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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

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


Video (both):

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 / 24-bit

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



None / English (SDH), none




• Audio commentary with film historians Glenn Kenny and Nick Pinkerton
• Fiction Factory documentary: Father Figure (2017, 18:32): a new interview with Steve Rowland, son of director Roy Rowland
• Karen Kramer introduction (2007, 2:11)
Dr. T. on Screen (2007, 14:34): Cathy Lind Hayes, George Chakris and others talk about the film
A Little Nightmare Music (2007, 11:45): an examination of the film's ground-breaking music score

Crazy Music - Michael Feinstein and The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (16:25)
• Joe Dante trailer commentary (2013, 2:33): a short critical appreciation
• Original theatrical trailer (0:53)
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography 
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by artist Peter Conheim, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film
• UK Blu-ray and DVD premiere
• Limited Dual Format Edition of 5,000 copies



1) Millcreek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM



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 the Grinch.

Filled with surreal landscapes and tongue-twisting rhymes for which Dr. Seuss is famous, this is a movie children and their parents will love to watch again and again. The 5,000 Fingers Of Dr. T is family entertainment at its best.

Filmed in Wonderama!



The Film:

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).

Falling asleep at his piano, Bart dreams he's being chased by weird creatures with butterfly nets through a land of fog, cylinders, and odd-shaped mounds. Here he stumbles upon the castle of Dr. T, who runs a piano school for captive boys. The film's key image is the massive winding double-decker piano keyboard with 500 seats, one for each student. 500 boys, 5000 fingers--get it? Kept in the dungeon are pitiful creatures imprisoned as punishment for playing instruments other than the piano. The prisoners have built musical instruments out of odd materials and, in the film's most elaborate sequence, perform a strange ballet.

Excerpt from TVGuide located HERE


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.




1) Millcreek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Millcreek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Millcreek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM














Audio :

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.


Extras :

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


The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T is deliciously outrageous and strange experience with wild, colorful, sequences. It's really a lot of fun. There are some black marks with the release - most notably the lack of lossless audio. There are no extras or subtitle options. The Blu-ray has a big positive in the reasonable price. Fans, with or without kids, should consider indulging - value is still here despite the limitations.


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!

Gary Tooze

June 14th, 2016

July 12th, 2017




Indicator (Powerhouse) initial slate of Blu-rays
Spine #001 Spine #002 Spine #003 Spine #004

Spine #005

Spine #006

Spine #008 Spine #010 Spine #012 Spine #013 Spine #019 Spine #020


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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze





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