The imperial seal carven of jade and belonging to a friendly nation on the China-India border is acquired by an American businessman and art collector (“I believe in Taggart Aircraft, the American dollar, and myself”), which threatens to upset relations.
The Impossible Missions Force get it back with a broken computer, a reporter, a fakir and a pussycat.
The tour de force of the last-named filching the dingus is heroical in the last degree.
The Heir Apparent
The IM Force invent an Anastasia (Cinnamon) to prevent the regency of a small nation from being coerced onto a dictatorial general. She’s a transparent fraud run by Phelps, Barney and Willy, seized upon by the general as a means of discrediting the archbishop.
Phelps runs the swindle while his two confederates under arrest make their way to the cathedral vault. A puzzle box belonging to the late princess has to be solved and marked for Cinnamon, blinded by drops.
The court of inquiry watches this marvel, and the revelation of a diary inside the box, detailing the Prince Regent’s last days in the general’s rebellion.
Rollin is an old doctor in attendance to refute the impostor. Piece by piece he removes his disguise unnoticed like the Beast a sudden Prince.
The IMF turn the tables on a produce monopolist (head of AFC, the American Food Cooperative, a price-fixing protection racket) by rendering one of his hit men unconscious, placing him in a cell and informing him that he is on Death Row after a trial for murder, and that he is suffering from amnesia.
He doesn’t confess his crimes, once he is placed in the gas chamber and the officials in the control room offer him this last chance, until the cyanide hits the acid and the first wisps of poison rise from the floor.
The monopolist and his number one tear through the canvas stage-set around this scene and try to silence the confession with their revolvers, but they are caught and arrested.
The bluff, businesslike savagery of Vincent Gardenia is bolstered by Val Avery’s cold burliness, against an agonized performance by Luke Askew.
Phelps sketches a rodent trap for a two-timing con, Barney builds it as a cryogenic freezing unit to take the perisher into a future where all landmarks are erased.
Future cars are outside his hospital room, Things to Come supplies a film viewer. His escape is allowed so that he may see the set trappings that have deluded him.
And now the point, a newspaper gives him the date, not years but a day ahead, the day after the statute of limitations runs out on his $10,000,000 robbery (ten times the million in gold of Rod Serling’s closely related teleplay, “The Rip Van Winkle Caper”, for The Twilight Zone), not the one he pleaded to. His phony illness is forgot, he heads to 4th & Hyde, his fortune is behind a memorial plaque in the cemetery, and right behind him are the police, minutes away from the statutory lapse.
A rarefied theme. The Venusian beauty of Cinnamon is in direct conflict with the evidently East German regime, which isolates its fear of isolation above all things, to break her during an undercover operation.
This is plainly obvious, though it’s a pigeon and not a dove that trips the electric-eye alarm at the open window while Cinnamon is busy photographing pages of Operatives and Stations in the vault.
The rest of the IM Force manage to get away, and strike back by seizing an enemy operative from an evidently West German prison, who is made to think he’s being liberated to East Berlin, across the checkpoint. There he’s debriefed and instantly exchanged for Cinnamon.
Will Kuluva seems to have modeled his appearance as the operative loosely on Brecht.