zerode – a sensibility


film, music, text, city, spectacle, pleasure

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)

I’d like to be in the position of getting into things before they become cool. Usually, though, I’m way behind the curve on coolness. For instance, I just joined Twitter in the middle of last year, well past its cool-by date, and I still don’t use it. But this is one of those rare cases where I was genuinely hip ahead of the crowd.  I saw The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953) as a weekend movie back in the early 70’s when I was a kid, probably on Channel 2 or 44 (in San Francisco), and have loved it ever since.
The movie was written and designed by Theodor Geisel (aka “Dr. Seuss“), who also did the music, and it shows – in the strange, weird and wonderful qualities, the pointed whimsy – but the movie has a darker side than one usually expects from Dr. Suess.  That darker side is there, I think, even in The Cat in the Hat, but is usually over-looked.The basic plot revolves around a reluctant piano student and his teacher – see IMDb or WikiPedia for a fuller discussion – and music is an integral part of the movie. The score features a theremin and was nominated for an Oscar.  I recently ran across a CD of the soundtrack, and it’s interesting to listen to the music separate from the visuals.

Perhaps the best known song on the soundtrack is “The Dressing Song,” also know as “Do-Me-Do Duds,” sung by the dreamworld counterpart of the music teacher, seen here in the duds:

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Creative Commons License
zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Oh - and hello to Jason Isaacs.

The 400 Blows


is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.


What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

tweeting my mind



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