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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:

You've got to see the fiend too foul, fierce - and funny - to mention! 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
See full technical specs »
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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 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 »

Quotes

Bart Collins: [Shows Zabladowsky his death warrant] So you didn't believe me. Your life isn't worth a pastoola!
Mr. Zabladowski: People should always believe in kids. People should even believe their lies!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: The Grinch vs. The Cat in the Hat (2016) 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

 
Odds Bodkins.
28 October 2005 | by pedrodaveSee all my reviews

Well I never. I have just had the pleasure of watching this film on Channel 4 in the UK. Its a damp and dreary Friday afternoon and this wacky exercise in surrealism has just been broadcast and has certainly put a smile on my face. What a storyline. What a set. What acting. This is a gem of a film which I had never heard of till today. It is a real departure from your average 1950s family film. Through the whole duration the film swings between brilliance and total whack. The madness of Dr Seuss comes across so well, especially when you jack up the colour a few notches :-) I am led to believe that Dali had a hand in the design of the sets. That in itself is enough to get me watching. I was surprised at the amount of reference to this movie I have actually experienced without realising it. For example, the Uk is presently showing an add for "frank" which is a recreational drug use/misuse information service available to the public. It uses a character who is undoubtedly based on Bart to do so. As a fan of surrealism I totally enjoyed the spooky weirdness of this mindbending musical. Just sad I didn't record it as I see it isn't available in European pal DVD format. Doh.


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