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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.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... August Zabladowski
... Heloise Collins
... Dr. Terwilliker
... Bartholomew Collins
Jack Heasley ... Uncle Whitney (as John Heasley)
Robert Heasley ... Uncle Judson
Noel Cravat ... Sgt. Lunk
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
... 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 one and only Wonderama! The first musical of the future! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

1 July 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Five-Thousand Fingers of Dr. T.  »

Filming Locations:


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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:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally there was a subplot in which Bart was expected to emulate his musical great-uncles, who later appear in Dr. Terwilliker's institute conjoined by a long beard. Twin skaters Jack Heasley and Robert Heasley were lured out retirement to play the roles, but the subplot and their musical numbers were eliminated, and only a photo of the twins in Bart's home and their bizarre death waltz were retained in the final cut of the movie. 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

Bart Collins: See? Now do you believe me?
Mr. Zabladowski: We should always believe children. We should even believe their lies.
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Connections

Referenced in Un bonheur n'arrive jamais seul (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Get-Together Weather
Music by Friedrich Hollaender (as Frederick Hollander)
Lyrics by Dr. Seuss
Performed by Hans Conried, Peter Lind Hayes, and Mary Healy
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User Reviews

 
Real adventure, real entertainment, and a real message.
18 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

What a pity they don't make films like this anymore for children, and an even greater pity that if they did no one would watch them. This wonderful music-and-dance fantasy tale harks from the days when there actually was a "culture," and at least some movie makers, and some parents, felt it was their responsibility to pass that culture on to the next generation. The screenplay for "Dr. T" was written by none other than Dr. Seuss, including the songs, and is delightful from beginning to end. The story, about a boy who dreams that his mean piano-teacher runs a surrealistic prison-school, is an adventure that holds the attention of young and old, and the excellent performances of Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy provide the "love interest" for those who find that necessary. The protagonist is played by Tommy Rettig -- "Jeff" of the original "Lassie" TV series -- at 12. It's interesting that so many of his pre-Lassie roles were in musicals, especially since apparently he couldn't carry a tune. (Tony Butala, one of the founding members of "The Lettermen," provided his singing voice in this film.) One number, way ahead of its time -- in fact way ahead of THIS time -- makes as clear a protest as I've ever heard against adults who "push and shove us little kids around." A VERY YOUNG Hans Conried as the conceited villain will have you laughing out loud, and references to the atomic bomb should be understood in the context of a year when thousands of people were digging large holes in their back yards. Watching this movie is a real and rare treat.


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