- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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The gospel told in an offbeat family film
- Jeff Boston
Dr. Lao is a Chinese Jesus Christ in this fine 49-year-old film. Barbara Eden is even better looking than when she played Jeannie. Tony Randall does an excellent job, and the scene with the fortune teller and the woman is gripping.
Who knew Tony Randall could actually act? He played the same goofball character in so many films that this one just screams ACTOR! It is, by far, Randall's best performance and he is simply amazing. This is definitely a family film and children will love it. It's the adults who will appreciate the story and the genius of Randall here. Kevin Tate, who plays the young boy, Mike, gives a fascinating performance for one so young. He's the believer here when all others are not. I loved that injection into this film, as it takes believers to make us appreciate the wonders in life's circus.
Dr. Lao Heart Warming, Not Horror(1964)
Dr. Lao(Tony Randall) and he also does several more roles in a Tour De Force performance(s).Splended fantasy vehicle creatively driven and Directed by George Pal. A carnival comes to an Abilone ,Arizona, and it shines its enlightenment on the inhabitants. Great study in character. The script is a little tedious at times, but the payoff is wonderful. This film received a belated Academy Award 16 years after the films release to William Tuttle for Outstanding make-Up Acheivement. Highly recommended for children at leat 8 years of age and older. Tony Randalls Hallmark entry.IMO. Beautiful Barbara Eden & Arthur O'Connell also star.4 stars out of 5.
- Michael Passe
TCM has this film mis-labeled as Horror. Whatever it is, it's NOT horror. It's part kids' movie, part parable, part fantasy, part Western, and above all, a chance for George Pal to show his special effects skills, and for Tony Randall to show acting chops many of us didn't know he had. It's most famous for Randall playing 7 characters, and he shows tremendous range. Yes, that's Felix from the Odd Couple, playing the seductive Pan, who makes sexually-repressed Barbara Eden weak with desire. Nothing in this movie is quite what it seems. Randall's stereotyped mugging as the old Chinaman Dr. Lao turns out to be part of his bag of tricks, and he even gets caught slipping in and out of the persona. Is Dr. Lao really Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism? Maybe, though it's never spelled out. There's lots of magic, mythical creatures, humor (including a very funny scene where bad guy Arthur O'Connell meets up with a wise-cracking serpent that looks just like him) and by the end, the film is quite moving. It's kid-friendly, but the script has surprising depth. By the time Dr Lao and his magic circus leave town, all of the bickering small-minded locals have had an epiphany, and this is handled with grace and humor. It's surprisingly complex, even edgy at times. Yet ultimately the film is all about the simple magic of being alive. All of us can use a shot of that now and then.
7 Faces of Dr. Lao
This is a fine example of Tony Randall. A great movie. A remarkable performance.
7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)
- James Higgins
Imaginative special effects, great make-up, especially for when it was made. The story is decent, but not up to par with the technical aspect of the film. Tony Randall is terrific. Good supporting cast.
Future TV Stars
- Bruce Reber
Three of the stars of "7 Faces Of Dr. Lao" would go on to be TV stars in the 60's (Barbara Eden in "I Dream Of Jeannie") and the 70's (Noah Beery Jr. in "The Rockford Files" with James Garner, and Tony Randall in "The Odd Couple"). Randall did one other short-lived series "The Tony Randall Show". He also had a pretty good film career, i.e. "7 Faces Of Dr. Lao"(1964),"Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?"(1957) with Jayne Mansfield,"The Mating Game"(1959) with Debbie Reynolds, "Pillow Talk"(1959) with Doris Day, and "Hello Down There"(1969) with Janet Leigh, certainly one of the dumbest and silliest films ever made (about a family living under the ocean!). I think it was the last one he made before he starred in "The Odd Couple" (1970-1975) as neatnik photographer Felix Unger in the TV version of Neil Simon's hit play and film (1968) starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. After "Hello Down There" bombed, Randall must have taken the hint and gotten out of films altogether. Please show his films TCM (especially "Hello Down There", maybe as part of a festival of the worst films ever made), and also "The Odd Couple".
Which face will the wily doctor reveal to you?
Eight, count them, eight different characters played by five-time Tony nominee Tony Randall, known best for his role on "The Odd Couple" on TV: Dr. Lao / Merlin / Pan / Abominable Snowman / Medusa / Giant Serpent / Apollonius of Tyana / Audience member. Special effects and makeup were the standout features of this quirky little comedy/philosophy lesson. It seems that the town was forgetting the most important things about life. That is is a precious miracle to be enjoyed and that just living is the most important thing. Gold and riches are not as important as life itself. We are one-of-a-kind, unique individuals and there is no other like us before or afterward. As anything that is one-of-a-kind, there is nothing that is more valuable. The citizens of this town needed a reminder of that, and Dr. Lao provided it - or did they just imagine it? No matter, the film serves as a reminder of our individual importance, and the importance of every human on this Earth.