The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.

Director: Roy Rowland
Year Released: 1953
Rating: 3.0

Surreal kiddie movie penned by Dr. Seuss about a young daydreamer who is sick of taking piano lessons and mentally drifts off to Dr. Caligari-inspired netherworld where mastermind maestro Dr. T. constructs a massive ENIAC-sized piano to be played by five hundred boys for the rest of their lives. Since it is a "dream," it can be read as a young male's revulsion against maternal/effeminate forces in childhood - the prissy piano teacher and single mother keep the boy from more "masculine" activities, insisting he keep practicing on music (a "feminine" art). The boy, for help, turns to a male plumber (the profession being "hands-on" in a different way) to save him and, in the last shot, let him run off and play baseball. Obviously not well received in its day, it has survived as a cult picture, and deservedly so - the sets are wonderfully imaginative and the scenario refreshingly creative. It's a bit too "kiddy-ish" (the main character was in Lassie - this explains everything) for me to completely rave about it - I simply cannot stand any performance that feels lifted from Leave It to Beaver ("Gee, golly Wally"), though some may tolerate little Timmy a little better than I. Jokes regarding atomic bombs must not have gone down well with the 50's audience.