7 Faces of Dr. Lao

  • Tony Randall: Dr. Lao, snow man, Merlin, Apollonius, Pan, Snake, Medusa, Tony Randall
  • John Ericson: Edward Cunningham, Pan
  • Barbara Eden: Angela Benedict
  • Arthur O'Connell: Clint Strong
  • Noah Beery Jr.: Tim Mitchell
  • Patrick Lee: Mrs. Cassin
  • Minerva Urecal: Kate Lindquist
  • Royal Dano: Carey
  • John Doucette: Lucas
  • Frank Cady: Mayor James Sargent

The mysterious Dr. Lao ( 7 Faces of Dr. Lao ) is an American fantasy film directed by George Pal in 1964 with Tony Randall in a multiple role.


At the beginning of the 20th century, an old Chinese comes on a donkey in the small town of Abalone, Arizona. The Chinese, who has a fishbowl with a harmless looking fish with him is Dr. Lao. He is looking at the newspaper office by Edward Cunningham to place an ad. There his traveling circus is announced which is to be guesting for two days in abalone.

Abalone is shaken by internal difficulties. The rancher Clint Stark has found that a railway line to lead into the city. He plans to buy up the land cheap to sell it later expensive to the railway company can. Cunningham, meanwhile, who opposes Stark, harbors romantic feelings for the widow Angela Benedict.

Lao hangs in the city on posters for his circus and is assisted by Angela's son Mike. Mike finds out that the Chinese thousands of years old. Cunningham researched, tested for the circus and Lao confronted with his results that the hometown of the Chinese no longer existed for centuries. But Lao can dodge the questions.

The circus begins his ideas and is well attended by the public. Lao shown to the people giving advice, which are also partially accepted in many masks. Lao met Stark as " Big Snake " and as Apollonius of Tyana. Mike meets Merlin, while his mother Angela listens to the songs of the Greek god Pan. A shrewish woman is transformed by Lao in the form of Medusa in stone and Merlin redeemed again, whereupon the woman is meek ​​.

Meanwhile destroy two of Starks people Cunningham's office. Cunningham and his printer discover the chaos and horror. But the destruction is repaired in a magical way of Dr. Lao. Immediately give the two a new edition of the newspaper in print. A copy Cunningham delivers up personally at Stark.

In the final presentation, Dr. Lao, a magic lantern shows off. It shows the mystical city Woldercan, which is inhabited by lookalikes of the urban population. The residents succumb to temptations that are personified by Stark. After the presentation, a meeting is held. There the land purchases will be voted on Stark's plan. The vote is negative for Stark, who, now defeated, passed on the information about the railway construction. A directionally rotating sandstorm leaves the city the population scattered.

The two employees of Stark to destroy Laos circus. They destroy the fishbowl. The fish swells up in the air and turns into a sea serpent. She hunts the two men out into the storm. Mike alerted Dr. Lao, who conjures up a cloudburst, which brings the snake to shrink.

The next morning the circus is gone. Mike discovers a circle on the floor and takes three wooden balls, with which he juggles. He hears Laos voice that reminds him of what he already told him once: Dr. Laos circus is life itself and everything is in it a miracle.


" A lavishly equipped tale whose fantastic magic even though they are in places covered face, at the service of human wisdom. "

" The script is too sentimental and brings Dr. Laos parables without much finesse over. By Tony Randall's strong performance in the lead role and the amazing special effects still one of successful film. "


  • The screenplay was based on the novel The Circus of Dr. Lao ( Doctor Laos large circus ) by Charles G. Finney.
  • George Pals first choice as a performer of the title character was Peter Sellers.
  • Tony Randall played all seven "faces" of Dr. Lao: himself, Merlin, Pan, snow people, Medusa, the snake, and Apollonius of Tyana. If we add a short sequence counts as a "spectator " in which he practically played himself, Randall drew equal with Alec Guinness, the " noblesse oblige " in ( Kind Hearts and Coronets, 1949) also played eight different roles.
  • The Circus movie Dr. Lao shows off the city's population, includes scenes from George Pals film Atlantis, the Lost Continent 1961
  • MGM brought the film in 1964 in the West German cinemas. In this modern common dubbed Tony Randall got the voice of Gerd Duwner.



  • Leigh Harline: 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. FSM Silver Age Classics. FSM ( Film Score Monthly), Hollywood 2006, Media -No. FSM Vol 9 No. 11 - Original recording of the film music (stereo ) under the baton of the composer