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The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T [Blu-ray]
(Roy Rowland, 1953)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Video: Mill Creek Entertainment / Indicator (Powerhouse) UK
Region: 'A'/ Region FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:28:49.741 / 1:28:49.032
Disc Size: 21,397,656,796 bytes / 37,886,349,170 bytes
Feature Size: 21,223,784,448 bytes / 26,206,903,872 bytes
Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps / 35.01 Mbps
Chapters: 5 / 10
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: June 7th, 2016 / July 24th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps /
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
None / English (SDH), none
commentary with film historians Glenn Kenny and Nick
Music - Michael Feinstein and The 5,000 Fingers of
Dr. T. (16:25)
Description: Young Bart Collins, lulled to sleep by the
monotony of his piano lessons, dreams of a castle ruled by
his piano teacher the eccentric Dr. Terwilliker. Dr. T is
determined to prove that his Happy Fingers Method of
teaching piano is the best method in the world. Having
banished all other musical instruments to the dungeon, Dr. T
lures 500 reluctant little boys to perform in a colossal
concert on the grandest grand piano ever built. In his
effort to escape, Bart comes in contact with some of the
strangest characters imaginable. Siamese twins on roller
skates, a human drum and the most memorable villain since
Hollywood films just don't get any weirder than this underappreciated
1950s classic. This surrealistic children's film (cowritten by Ted
Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss), features Tommy Rettig of TV's
"Lassie" as Bart Collins, a young boy who would rather play baseball
than take piano lessons with the eccentric and tyrannical Dr. Terwilliker (Conried).
Ted Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, wrote and helped design this eccentric fantasy about a young boy named Bart (Tommy Rettig) who, like most young boys, doesn't enjoy his piano lessons with the mean-spirited Dr. Terwilliker (Hans Conried). He figures his time would be better spent playing baseball with his friends or helping his grown-up buddy Arthur Zabladowski (Peter Lind Hayes), a plumber. One night, while fast asleep, Bart has a long and remarkable dream in which he's trapped in the kingdom of the fearsome Dr. T, who has enslaved hundreds of little boys, forcing them to practice on the world's largest piano until they drop. With the help of a friendly plumber, Bart plans a revolt that will topple Dr. T's evil empire once and for all. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T also features several songs for which Geisel contributed lyrics.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T looks very pleasing on Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment. The film is notable for its colors and the 1080P supports that aspect to a mild degree. It's only single-layered but has a high bitrate and the visuals offer some impressive textures and minor depth. The colors do give it some life that is not seen on SD.
Indicator give this a dual-layered transfer with a max'ed out bitrate and colors become significantly richer than on the Millcreek 1080P edition. The overall image is, authentically, darker, colors deepen, skin tones warm and grain becomes more textured. It's just a far superior video presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
An unfortunate weakness is a lossy Dolby audio transfer. It would have been a bona fide upgrade to have the film's music in uncompressed. The score by would have sounded much deeper, richer and livelier in lossless. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.
Indicator, instead, go with an uncompressed linear PCM mono track and it also dynamically advances upon the Millcreek and the entire presentation with rich chords and the bouncy, lively score by Friedrich Hollaender (Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Caught, Berlin Express, Background to Danger, The Verdict), and uncredited, Heinz Roemheld (The Invisible Man), and Hans J. Salter (The Wolfman) is a serious improvement upon the lossy Dolby of the Millcreek. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on the Indicator and their Blu-ray disc is region FREE playable worldwide.
None - and only one menu screen. To be fair the low price reflects the lack of supplements.
Indicator destroy the bare-bones Millcreek in the supplement department as well. Firstly we get a rewarding and educational audio commentary with film historians Glenn Kenny and Nick Pinkerton advancing enjoyment of the film. Father Figure is a new, 19-minute from Fiction Factory, and has an interview with Steve Rowland, son of director Roy Rowland talking about his father and The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. Karen Kramer gives a brief introduction - from 2007. Dr. T. on Screen is also from 2007 and runs 1/4 hour with Cathy Lind Hayes, George Chakris and others talking about their fond memories of the film. A Little Nightmare Music is a 12-minute an examination of the film's ground-breaking music score followed by Crazy Music spending 17-minutes with Michael Feinstein sharing his thought on the music of The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. We get another Joe Dante trailer commentary from 2013 with a short critical appreciation. There is an original theatrical trailer and image gallery of on-set and promotional photography. The package includes a limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by brilliant artist Peter Conheim (long-time DVDBeaver member!), an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film plus a second disc DVD of the film is included in the limited Dual Format Edition of, only, 5,000 copies.
Millcreek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Ohh my, what a lopsided comparison. Don't hesitate for a moment on picking up the Indicator Blu-ray edition. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. is a true gem - pure nostalgic pleasure evoking the unbridled innocence and imagination of childhood - buy with confidence!
June 14th, 2016
July 12th, 2017
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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