The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T 1953

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.

Critics Consensus

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81%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 16

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,008

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Movie Info

A young boy who detests taking piano lessons, Bart Collins (Tommy Rettig) has developed a deep suspicion of his strict instructor, Dr. Terwilliker (Hans Conried). Raised by his single mother, Heloise (Mary Healy), Bart looks up to the local plumber August Zabladowski (Peter Lind Hayes). When Bart ends up in a Seussian dreamworld, he must join with Zabladowski to rescue his mom from Dr. T's clutches and stop his plan to force 500 boys to play a massive piano in perpetuity.

Cast & Crew

Peter Lind Hayes
August Zabladowski
Hans Conried
Dr. Terwilliker (Dr. T)
Tommy Rettig
Bart Collins
Mary Healy
Mrs. Collins
Jack Heasley
Uncle Whitney
Robert Heasley
Uncle Judson
Noel Cravat
Sergeant Lunk
Henry Kulky
Stroogo (uncredited)
Allan Scott
Screenwriter
Dr. Seuss
Screenwriter
Dr. Seuss
Writer (Story)
Heinz Roemheld
Original Music
Hans J. Salter
Original Music
Franz Planer
Cinematographer
Al Clark
Film Editor
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Critic Reviews for The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

  • Jan 08, 2014
    A boy dreams he and his mother are trapped in a dream world ruled by evil piano teacher Dr. Terwilliger, who plans to enslave 500 boys to play his giant piano. Despite writing the story and libretto, Theodor Geisel (the Philistine!) notoriously hated this Technicolor spectacle, but you'll love the fantabulously surreal Seussian set design with its curved keyboards, ladders to nowhere, and roller-skating Siamese twin guards linked by their beards.
    Greg S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    This is an odd movie, but it's based on a Dr. Seuss book, so this movie does a good job representing that. Overall the style is good, but the actors and songs aren't so great.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2009
    Cool old musical matinee with a fascinating set. Hans Conried is awesome as the crazy piano possessed antagonist.
    The M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 01, 2008
    Some creative visual live-action flourishes, but Dr. Seuss's work is better illustrated or animated. Contains what might be the oddest musical number ever, The Dungeon Song, with actors/dancers in badly painted green body paint playing Dr. Seuss style nonsensical instruments. The filmmakers attempt a Fantasia sort of extravaganza but the budget serious holds the production back. None of the other musical numbers became hits either. Dr. T (Conreid) plays a flamboyant piano teacher who forces 500 boys to rehearse. Bart (Tommy Rettig), in particular, would rather be outside playing with his dog. Rettig is amusing in breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience. Most of the movie exists in Bart's mind as a fantasy nightmare. The movie would be unbearable if Rettig were not the lead. Real life couple Hayes and Healy play a kindly janitor and Bart's mom, respectively. Bart hopes his mom will choose the caring janitor rather than the dictatorial piano teacher. Unfortunately, all three adult leads leave a lot to be desired as they prance around this technicolor set. They simply never completely fill the massively open and empty sets with their voices or dancing.
    Byron B Super Reviewer

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