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The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)
The Wonder Musical of the Future!
Director: Roy Rowland

Young Bart Collins lives with his widowed mother Heloise. The major blight on Bart's existence is the hated piano lessons he is forced to endure under the tutelage of the autocratic Dr. Terwilliker. Bart feels that his mother has fallen under Terwilliker's sinister influence, and gripes to visiting plumber August Zabladowski, without much result. While grimly hammering away at his lessons, Bart dozes off and enters a fantastical musical dream.

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

Green Eggs

I watch so many bad films that I’m worn out for any try at campiness. I never recommend films as jokes, and many seemingly bad films are really good ones with bad production values.

But this one is such a disaster it deserves all the bad press it has accumulated. (And it is not even the worst of the Seuss films!)

Seuss’s genius was to take a thin layer of reality. On that he laid a higher layer of the absurd, extrapolated from the real in unpredictable ways. But what was predictable was the brick of the extrapolation. Each time he made a deviation from the real, that deviation was of constant abstraction. This same brick size was used for drawing, story and verse.

This was done unconsciously, I’m certain, but that’s what geniuses are made of.

If you need to translate Seuss to screen, you need to use the same size brick, and abstract in the same direction. This project looks like it started with a ballet choreographer and an unimaginative set designer and then grew in the general direction of what they thought was Seussdom.

You may find it interesting if you study mistakes. But for a regular viewer if sensitive, this could mess with your imagination.

Posted in 2005

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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