Retro: The Unquiet American

The 5000 FINGERS OF DR. T.

Roy Rowland
USA 1953
89 min

One of the most underrated children’s musical fan­tasies and conceivably the most interesting movie ­Stanley Kramer ever produced (1953). Dr. Seuss wrote the screenplay (with Allan Scott); his wartime buddy Carl Foreman was originally supposed to direct, but the Hollywood witch hunts soon made this impossible, and Roy Rowland took Foreman’s place. The plot basically consists of the florid night­mare of a ten-year-old boy (Tommy Rettig) about his authoritarian, prissy, and vaguely foreign piano ­teacher (Hans Conried), who forces 500 boys to play his monotonous exercise on a continuous keyboard located in his gargantuan palace, while the boy’s ­mother (Mary Healy) is locked, hypnotized, in a ­gilded cage. A very inventive form of delirium, with songs by Frederick Hollander and choreography by Eugene Loring; the use of Technicolor is especially impressive. If you’ve never seen this, prepare to have your mind blown.
<![CDATA[<i>]]>(Chicago Reader)<![CDATA[</i>]]>

  • Hans Conried
  • George Chakiris
  • Peter Lind Hayes
  • Mary Healy
  • Tommy Rettig
Stanley Kramer
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