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The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)
Music by Frederick Hollander
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $26.21
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: November 2010
Catalog #: Vol. 13, No. 16
# of Discs: 3

Long before the Grinch ever gave a thought to stealing Christmas, the fertile and inexhaustible imagination of Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) conceived a different but equally memorable villain: Dr. Terwilliker. The autocratic and maniacal piano teacher known as Dr. T. holds 500 young boys captive in his castle-like Happy Finger Institute in order to present a concert featuring 5,000 fingers on a giant piano of his own invention. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953) is the only live-action film featuring an original story, script and lyrics by Dr. Seuss. It is a cult favorite, but its extensive musical score has never been available in any authorized (or complete) form—until now.

The music for The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. was written by Frederick Hollander, whose “Falling In Love Again” from The Blue Angel is one of the most famous songs ever written for film. The 17 diverse songs Hollander composed for Dr. T. encompass lyric ballads, mock-operatic recitative, Gershwinesque swing and up-tempo Broadway; he also wrote two extensive ballet sequences for the film. Heinz Roemheld and Hans J. Salter added additional dramatic underscore, based on Hollander’s themes.
 
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. was heavily edited prior to release, with only 6 songs remaining in the picture. With this 3CD release, Film Score Monthly has lovingly recreated the authors’ complete original conception of the music—a painstaking restoration effort that involved many years of scouring the globe for the best-sounding copies of rare acetate discs (the only surviving music masters from the production). All of Hollander’s songs, both ballet sequences in their entirety and most of the underscore (including much that wasn’t used in the final film) are presented on the first disc and the beginning of disc 2.
 
But that isn’t all—the rest of disc 2 features alternate versions and additional material, including orchestra-only tracks of several of the songs (Karaoke Seuss, anyone?). Disc 3 comprises archival piano recordings played by Hollander himself, revealing some of his early ideas for the music; pre-production piano recordings made for rehearsal purposes; and all the major song and dance sequences exactly as they are heard in the finished film.
 
This long-awaited release of the Dr. T. soundtrack is the result of several producers, including Mike Matessino, Neil Bulk, FSM's Lukas Kendall, as well as popular entertainer Michael Feinstein (whose peerless devotion to promoting and preserving American theatrical song is well-known). The 40-page booklet—with colorful and irreverent Seuss-inspired graphics designed by FSM’s Joe Sikoryak—includes film stills, publicity materials and production photos. Alan Lareau, who is writing a biography of composer Hollander, wrote the informative essay and detailed track analysis.
 
This labor of love, which rescues and regenerates a significant work that has never before been fully heard in any form, is a must-buy for children of all ages!
Frederick Hollander Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Frederick Hollander (1896-1976), composer of cabaret songs and over 100 film scores, emigrated from Berlin to Hollywood after composing the music for Marlene Dietrich’s The Blue Angel (from which came the perennial classic, “Falling In Love Again”). Much of his work in the 1930s was uncredited, but among the major films bearing his name are Destry Rides Again, Christmas in Connecticut, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Sabrina and Born Yesterday. In the mid 1950s, after writing the Oscar-nominated score for The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T., Hollander returned to Germany where he pursued writing musicals and revues. IMDB

Comments (52):Log in or register to post your own comments
5000 Fingers of Dr. T. by Frederick Hollander & Dr. Seuss (3CD set)!
Film Score Monthly lovingly presents this score and songs restoration plus 40 page booklet!

http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/14536/THE-5000-FINGERS-OF-DR-T-/

Terrific! Mine's ordered. A wonderful score, including that screwy samba where Hans Conreid and Peter Lind Hayes try to hypnotize each other.

Well, I'll certainly be getting this release...

DR.T. came out in 1953, as I recall, and was a tremendous flop. I don't think post-War America really knew what to make of it. It has a sardonic, Brechtian take on fantasy, as well as an, albeit Technicolor, Expressionist design. All from the fun mind of Dr. Seuss, who was very well known at the time. But, interestingly, what looks like fun as a pen-and-ink drawing on the printed page, comes off darker in 3 dimensions on the big screen. The whole film has a very dark, Fascist edge to it, that I doubt would have appealed to people just getting over what could only be described as a titanic struggle to stave off such ideologies.

I was able to see this film quite a few times then, because my mother rented a 16 mm copy, to take around to the local public schools, and show them. I was quite young at the time, pre-school; so I don't recall what their reaction was. As a children's film, I think there might be difficulties with maintaining their interest, even though the titular adult stars were Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy, a husband-and-wife team who had some success in early television at the time, and were still well-known when my mother was showing the film. (She had done the same thing a year or so earlier, around 1952, when she showed PINOCCHIO to the schools. They loved that, especially since it was out of release at the time.)

It will be interesting to see all the unused material. Years ago, I got a b**t lp of the score, with rotten sound, taken from scratchy acetates. There was even a CD release of it years later, from what I later understood was questionable provenance.

(Sometimes, however, I wonder if our soundtrack producer friends are running out of material. The projects they seem to be releasing of late seem to be more vanity projects, with lots of cues, or additional recordings, that only afficianados would want, or huge boxes with multiple CD's which will probably only be listened to, at the most, a few times. Am I mistaken here? I wonder...)

Anyway, I'll be happy to get this.

I agree that this is a very odd project. I'm sure my curiosity will get the better of me, and that I will eventually order it. (Do I hear some theremin in this score on track 10?) Even the theatrical poster is weird. Can anyone discern what the movie is about from that poster?

I think it's safe to say that "odd project" is a positive reaction to any Dr. Seuss-related release, so that's how I choose to interpret these odd "odd" comments.

To me, the most exciting aspect of this new release is the involvement of none other than Michael Feinstein as a producer. Did everybody catch that? "Running out of material"? Just visit Feinstein's archives! What a potentially powerful collaboration that could be, if there are any other FSM/Feinstein projects down the road . . .

It may be a very odd project, but it's also a dream come true for very odd people like myself. This for me is one of the best parts of the big holy grails getting cleared away: there's finally room for the weird and quirky nostalgia projects that would otherwise have never seen the light of day. Dr. T. is one of my very favorite films, I've long wanted to hear the songs and breathtaking ballet sequences on their own. I knew that the film had been heavily edited in post-production, but I had no idea so many songs were scrapped. So I'm salivating at the prospect of hearing Geisel lyrics and Conried performances that I never realized existed. Also salivating at, well, everything about this release. And while I'm not holding my breath, I almost dare to hope that Dr. T will open the door to my biggest film music pipe dream, a release of the music from the Dean Elliot and Joe Raposo scores for the Dr. Seuss animated specials.

Well, I'll certainly be getting this release...

DR.T. came out in 1953, as I recall, and was a tremendous flop. I don't think post-War America really knew what to make of it. It has a sardonic, Brechtian take on fantasy, as well as an, albeit Technicolor, Expressionist design. All from the fun mind of Dr. Seuss, who was very well known at the time. But, interestingly, what looks like fun as a pen-and-ink drawing on the printed page, comes off darker in 3 dimensions on the big screen. The whole film has a very dark, Fascist edge to it, that I doubt would have appealed to people just getting over what could only be described as a titanic struggle to stave off such ideologies.

I was able to see this film quite a few times then, because my mother rented a 16 mm copy, to take around to the local public schools, and show them. I was quite young at the time, pre-school; so I don't recall what their reaction was. As a children's film, I think there might be difficulties with maintaining their interest, even though the titular adult stars were Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy, a husband-and-wife team who had some success in early television at the time, and were still well-known when my mother was showing the film. (She had done the same thing a year or so earlier, around 1952, when she showed PINOCCHIO to the schools. They loved that, especially since it was out of release at the time.)

It will be interesting to see all the unused material. Years ago, I got a b**t lp of the score, with rotten sound, taken from scratchy acetates. There was even a CD release of it years later, from what I later understood was questionable provenance.

(Sometimes, however, I wonder if our soundtrack producer friends are running out of material. The projects they seem to be releasing of late seem to be more vanity projects, with lots of cues, or additional recordings, that only afficianados would want, or huge boxes with multiple CD's which will probably only be listened to, at the most, a few times. Am I mistaken here? I wonder...)

Anyway, I'll be happy to get this.[/endquote]

John,
Many thanks for the info. I knew absolutely nothing about this film or it's music. I can't remember this being shown in Ireland, either in cinemas when I was growing up, or on TV at any stage, it most certainly wasn't on my radar if it was aired! I'd have to agree with some of the other posters here about this being an "odd" release, it won't be on my "to get" list at any stage I have to admit, and that's the first time I've ever said that about an FSM release.

This is just an amazing project -- on so many levels an astounding release. Thank you. This will be ordered just as soon as I can safely budget it. Thank you Lukas and all involved.

A chance to get Friedrich Hollaender playing his own stuff at the piano? Who could pass that up? What's "odd" about it? All hail FSM for going to the next phase of sophistication in film and TV score CD's.

A chance to get Friedrich Hollaender playing his own stuff at the piano? Who could pass that up? What's "odd" about it? All hail FSM for going to the next phase of sophistication in film and TV score CD's.[/endquote]

As one of the "all" I have to say that my level of "sophistication" rests quite comfortably with the outstanding collection of composers whose music has been released by FSM in the past, a "next phase" is a redundant term as far as I am concerned. I can quite easily pass this up.

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Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Dominic Frontiere, Morris Stoloff

Violin:
Israel Baker, Robert Barene, Victor Bay, Julian Brodetsky, Howard Colf, Robert Gomberg, Barton Gray, Laura Griffing, Robert Gross, Scipione Guidi, Heimo Haitto, William Hymanson, Lou Kaplan, Irving Bane Katz, Bernard Kundell, Amerigo Marino, Marshall Moss, Myron Sandler, Albert Saparoff, Ilya Schkolnick, Maxim Sobolewsky, Harry Solloway, Marshall Sosson, Mischa Violin, Heimann Weinstine, William Weiss, Byron Williams, Harold Wolf

Viola:
Harry Blumberg, Morris Brenner, Dorothy Colton-Pratt, John Fiasca, Phillip Goldberg, William Hymanson, Spinoza Paeff, Sanford Schonbach, Milton Thomas, Abe Weiss

Cello:
Edward Grosbayne, Armand Kaproff, Kolia Levienne, Irving Lipschultz, David Pratt, Joseph Saxon, Jascha Schwarzman, Olga Zundel

Bass:
Nathaniel Gangursky, Manny Stein, Kenneth Winstead

Flute:
Charles Butler, Henri DeBusscher, Henry Evens, Harry Klee, Donald Lazenby, Martin Ruderman, Sylvia Ruderman, Harry Schuchman, Franklyn Stokes, Archie Wade, Henry Woempner

Clarinet:
Charles Butler, Henri DeBusscher, Henry Evens, Glen Johnston, Harry Klee, Donald Lazenby, Robert E. Nelson, Sylvia Ruderman, Harry Schuchman, George Smith, Franklyn Stokes

Bassoon:
Glen Johnston, Ralph Masters, Robert Swanson

Saxophone:
Charles Butler, Henri DeBusscher, Henry Evens, Glen Johnston, Harry Klee, Donald Lazenby, Harry Schuchman, George Smith, Maurice K. Stein, Franklyn Stokes

French Horn:
James A. Decker, Leon Donfray, Fred Fox, Wendell Hoss, James M. McGee, Gale H. Robinson, Gene Claude Sherry

Trumpet:
Vladimir Drucker, Shirley Goedike, Emanuel "Manny" Klein, Sidney Lazar

Trombone:
Frank Ellis, John Flood, Arthur Ginder, Edward Kusby, James Thomasson

Tuba:
Clarence Karella

Piano:
Eugene Feher, Eddie Frazier, George Greeley, Ignace Hillsberg, Fred Karger, Hugh Knox, Paul Mertz, Arthur Morton, Edward Rebner, Irving Riskin, Mario Silva, Raymond Turner, Robert Van Eps

Harp:
Mae Cambern, Lauretta McFarland

Accordion:
Jack Statham

Theremin:
Sam Hoffman

Drums:
Salvador Armenta, John T. Boudreau, Frank "Hico" Guerrero, Dan Hall, John F. Williams, Leonard Wright

Percussion:
John T. Boudreau, Frank "Hico" Guerrero, John F. Williams

Arranger:
Arthur Morton

Orchestra Manager:
Lindsay Simons

Copyist:
Robert Van Eps

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.