7 Faces of Dr. Lao
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7 Faces of Dr. Lao is a 1964 film directed by George Pál and written by Charles G. Finney (novel) and Charles Beaumont (screenplay). A mysterious man brings a circus to a small Western town. As the townspeople explore the exhibits, they discover many surprising and often unpleasant things about themselves.
- This is the circus of Dr. Lao.
We show you things that you don't know.
Oh, we spare no pains and we spare no dough.
Oh, we want to give you one hell of a show!
And youth may come and age may go,
But no more circuses like this show.
- Tricks? Gadzooks, Madam, these are not tricks! I do magic. I — I create, I transpose, I transubstantiate, I break up, I recombine — but I never trick!
- The whole world is a circus if you know how to look at it.
- Every time you pick up a grain of sand you hold a universe in the palm of your hand.
- Dr. Lao: My specialty is wisdom. Do you know what wisdom is?
- Mike: No sir.
- Dr. Lao: Wise answer.
- Ed Cunningham: Now, come on, Doc! What kind of oriental hocus-pocus is going on around here? A circus with no wagons, no animals, no cages? A crazy old magician? What's it all about?
- Apollonius: I only read futures, I don't evaluate them.
- Apollonius: Tomorrow will be like today, and the day after tomorrow will be like the day before yesterday. I see your remaining days as a tedious collection of hours full of useless vanities. You will think no new thoughts. You will forget what little you have known. Older you will become, but not wiser. Stiffer, but not more dignified. Childless you are, and childless you will remain. Of that suppleness you once commanded in your youth, of that strange simplicity which once attracted men to you, neither endures, nor shall you recapture them.
- Mrs. Cassin: You're a mean, ugly man!
- Apollonius: Mirrors are often ugly and mean. When you die, you will be buried and forgotten, and that is all. And for all the good or evil, creation or destruction, your living might have accomplished, you might just as well never have lived at all.
- [Dr. Lao and Mike have an evening heart-to-heart discussion.]
- Dr. Lao: Mike, let me tell you something. The whole world is a circus if you know how to look at it. The way the sun goes down when you're tired, comes up when you want to be on the move. That's real magic. The way a leaf grows. The song of the birds. The way the desert looks at night, with the moon embracing it. Oh, my boy, that's… that's circus enough for anyone. Every time you watch a rainbow and feel wonder in your heart. 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, you're part of the Circus of Dr. Lao.
- Mike: I don't understand.
- Dr. Lao: Neither do I! [Jumps over Mike's head, and they begin to dance]
- Dr. Lao (in snake form...with a face resembling Clint Stark's): I wouldn't care to trade with you.
- Clint Stark: Maybe not, but the point is, my scaly friend, that you are in a cage, while I'm free to walk about!
- Dr. Lao: Oh, you have your cage, too. You test your bars just as often as I test mine, kiddo.
- Ed Cunningham: Hey! How come you speak perfect English all of a sudden?
- Dr. Lao: [no accent] Oh, it comes and goes. Whatever dialect the mood requires.
- Ed Cunningham: Oh, it just comes and goes?
- Dr. Lao: [thick Chinese accent] Whassa matta you? Alla time asking silly questions! Wise guy!
- Mike: Are you an acrobat?
- Dr. Lao: [no accent] Only philosophically.
- Mike: What?
- Dr. Lao: [high-pitched, thick Chinese accent] Ohn-rheee phi-ro-sophic-areee!
- [Dr. Lao is fishing in a dried-up riverbed.]
- Ed Cunningham: I hate to tell you this, Doctor, but there aren't any fish in that river. In fact, there isn't any river.
- Dr. Lao: That's okay. Me no use bait.
- Mayor James Sargent: He doesn't want to lose. Who does?
- Clint Stark: I do. Mayor Sargent, every time I bet on weakness, corruption, fallibility… I want to lose. But I always win.
- [As the movie closes, a voice-over replays a variation of Dr. Lao's earlier words.]
- 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.
- Tony Randall — Dr. Lao, Apollonius of Tyana, many other roles
- Barbara Eden — Angela Benedict
- Kevin Tate — Mike Benedict
- Arthur O'Connell — Clint Stark
- John Ericson — Ed Cunningham
- Lee Patrick — Mrs. Cassin
- Frank Cady — Mayor James Sargent
- Royal Dano -- Lucas. Stark's henchman
- Dal McKennon — Lean Cowboy
- Chubby Johnson — Fat Cowboy
- Douglas Fowley — Toothless Cowboy
- 7 Faces of Dr. Lao quotes at the Internet Movie Database
- Seven Faces of Dr. Lao at Rotten Tomatoes