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The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953).

August 17, 2007

The Scoop:
Until the release of Jim Carrey’s version of “The Grinch” in 2000, this held the distinction of being the only live action Dr. Seuss film ever made. And it’s easy to see why — what is charming in animation comes across as just plain creepy when live people do it. The 500 kids with little hands sticking out of their beanie caps, the old men with interlocking beards, the miniature atomic bomb — it’s just all too reminiscent of a bad nightmare… or a freaky drug trip. Watch it stoned, and it’s an experience you’ll never forget.

The story, by the way, involves a young boy who is disgruntled with his piano lessons and escapes into a fantasy world in which his piano teacher is an evil dictator bent on world domination. Theodor Geisel — Dr. Seuss himself — was heavily involved with scripting and production design, so lots of Seussian touches have made it to the screen here. But it’s just a bizarre, surreal viewing experience, both for the visuals and the dialogue.

Best Line:
“The work for the happy finger method must go on!”

Side Note:
Hans Conried, who plays the evil piano teacher Dr. Terwilliker, is better known as the voice of Snidely Whiplash from the “Rocky and Bullwinkle” cartoons.

Companion Viewing:
“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (1964) and any other nightmarish children’s entertainment.

Links:
IMDB.
Retroland.

Take a Look:
The trailer:

His doe-me-doe duds are FABULOUS!

Elevator to the dungeon:

Showtime in the dungeon:

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