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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:

It's the craziest, man! 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

Dr. T.'s piano was over 100 yards long and had 480,000 keys. See more »

Goofs

When Bart hides in the large vase, he places a bunch of flowers on his head. When the guards lift him from the pot, they are on his head. In the cut-out shot moments later, the flowers have disappeared. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Zabladowski: Children seldom have a choice of parents and that, perhaps, is a good thing too. If kids had their way, practically no parents would be born at all!
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Connections

Featured in Father Figure: Steve Rowland on Roy Rowland (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Chopsticks
(uncredited)
Music by Euphemia Allen
Played by all the boys on the giant keyboard, led by Tommy Rettig
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User Reviews

 
A little boy battles an evil piano teacher out to rule the world.
10 December 2005 | by DeusvoltSee all my reviews

An alienated boy misunderstood by his parents at home rebels against an exacting piano teacher whom he finds out has a sinister plot to rule the world.

I remember it best for its plaintive song "You Have No Right to Push Us Kids Around" later revived by Jerry Lewis in his TV appearances. The song is a cry about the angst of childhood. Part of the lyrics goes something like this: "Just because you have hair on your chest doesn't mean you're the best. Just because you have stayed longer on this planet doesn't mean you own it. You have no right to push us kids around just because we're closer to the ground." Under the megalomaniac piano teacher's plan, all children would be condemned to an eternity of piano practice trying to catch up with the ever increasing beat of a metronome. Spectacular "blow up" endings such as in James Bond movies satirized by Don Adams (Maxwell Smart) or even Mike Myers (Austin Powers) must have taken inspiration from this very early attempt at such.

Much belatedly did I find out that this story is by the revered "Dr." Seuss (he is not a real doctor you know) famous for witty, whimsical stories written in cute rhyming verses about outlandish animals (Green Eggs and Ham, Cat in a Hat)but praised by educators for their effectiveness in getting children to read. Seuss deserves Ph.Ds in education, psychology and literature even posthumously.


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