A elderly Chinese gentleman turns up in the sleepy Western town of Abalone, Arizona during the Depression and puts up posters to advertise the imminent arrival of his circus. Sights no one has ever seen are promised, and boy does Dr. Lao's little circus deliver! Characters from mythology, dreams, and nightmares -- from a dragon to a medusa -- turn up, and the citizens see themselves mirrored in and critiqued by the creatures. Gradually it becomes apparent that the strange, thousand-year-old mage is locked in a struggle for the town with businessman Clint Stark (O'Connell), who wants to buy up all the property and make a killing off the coming railroad. Special effects are decent for 1964, and though the story is not too subtle (it's based on a Charles G. Finney novel), it still makes a memorable unsung masterpiece. Peter Sellers was understandably director George Pal's first choice for the lead, but Tony Randall does an excellent job as Lao, Merlin, Pan, the Abominable Snowman, Medusa, a Giant Serpent, and Apollonius of Tyre (plus a member of the circus audience in the second show).
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus