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The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953)

Cast: Peter Lind Hayes, Mary Healy, Hans Conried, more...
Director: Roy Rowland
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Kids, Classic Sci-Fi, Live Action, Classic Sci Fi/Fantasy, Fantasy, Classic Fantasy
Running Time: 92 min.
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

Ted Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, wrote and helped design this eccentric fantasy about a young boy named Bart (Tommy Rettig) who, like most young boys, doesn't enjoy his piano lessons with the mean-spirited Dr. Terwilliker (Hans Conried). He figures his time would be better spent playing baseball with his friends or helping his grown-up buddy Arthur Zabladowski (Peter Lind Hayes), a plumber. One night, while fast asleep, Bart has a long and remarkable dream in which he's trapped in the kingdom of the fearsome Dr. T, who has enslaved hundreds of little boys, forcing them to practice on the world's largest piano until they drop. With the help of a friendly plumber, Bart plans a revolt that will topple Dr. T's evil empire once and for all. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T also features several songs for which Geisel contributed lyrics. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Photo Gallery
  • Bonus Cartoon
  • Bonus Trailers
  • Talent Files

GreenCine Member Reviews

The Reason Why Dr. Seuss Never Made The Crossover to Movies by ewynns June 30, 2009 - 10:44 AM PDT
This was definitely a fascinating film, and from a technical standpoint, quite impressive, as in the tradition of Wizard of Oz, it rather successfully translates a fantasy, cartoonish setting to live-action in a low-tech era. The technicolor palette is well-suited to this, and Seuss' unique aesthetics are obvious in the film, which in itself is a real treat to see. The acting however is spotty, with the notable exception of Hans Conried as the villainous Dr. T, whose distinctive voice will be familiar to fans of animation from his later turns as Snidely Whiplash in Rocky and Bullwinkle and Captain Hook in Disney's Peter Pan. The pace is fine, and the film clips along towards a fittingly Seussian end, but without the benefit of decades of fandom behind its author, its easy to see why this decidedly odd film fizzled with '50's audiences.

bizarre 1950s period piece by dgkelch November 15, 2005 - 5:31 PM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
This movie is an extended fantasy in which a fatherless boy wishes for his mother to remarry a friendly, guyish plumber instead of the effete, disciplinarian piano teacher. There is a real disconnect here between the rigid 1950s social mores and gender stereotypes portrayed in the dialogue and the wild sets and musical numbers. Despite its pitch for placid normality, it is the wild side that steals the show. The result is a movie whose bizarreness trumps its banality.

Live-action Dr. Seuss? Hmm... by dh22 May 8, 2004 - 8:28 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
I rented this not knowing what to expect. It turned out to be a rather interesting blip in the history of cinema. I do not know of any live-action creations of Dr. Seuss, and was curious to see how this one fared.

The film is not what you might expect. It is basically a cute little children's fantasy tale that is highly Dr. Seuss influenced. The dialogue is not filled with rhymes, and the actors do not run around in little furry outfits - thank god. I do not know that 1950's technology would have been able to pull that off, and I'm glad they didn't try. The primary influence of Seuss is seen in the sets of the child's dream world.

I don't believe this story is adapted from a Seuss book, rather it is probably a screenplay written by him specifically for the screen. The story had a decent pace, and a typically 50s style. A few songs, and some cutesy jokes.

I don't think the film is particularly noteworthy, other than the Seuss influence. It is a decent children's film that is easy to sit through, and I'm sure any child would have a good time watching it. I, however, won't be too concerned about seeing it again. It's interesting because of the Seuss influence, but otherwise, easily forgettable.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.78)
116 Votes
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