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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

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Taglines:

You've got to see the tickle-'em-to-death torture chamber! 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)
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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

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

About 17 minutes in, Dr. T tells Mrs. Collins that "your son dares to flaunt my authority" (the correct word would be flout). See more »

Quotes

Bart Collins: [singing "Because We're Kids"] Now just because we're kids, Because we're sort of small, Because we're closer to the ground, And you are bigger pound by pound, You have no right, you have no right, To push and shove us little kids around... Now just because your throat has got a deeper voice, And lots of wind to blow it out, At little kids who dare not shout, You have no right, you have no right, To boss and beat us little kids about... Just because you've whiskers on your face to shave, You ...
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Connections

Referenced in Masters of Sex: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2014) 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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