Thursday, August 5, 2010

Movies You Haven't Seen But Should: 7 Faces of Dr. Lao

7 Faces of Dr. Lao is a (Metrocolor) 1964 film adaptation of the 1935 fantasy novel The Circus of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney. It details the visit of a magical circus to a small town in the southwest United States, and the effects that visit has on the people of the town. The novel was adapted by Charles Beaumont, directed by George Pal and starred Tony Randall in the title roles ...

... According to notes on the Leigh Harline soundtrack CD released by Film Score Monthly, Pal's first choice for the role was Peter Sellers who was strongly interested in the role. MGM decided that they wished an American in the lead role.

William Tuttle received an honorary Oscar for his makeup work on this film. It was the first of only two honorary Oscars awarded for makeup; the other went to John Chambers in 1968 for Planet of the Apes. As part of Tuttle's work, Randall had his head shaved, not only to play the bald Dr. Lao, but also to make it convenient for the "appliances" which he had to wear. The studio publicity department arrived at the barber too late to photograph the process, so they had a make-up artist glue hair back on Randall's head and the barber once again removed it, this time for the cameras.

Jim Danforth's model animation of the Loch Ness Monster, the Giant Serpent, Medusa's snake hair were nominated for an Academy Award.

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