Bart Collins is having a piano lesson with his grouch of a teacher, Dr. Terwilliker. Terwilliker thinks the piano is the only instrument worth playing and tells Bart to practice until perfect, then storms off. Bart's mother, a widow, is nice, but she thinks Bart ought to keep playing the piano too. Bart has a sympathetic friend in Mr. Zabladowski, their plumber (a man Bart is hoping will become his new father). Zabladowski has told Bart he thinks Terwilliker is a racketeer and of course he is scolded by Bart's mom. Bart sits at the piano and tries to practice until perfect, but
falls asleep and begins to dream.
In his dream, Bart is sitting at an immensely long, double-decker piano at Dr. Terwilliker's fantastic new institute/fort, which is to open the next day to 500 students (Bart being the 1st). Bart has to go back to his cell at night, but escapes Dr. T's blue henchmen and finds Mr. Zabladowski, who is installing 500 sinks. Zabladowski tells Bart his mom is at the institute too, as second in charge, and the disbelieving Bart sets off to find her.
When he gets to her room, he learns that Dr. T is hypnotizing her and runs back to enlist Zabladowski for help. When Zabladowski confronts Dr. Terwilliker, a hypnotizing duel takes place and Zabladowski, who is obviously smitten with Bart's mom, is tricked into thinking everything is fine and dandy, but Terwilliker secretly issues an order to have him disintegrated at dawn. Bart has to re-convince Zabladowski by stealing the secret disintegration order and showing it to him. Unfortunately, both of them are caught and thrown into the bottom-most dungeon.
While imprisoned, Bart and Zabladowski concoct a device to steal sounds from the air. Bart takes the device with him when he is fetched for the opening of the school. Once all 500 boys are seated at the piano and commanded by Terwilliker to play, Bart opens the device and mayhem commences. It's the end of the Terwilliker institute and Bart's dream! Zabladowski is still at the house when Bart wakes up, so Bart gets to work on bringing his mom and the plumber together. All in all, a great family film with eye-popping sets worthy of the Dr. Seuss book upon which it was based.
In this live-action version of a Dr. Seuss story, a young piano student falls asleep, finding himself in a twisted reality where his evil instructor, Dr. Terwilliker, has a quest for power. His dream is to force 500 young boys to slave 24 hours a day practicing at the world's largest piano, him with baton in hand. The school is surrounded by an electric fence, the living quarters cells, and those playing instruments other than the piano are sent to the dungeon. A very strange musical fantasy for children, the sets abounding with color, distorted structures, and images that can be frightening.
The review of this Movie prepared by Sara Embrey
Bart hates practicing the piano. His worst enemy is his piano teacher, Dr. Terwilliker who makes him the piano over, and over again. Bart then drifts off, and enters the dream world of Dr. T, who is planning an evil scheme to put 500 children on the biggest keyboard in the world. Dr. T also has Bart's mother hypnotized, and now he must only count on a faithful plumber to foil his piano teacher's evil plan.
The review of this Movie prepared by Estefan Ellison