7 Faces of Dr. Lao
©1963 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: NR

Also known as:
The Secret World of Dr. Lao
Seven Faces of Dr. Lao

The mysterious Dr. Lao (Tony Randall) rides into the sleepy town of Abalone and advertises his travelling circus in the newspaper of Ed Cunningham (John Ericson). Ed is trying to win the heart of widow Angela Benedict (Barbara Eden) but despite the encouragement of her son Mike (Kevin Tate) and her mother-in-law (Argentina Brunetti), Angela continues to reject his advances. Ed is also locked in a battle with land baron Clint Stark (Arthur O'Connell), who is trying to buy the entire town. Checking out Dr. Lao's circus, Ed sees the Abominable Snowman (Tony Randall) and meets Merlin (Tony Randall) but leaves with more questions than answers. That night, at Dr. Lao's circus, a woman (Lee Patrick) has her bleak future foretold by Apollonius of Tyana (Tony Randall), while Angela has her hidden passions unleashed by Pan the God of Joy (Tony Randall/John Ericson). Elsewhere, The Giant Serpent (Tony Randall) belittles Clint Stark, while Mike Benedict comforts a distraught Merlin when he fails to impress a cynical audience. Finally, a woman (Minerva Urecal) is turned to stone when she confronts Medusa (Tony Randall) and must be changed back by Merlin. Later, after the circus closes, Angela continues to be haunted by Pan's music and Ed discovers that his newspaper office has been destroyed by Stark's henchmen (Royal Dano and John Doucette). However, the next morning, Ed finds his office magically repaired and starts to believe he may actually be able to save Abalone from Stark, until he is told by his assistant (Noah Beery Jr.) that the townsfolk are planning to sell out to Stark. That night, back at Dr. Lao's circus, Ed again tries to woo Angela and, this time, he finds her much more receptive to his charms, while Apollonius reveals to Stark that he knows about the railroad that is going to be built through Abalone. Later, with the townsfolk gathered for the circuses big finale, Dr. Lao tells them a story about an ancient town that was destroyed by their god when they sold their souls to an evil stranger. Moved by Dr. Lao's story, when the time comes to vote, the townsfolk decide to keep their land and Stark tells them about the railroad. Everyone is happy except for Stark's henchmen, who get their just desserts when they attack Dr. Lao's circus and accidentally release the Loch Ness Monster from it's tank. The next morning, the townsfolk awake to discover that Dr. Lao's circus has disappeared as quickly as it had appeared and they begin to wonder whether it was ever actually there or they all dreamed the whole thing.

Type of mind control: Magic

Mind control scenes:
The mind control in this movie involves the effect that Pan's flute has on Angela Benedict. The first time Angela visits Dr. Lao's circus, she enters Pan's tent and becomes aroused when he plays his flute. That night, Angela can't sleep because she can still hear Pan's music. Finally, Angela becomes flushed when she hears Pan's flute during the circuses big finale.

Subjective Rating: 3 out of 5
A lot of amazing things happen at Dr. Lao's mysterious circus. Unfortunately, only Pan playing his flute and arousing Angela involves any mind control. Even more unfortunate is the fact that I found Barbara Eden's portrayal of her arousal to be so poor that it was sometimes difficult to tell whether she was being aroused or just having hot flashes. Of course, this is a family movie made in 1963 so I guess there's only so much you can do to demonstrate passion and arousal within those constraints.

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