Fantasy film seen from the eyes of a 9-year-old boy who imagines his insufferable piano teacher torturing 500 little boys by forcing them to play in a grand piano concert. — Genre: Feature Film Family — Rating: G — Release Da... more »te: 7-OCT-2003
Sandra N. from LOS ANGELES, CA Reviewed on 12/9/2009...
I love Dr Seuss and I seen this movie before. I've always wanted it because it was like a stage verision of his books. The characters are great.
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Age shall not wither nor custom stale this wonderful movie
W. H. Jamison, Jr. | Burien, Washington United States | 01/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hollywood could not do a better movie today if they tried, even with modern special effects technology and buckets of money, witness the live-action "Grinch" if you don't believe me. I first saw this movie as a child in the late 1970s where it was a staple of Saturday afternoon movies. What can be said? Hans Conried makes this movie as the campy, completely over the top and utterly mad Dr. Terwilliker.
The story and sets are wonderful, reflecting the fertile, and rather twisted, imagination of Theodore Seuss Geisel. Tommy Rettig is perfect, and never annoying as Bartholemew Cubbins, the precocious child star of the movie, Mary Healy plays his mother and Peter Lind Hayes plays the wise plumber, August Zabladowski.
This movie is billed as a musical, it's not much of one, the songs seem as if they were tacked on to the rest of the production, however the movie is so good that even this cannot detract from it.
The DVD transfer is very good, much better than the earlier VHS transfers, there isn't much in the way of special features, just a trailer and some photo stills, but given the fact that this movie was made 50 years ago this isn't surprising. My only complaint about the disk is that the sound seems somewhat muffled in places, although free of the more objectionable forms of distortion. The scene with Peter Lind Hayes and Hans Conreid attempting to put a whammy on each other is sheerly fantastic."
Back to my Childhood!
Schuyler V. Johnson | Lake Worth, FL USA | 12/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the things I loved so much about the 5,000 Fingers of Dr T is I related to the Tommy Rettig character in that I also had to practice the piano every day. It's a wonderful window into the world of the child who is basically at the mercy of whatever his parents deem appropriate for him to do in his spare time. When I got older I appreciated being able to play the piano but I was not overly fond of it as a child. Tommy Rettig was one of the best child actors of the day, prior to Lassie. Hans Conreid makes a wonderful villain but the absolute best part of the movie is the incredible Seuss sets! There's a wonderful scene of an enormous piano, seemingly miles long, with acres of enslaved children feverishly pounding away on the keyboard...I still want a beanie with a hand coming out of the top, and I would love to have a room or two in my house designed just like the sets in the movie. From the first time I saw a Dali painting as a child I loved surrealism and there is an abundance of it in this movie. Totally unique from anything you've ever seen, a different excursion into the Seussian interpretation of a child's world trapped in a musical dictatorship. Although it was made in 1953 it translates beautifully into today by virtue of its fantasy; children still dwell in dreams part of the time!"
Mad Genius Shines Through
B K Baldridge | San Francisco | 04/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The undeniable brilliance of Dr. Seuss' wordsmithing is most evident in this darkly comic fantasy. The songs are cute and clever, with "The Dressing Song" standing out as the high-camp highlight of the show; a hoot of a salute to cross-dressing. This movie was way ahead of its time, and the sets and costumes are nothing short of magnificent given the year in which it was produced. This new DVD edition has its little flaws, but they are only reproduced from whatever original was used, and overall it's a lovely digital transfer. I don't believe this was meant to be a children's movie at all, though Dr. T is a rather benign villain. The good doctor (Seuss) tries to add a bit of social relevance with a poke at the evils of atomic power, but all in all there are more serious psychological and homoerotic overtones that should worry parents of 4-8 year olds. I'll be watching this film over and over again to pick up the myriad avenues of fantasy that are employed. For adults, this is a great flick and definitely earns a spot on my "top ten" list."
Living Dr. Suess
R. P. Glass | Eugene, OR USA | 03/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With script and set design by Dr. Suess, this 1952 film is a visual treat. It is both timeless and a 1950's time capsule. The stars are Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy, a popular married duo of the times who have slid into history. The main struggle is between piano teacher Dr. T played by Hans Conried [voice of Disney's TV Magic Mirror and Jay Ward's Snidley Whiplash] and his reluctant student Bart played by Tommy Rettig before he became Lassie's original TV owner. Dr. T wants the bored Bart to practice his piano playing for a recital, but Bart wants to go outside and play baseball. Hayes is a returning veteran working as a plumber who spars/sparks with Healy as Bart's mom, widowed by the Korean Police Action. The bulk of the film is a Suessian dream sequence featuring such set pieces as a dancing hypnosis duel between Hayes and Conreid, a roller skating duel between Hayes and a pair of twins joined at the beard, and the demented dance of the non-piano players. Then there is the giant piano where 500 children [the 5,000 Fingers]play simultaniously There are atomic fears, the powerless place of children, family bonding, Freudian symbolism, meglomania, and musical prejudice. Most of deeper themes will appeal to adults while the younger viewers will enjoy the fantasy [that becomes darker before rising to a happy ending] elements which stand the test of time over 50 years later. I am very pleased that it is finally on DVD."