Stilted Spanish-made adaptation of the ballet libretto "Coppelia", busy on its feet and yet with little personality behind or in front of the camera. In a small village, the curious Dr. Coppelius keeps the townspeople at bay by setting off innocuous explosions; what he's really hiding is a fantastic workshop filled with life-size dolls of his own creation. When intrepid young sweethearts break into the doctor's house, they discover his secret, with the girl impersonating the doctor's latest invention. "Dr. Coppelius" was apparently a labor of love for Ted and Jo Anna Kneeland--he directed, she choreographed the dancing, and they both had a hand in the writing; yet, despite an imaginative art direction and production design, the film seems rather unwieldy, most especially during the dance sequences which are poorly-staged. Barely circulated in the late-1960s, the Kneelands tried for another release in 1976 (using the title "The Mysterious House of Dr. C."), adding horrendous narration and character voice-overs, two animated dream sequences, and songs to explain nearly every bit of human interaction. It's certainly a curio--and a good-looking one, with changing light cues in garish golds, blood reds, mad pinks, and frosty blues--yet the effort is best described as a misfire. ** from ****
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