“Tomorrow, down below me, I will have 500 little boys, 5,000 little fingers — and they’ll be mine, all mine!”
Response to Peary’s Review:
With that said, as much as I enjoy discrete elements of Dr. T., I’m ultimately more in agreement with DVD Savant’s review (see link below) than Peary’s. While I can see its cult appeal, I find the movie as a whole to be surprisingly dull: the songs are insipid, the pacing is off, and, for the most part, the direction is uninspired. In addition, Hayes isn’t all that appealing as Rettig’s would-be father figure, and Healy is eminently bland (her colorful costumes are the best thing about her). Although I understand that Seuss and co-screenwriter Alan Scott meant to posit Healy as a sort of emotionless Stepford widow, easily brainwashed by Dr. T., she doesn’t play this for camp (as she should) — indeed, Conried is the only character who seems to recognize that the film’s scenarios are literally crying out for laughs. (It’s unfortunate, as Conried himself has lamented, that so many of his scenes were cut, because he’s the most interesting character in the film by far.)
P.S. In his review, Peary points out the “anticommunist propaganda” of Dr. T., noting that “these children are being turned into obedient automatons”. But there are multiple other possible readings as well, including its valorization of the 1950s nuclear family (Bart wants nothing more than to secure Hayes as a father-figure who will take him fishing), and its latent fear of homosexuality (the evil Dr. T. dresses in lavender and pink, and is surrounded by a cast of equally effeminate men).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: