He’s a lot like the boy-hero in the 1953 musical The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T–the only feature film written by Dr. Seuss, and one of Gondry’s favorite movies. In it, an evil piano teacher forces 500 children to practice at a gigantic piano 24 hours a day. One boy devises a technique to escape the nightmare. “The boy and his friend get a pot,” recounts Gondry, “and start to mix everything they can in it. They take a little bone, a little rope, a key, and mix and mix until it becomes gooey and starts to smoke. Finally, they invent this machine that steals sound. I think this way. Just make things and it’s going to work. I’ll make it work.”
Now, I like Gondry’s films… but a live-action Dr. Seuss movie with an evil piano teacher? How had I missed this? I managed to get my hands on a copy and we all watched it that Friday on our family Movie Night.
Wow. It’s exactly what you might expect from a 1953 musical by Dr. Seuss: one of the strangest and most fantastic movies I’ve ever seen. Despite some cheesy b-movie acting, this movie deserves to be a classic. Surrealistic sets, great songs, and a plot every kid can relate to: it’s got it all. It’s ATOMIC! And now, it’s available on iTunes. Check it out.