Dr. Seuss

Hidden Flick: Page Side Cinema, Part 1

Dr. Seuss is known for many things, but live action films based on his work is not one of them. Ron Howard helmed a version of the Seussian classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but it was an ill-advised attempt to remake something that was better off as a brief animated holiday classic. However, there is another Dr. Seuss live action movie if one happens to stumble upon a feature rooted in the daydreams of a boy who is forced to take piano lessons from a tyrannical teacher who insists on precision and perfection.

This week, we venture into the surreal, weird, whimsical, and always entertaining world of the late writer, cartoonist, and lampoonist, Theodor Seuss Geisel. His aim was not always true, often bent, and sometimes very odd, and one gets a huge helping from his surreal soup with a gander at a true relic from the innocent daze and consumption of the 1950s, the first live action Dr. Seuss film, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.

The film stars a young boy who is being raised by a single widowed mother, and he hates his piano lessons, because the music teacher doesn’t seem to know how to make music fun, or even remotely interesting. The boy, named Bart, feels his creativity suffocated by this mad, mean-spirited megalomaniac, and drifts into the comforting dreams of a fantasy world in which he is quickly terrorized by the teacher, Dr. Terwilliker, and his legions of grownup guards who have enslaved numerous would-be piano players, otherwise known as harassed children pecking away at the black and white ivory keys. Bart from The Simpsons was not named after this cinematic character; however, Sideshow Bob, also from the Matt Groening animated series, was named after the evil Dr. T with a spelling adjustment—Terwilliker became Terwilliger.

READ ON for more on this week’s Hidden Flick…

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