zabladowski
Mary Healy ... Heloise Collins
Hans Conried ... Dr. Terwilliker
Tommy Rettig ... Bartholomew Collins
Jack Heasley Jack Heasley ... Uncle Whitney (as John Heasley)
Robert Heasley Robert Heasley ... Uncle Judson
Noel Cravat Noel Cravat ... Sgt. Lunk
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
George Chakiris ... Dancer (as George Kerris)
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Storyline

The bane of young Bart Collins' existence are the piano lessons he's forced to take under the tutelage of Dr. Terwilliker, the only person he detests because of his dictatorial nature. Bart feels Dr. Terwilliker has undue influence on his widowed mother, Heloise. Bart constantly daydreams of a place - the Terwilliker Institute- overlorded by the evil madman; Dr Terwilliker. The mad doctor's built a piano so immense, it needs 500 children to play it. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sights that couldn't be till Nineteen-Fifty-Three! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 July 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Five-Thousand Fingers of Dr. T. See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Various times through the movie, Heloise Collins's pink scarf alternates from her shoulder/arm, changing positions occasionally. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Zabladowski: I've heard rumors about your operation.
Dr. Terwilliker: Rumors? Scuttlebutt! I can tell you all about the rumors! I'm a villain! I'm a loathsome racketeer! This money you see before you? I've stolen it from the pocketbooks of unsuspecting mothers. Filthy, lying rumors! Why, this is a problem that every great man faces! The rumors of corruption that breeds in high places, rumors seeking to discredit my noble aims. And now these have crept into me own house, vilifying and besmirching my honesty, my fair name, my...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Edited into TNT 100% Weird (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Chopsticks
(uncredited)
Music by Euphemia Allen
Played by all the boys on the giant keyboard, led by Tommy Rettig
See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating, truly unique film - excellent new DVD
4 May 2001 | by Bobs-9See all my reviews

I've been familiar with this relatively obscure film for quite a few years, and while I am not familiar with the various VHS versions of it, I have had the laserdisc version for at least a decade, or more. The new DVD release is amazingly superior to that edition in picture quality, in terms of definition, color and contrast. Even the darkest, shadowy portions of the picture are rendered in sharp detail in the DVD, whereas those areas in the laserdisc picture are just an indistinct, dark grey blur. The colors are stable and vibrant, as well. All this helps tremendously in presenting the vivid imagery of this film to best effect. If you have any regard for this film, you really should have this edition.

I can't add much to the accolades already posted for this fascinating, and genuinely unique, work of pure imagination. I've never seen a bad review of it. I might only make another mention of the hilarious `dressing-up' song that Hans Conried performs near the end of the film. Much comment has been made about the items Dr. T calls for in the lyrics (`undulating undies,' `purple nylon girdle,' `peek-a-boo blouse,' etc.). However, it should be pointed out to those yet unfamiliar with this film that these items bear no relation to the outfit in which he is actually being dressed, which is a cartoonishly-exaggerated drum major uniform. I guess you couldn't do THAT in 1953, at least not in such a mainstream venue. Those sophisticated enough to get the joke will get it, though, and the rest will find it strange, but amusing. My point is that despite all the bizarre and subversive attributes people have seen and commented on in this film, it is very much of its time in style, and decidedly family-friendly viewing. Anyone with a fondness for `Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' should appreciate this, and I'm not sure it isn't superior to that film in style, wit, and pure imaginative pizzaz.


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