[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/7FacesOfDrLao_7178.jpg]]

''7 Faces of Dr. Lao'' is a 1964 fantasy film from [[MetroGoldwynMayer MGM]], [[FilmOfTheBook based on]] the 1935 novel ''Literature/TheCircusOfDoctorLao'' by Charles G. Finney, directed by George Pal, and starring Barbara Eden, Arthur O'Connell, John Ericson, Kevin Tate, and Tony Randall in a ''tour de force'' [[DoubleVision performance]] as the eponymous Chinese showman, the [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti Abominable Snowman]], [[BlindSeer Apollonius of Tyana]], the Giant Serpent, [[ClassicalMythology Medusa]], [[{{Merlin}} Merlin the Magician]], [[ClassicalMythology Pan]], and [[PreviousPlayerCharacterCameo an unmade-up, anonymous, and silent member]] of his own audience.

The film greatly altered the plot and softened the mordant tone of the original novel, opting rather for a sense of whimsy and wonder, reflected in the score by Leigh Harline, best known for scoring Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs'' and ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}''. Unfortunately, despite an extraordinary performance by Randall and some (though not all) of the other cast (Kevin Tate as Mike is a stand-out), and the admirable visual effects -- for which SFX artist Jim Danforth received an AcademyAward nomination and makeup artist William Tuttle an Honorary [[AcademyAward Oscar]] -- the film has something of the feel of a made-for-TV movie, exacerbated by the use of stock footage from ''Atlantis, the Lost Continent'' and ''Film/{{The Time Machine|1960}}'', with unconvincing interspersed shots of the cast in ancient costume. It did not do well when it came out, but as the years have gone by, it has come into its own, and is now widely regarded as a fantasy classic.
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!!Tropes Employed In ''7 Faces of Dr. Lao'' Include:

* AllMythsAreTrue
* TheBarnum: Oddly enough, not so much the showman Lao as Stark.
* BigfootSasquatchAndYeti: The Abominable Snowman.
* BiggerOnTheInside: The circus tent is rather modestly sized when viewed from without, but those who step inside find that it contains many large exhibit rooms as well as an arena with enough seating for the entire population of the town.
* BlindSeer: Apollonius of Tyana.
* BlitheSpirit: Dr. Lao, who opens the eyes of the people of Abalone.
* BrokenBird: Angela Benedict
* CassandraTruth: As Apollonius of Tyana says, "You see, it is my curse to tell the absolute truth." Neither do his hearers seem to act on what he tells them.
* CircusOfFear: Many of the exhibits, and particularly "The Fall of the City," are distinctly disturbing.
* CrappyCarnival: The outward appearance of Lao's circus, which seems much BiggerOnTheInside.
* DefrostingIceQueen: Angela, again.
* DoubleTake: Cunningham when he sees that Angela is suddenly lusting after him (thanks to Pan).
* DoubleVision: [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by the film when the heads of Dr. Lao's various ''personŠ'' all sprout at once from from the neck of the Loch Ness monster.
* EccentricTownsfolk: The townsfolk of Abalone, to be exact.
* EverythingsLouderWithBagpipes: The soundtrack begins to skirl with these when the Loch Ness monster is released from its fish-bowl and balloons into an eight-headed [[SeaMonster dragon-fish-thing]].
* FlyingDutchman: Dr. Lao seems fated to [[WalkingTheEarth travel from place to place]] to save people from their own folly.
* FaunsAndSatyrs: Pan, the God of Joy.
* FingerSnapLighter
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: "Stoned again, eh?"
* GrumpyBear: In his youth, Stark was a WideEyedIdealist, but first-hand experience with human nature drove him to the opposite (yet equally wrong) end of the spectrum.
* HenpeckedHusband: Mr. Lindquist; happily, his wife appears to take Dr. Lao's lesson to heart.
* HotLibrarian: Angela
* HobbesWasRight / RousseauWasRight: The central debate of the story. Stark champions the former, while Lao argues persuasively for the latter.
* HumansAreBastards: Stark and most of the townfolk seem to revel in most sins - greed, vanity, anger - and it's up to Dr. Lao with the help of Mike, Angela and Cunningham to remind the town [[RousseauWasRight they can be better than that.]]
* InterchangeableAsianCultures: As emphasized thus:
-->'''Fat Cowboy:''' ... Looks like a ''Jap'' to me.
-->'''Toothless Cowboy:''' Naaaw. He's Chinese.
-->'''Fat Cowboy:''' How do you know?
-->'''Toothless Cowboy:''' 'Cause I ain't stupid!
* IntrepidReporter: Crusading Editor Ed Cunningham.
* [[ItsPronouncedTroPay It's Pronounced]] ''[[ItsPronouncedTroPay Tro-Pay]]'': It's pronounced "''Low'' -- Doctor ''Low''."
* {{Koan}}: As in this dialogue:
-->'''Dr. Lao:''' Do you know what wisdom is?
-->'''Mike:''' No, sir.
-->'''Dr. Lao:''' Wise answer.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfRoles
* MagicalFlautist: Pan and his pipes.
* MythicalMotifs: Many of the characters are figures of mythology.
* NietzscheWannabe: Stark, who tells Cunningham, "There's no such thing as the dignity of man. Man is a base, pathetic, vulgar animal."
* NotThatKindOfDoctor: As Lao tells Mike, "My specialty is wisdom."
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]]; Cunningham notes that Dr. Lao suddenly switches from a [[AsianSpeekeeEngrish heavy, stereotypical Chinese accent]] to perfect English. Dr. Lao replies, "Oh, it comes and goes. Whatever dialect the mood requires."
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: Stark's mooks demonstrate how stupid and rotten they are by harassing the local [[strike:Indian]] Native American, George C. George (Eddie Little Sky).
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: Actually, seven thousand, three hundred, and twenty-two, next October.
* RomancingTheWidow: Angela is still grieving the loss of her husband, and doesn't notice (or doesn't want to) the interest Cunningham has for her.
* ShoutOut: Dr. Lao refers to his "yellow jackass" as the "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Ass Golden Ass of Apuleius]]."
* SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers: Apollonius, to Stark.
* SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids: Stark, to Cunningham.
* StockNessMonster: Dr. Lao keeps the Loch Ness Monster in a fishbowl. As long as it's in the fishbowl, it stays tiny. Don't let it out.
* SurroundedByIdiots: Stark has a pair of cowboy mooks; he orders one to read a newspaper article, starting at the third paragraph. "Third ''what''?"
* TakenForGranite: Despite warnings, the shrewish Mrs. Lindquist looks at the Gorgon head-on. She gets stoned.
* TalkingAnimal: The Giant Serpent, which looks and sounds remarkably like Stark. (Especially remarkable when one considers it was voiced by Randall, not O'Connell.)
* WalkingTheEarth: Dr. Lao.
* TheWorldIsJustAwesome: The biggest lesson Dr. Lao teaches us.
-->'''Dr. Lao''': Mike, the whole world is a circus if you look at it the right way. Every time you pick up a handful of dust, and see not the dust, but a mystery, a marvel, there in your hand, every time you stop and think, "I'm alive, and being alive is fantastic!" ''Every time such a thing happens, Mike, you are part of the Circus of Dr. Lao.''
* {{Yellowface}}: But then, Lao can wear whatever face suits his fancy.
* YouNoTakeCandle: Dr. Lao, him speak dis way some time, yes -- however, not upon every occasion.

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