HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  7 Faces of Dr. Lao Far Out Far East Out West
Year: 1964
Director: George Pal
Stars: Tony Randall, Barbara Eden, Arthur O'Connell, John Ericson, Noah Beery Jr, Lee Patrick, Minerva Urecal, John Qualen, Frank Kreig, Peggy Rea, Eddie Little Sky, Royal Dano, Argentina Brunetti, John Doucette, Dal McKennon, Douglas Fowley, Kevin Tate
Genre: FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 4 votes)
Review: The mysterious Dr. Lao (Tony Randall) rides into the remote Arizona town of Abalone, a place that needs him more than it understands, for there is a tycoon, Clint Stark (Arthur O'Connell), who is trying to win them over so he may buy up their land and homes. He is trying to persuade them to do this under the guise of philanthropy and many of the citizens are being duped, but not local newspaperman Ed Cunningham (John Ericson) who is running editorials in the paper about how Stark is not to be trusted, and little better than a dictator. Unfortunately, public opinion is on the tycoon's side - until Dr. Lao arrives...

7 Faces of Dr. Lao may be fondly recalled today, but unlike many of its producer and director George Pal's other fantasy films, it was not a hit and its failure almost had him giving up movies for a spell. You can see why, as it's a curious concoction of superb effects and makeup (William Tuttle won the first ever Oscar for makeup design for his work here) and a schmaltzy, moralising tone that doesn't immediately speak to all audiences. Maybe a lot of people don't like to be told how to live their lives, and the Abalone folk are such an unlikeable bunch you're tempted to advise Dr. Lao to leave them be.

Yet in the spirit of religious do-goodery that often popped up in Pal's films, the title character is far from content to allow these wayward people to give in to their greed and come out the losers; Stark has a low opinion of humanity, believing them easily manipulated to reveal their worst nature, and for some of the running time of this you might well be agreeing with him. Cunningham, for example, is a fine, upstanding chap, but his attmepts to woo a young widow, Angela Benedict (a brunette Barbara Eden), are thrown back in his face because she, like her fellow locals, cannot see the good in others.

You get the impression if Dr. Lao hadn't happened along to given them another chance then they would have ended up doomed to stew in their own bitterness, but he has brought a circus with him, which is where Tuttle's creations come into play. Although Randall was no fan of the film, he does give an excellent performance here, or should I say seven performances as he appears in various different incarnations, from an Abominable Snowman (looks fierce, but is really just the handyman) to a Medusa (snakes for hair, turning a woman to stone, the whole deal). It's worth watching for the novelty value of these entities alone.

The script was adapted by Charles Beaumont, one of the finest writers of fantastic fiction of his generation, from the novel by Charles Finney, and at times it seems as if he was keener on the more outlandish aspects than the human side of things. Nevertheless, there are attacks on racism (odd for a film which stars a white man dressed up as Confucius, complete with comedy mangling of the English language) and lessons about how we all need guidance, from little boys whose fathers have died to the more grown up but no less deluded elder members of society. And unusually for a Pal film, he is not afraid to reach for some dark territory, with Angela's sexual frustration brought out in a meeting with Pan, or one flibbertigibbet facing her pathetic existence thanks to a sorrowful but stern fortune teller. If it's the effects you want, then there's plenty to feast your eyes on, including an out of control Loch Ness Monster, but the film is less folksy than it initially seems. Not wholly successful, but it is provocative if you care to look. Music by Leigh Harline.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6979 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: