The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953)
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Critic Reviews for The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
The rebelliousness that turns out to be good, old-fashioned anti-intellectualism feels less in line with the good Doctor's Whoville than with producer Stanley Kramer's Hackville
Inexplicably, this marvelous musical fantasy flopped at the box office.
One day I may understand all the fuss over this.
All this film really needs is one raised finger...
Audience Reviews for The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
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.
A game effort at making a live action Dr. Suess movie. The real world just isn't up to creating in front of a camera what Mr Geisel could draw on the page. The action is slowed by being acted out before us rather than leaping ahead at the turn of a page. As with The Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter, our young hero is rewarded for surviving the peculiar adventure with a return to a comforting, conservative world. The most daring dangerous things about the movie seem to be referencing the Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials: - handy, all-seeing view screens - dark, dirty dungeons - angular, leering villains - and a propensity for locking people in cages
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.
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