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Film Series : Fringe Benefits

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

1953, Roy Rowland, USA, 89 min.
With Hans Conried, Tommy Rettig, Mary Healy

Show Times

  • Fri, May 3rd 6:15pm
  • Sun, May 5th 5:00pm

"One of the most underrated children's musical fantasies...If you've never seen this, prepare to have your mind blown."
—Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Raised by a single mother and forced to endure piano lessons from the dictatorial Dr. Terwilliker (Conried), youngster Bart (Rettig) drifts off into dreams of a fantasy realm where Dr. Terwilliker is a mad overlord, keeping Bart’s mother (Healy) captive under hypnosis and enslaving children to play a building-sized piano with thousands of keys. The only produced screenplay by Dr. Seuss, THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T proved a disappointment for the famous children's author (not least of all for its propensity to terrify children), but it found a latter-day audience as a late-night television staple where its surreal brand of musical sadism could be appreciated. A technical marvel, complete with plenty of Seussian production numbers and some of the most outlandish sets of the classic Hollywood era, DR. T lives up to the original ad copy touting it as "The Wonder Musical of the Future!” 35mm. (Cameron Worden)

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