USA, 1953. 89 min. Stanley Kramer Productions. Cast: Tommy Rettig, Peter Lind Hayes, Mary Healy, Hans Conried, John Heasley. Music: Frederick Hollander and Nelson Riddle; Cinematography: Franz Planer; Art Direction: Cary Odell, Rudolph Sternad; Produced by: Stanley Kramer; Written by: Dr. Seuss and Allan Scott; Directed by: Roy Rowland.
I first rediscovered director Roy Rowlandâ€™s 1953 film The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T years ago, tracking it down based on vague recollections from childhood. I remembered a very strange and very dreamlike movie, and, upon watching it again, I found my remembrances confirmed. In the years since it was released to relatively little acclaim, an appreciative cult following has sprung up around 5,000 Fingers, and Itâ€™s easy to see why. For lovers of unusual cinema, this is a real find. Right from the start itâ€™s clear that 5,000 Fingers is something left of center, a more twisted take on standard Technicolor musical fare like MGMâ€™s singing sailor flick Hit the Deck, which Rowland would a direct a few years later. Where did this oddity spring from?