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The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)

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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 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Wonder Musical of the Future! 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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

As Bart descends from the top of the ladder, he casts a shadow against the sky. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Terwilliker: [after hearing Bart practice] That's not bad. But not good! You're still not loud enough, still not fast enough! Rhythm still off, still misses the beats!
Bart Collins: What?
Dr. Terwilliker: Well, it takes time. It takes years!
[smiles]
Dr. Terwilliker: Sometimes it actually does take forever.
Bart Collins: What?
Dr. Terwilliker: Well, my little watch tells me that's all we can hope to do today. Tomorrow however, oh tomorrow, what a day! At 6 AM sharp, all the others will arrive!
Bart Collins: What others?
Dr. Terwilliker: Well, I say, you don't think I built this great piano just for you! Have you no ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in Father Figure: Steve Rowland on Roy Rowland (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

? Very Atomic!!!
19 March 2001 | by Glenn AndreievSee all my reviews

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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