The 5,000 Annoyances of an Allegedly Glorious Film

I’ve heard the many praises of The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.

Sideshow Bob

Sideshow Bob (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite this fact, I had never gotten around to watching it.  I have been too busy watching absolute trash like Alex Cross.

As happenstance happens, I stumbled upon those 5,000 fingers while cruising my TV menu.  I arrived just in time for the start of the film on TCM.

Sometimes this works out.  Sometimes you end up watching something that might have served you better at some other time, in some other mood, with something else in your pint glass.  Sometimes a movie just blows.

Now, I tend to go into movies blind and, though I had heard positives surrounding the film, I still didn’t know that much about it.  Had I known just how much singing there was, I would have skipped it.  I don’t really dig musicals.  I should have turned it off when I recognized what was going on.  I didn’t.  For SCIENCE! and for you fine folks, I pressed on.

The film looked good.  Particularly for its age.  Colorful and crisp.

It’s a cult movie that flopped at the box office.  That is not necessarily a good thing for me. You would think it was, given my movie watching habits, but it often doesn’t work out for me.

I love Dr Seuss.  Ol’ Theo can take credit for the film’s story, screenplay and lyrics.  How could that not be a good thing?

The movie has the sort of bubbly nonsense and acid-flashback coloring that you would expect from Seuss.  Again, this should be a good thing.

Nevertheless, I found the boy’s singing grating and I just didn’t give a shit about anything that was going on.  Not even wacky hijinks and absurd characters could draw me in.

It didn’t feel Seussian to me.  Not really.  No, not a bit.  Not even in a recliner.  Not with a pipe.  Not even with bacon and a lack of hype.  It had the markings of Seuss, but something was missing.

I’ll admit that I haven’t found any live action Seuss movie adaptation that felt right to me.  I will not apologize for this stance.

The best thing that can be said for this film is that the un-fiendish villain, Dr Terwilliker, gave his name to The Simpson’s truly fiendish villain, Sideshow Bob (not to be confused with Sideshow Luke Perry).

I think Seuss himself summed it up nicely when he called the film a “debaculous fiasco”.

The trailer doesn’t seem that awful.


However, the song below drove me to the limits of my sanity.  The tune is omnipresent and, as a result, so was my rage.  I would like to slam the keyboard lid down on those ten little fingers.

About I.M. Pangs

digital verbal smog creator
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3 Responses to The 5,000 Annoyances of an Allegedly Glorious Film

  1. “Allegedly” is always the sticking point.

  2. Edward Sullivan says:

    1. The extant film is about 55% of what showed at the previews; Columbia execs, panicked at the the realization that they had an art film on their hands rather than the merchandising machine they were counting on to amortize the nearly $3 million production cost, imposed drastic cuts, re-ordering of scenes and re-shoots – what they retained were the most sentimental and action-oriented scenes- what they jettisoned were the darkest and most subversive scenes and dialog and critical sections of continuity and character development. Think about what Pan’s Labryinth would have been if the final cut decisions were imposed by Golan-Globus and you have what’s left of 5,000 Fingers

    2. “Ten Happy Fingers” is supposed to drive us nuts – it’s driving Bart nuts…

    3. Any ‘childrens’ film that deals with loss of a father, brainwashing, cults of personality, concentration camps, fear of atomic annihilation, sexual identity, fascism, nature vs. nurture, popular vs. classical music, individualism vs. collective thought, and cross-dressing — in Technicolor, with music by the composer of the songs of ‘The Blue Angel’ and choreography by the fella who did the “Billy the Kid” ballet is worth a look in my book….

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