A young boy dreams that he is in 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.
The bane of young Bart Collins' existence is 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 that Dr. Terwilliker has undue influence on his widowed mother Heloise. Bart constantly daydreams of a place--the Terwilliker Institute--at which the evil madman is its overlord. The mad doctor's built a piano so immense that it needs 500 children to play it.Written by
Dr. Seuss based Dr. Terwilliker on a piano teacher he had as a child, who would smack the boy's fingers with a pencil whenever he made a mistake. See more »
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 »
Say, I've gotta get out of here.
Relax, don't take these little things so seriously. After all, seeing as how your mother's here...
My mother's here?
That's a silly question. You know perfectly well she's in the Number 2 spot.
The Number 2 spot?
Second in charge of the whole Happy Finger racket.
My mom couldn't be mixed up in any racket!
Look, partner: I hate to speak badly about mothers, after all, motherhood is the noblest institution in our land. But the fact remains that your ma is in the Number 2...
[...] 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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