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The Chairman (1969)

M | | Action, Drama, Thriller | July 1969 (UK)
During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the US government sends a scientist to China to steal the formula for a new agricultural enzyme developed by the Chinese.

Director:

J. Lee Thompson

Writers:

Jay Richard Kennedy (novel), Ben Maddow (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... John Hathaway
Anne Heywood ... Kay Hanna
Arthur Hill ... Shelby
Alan Dobie Alan Dobie ... Benson
Conrad Yama Conrad Yama ... The Chairman
Zienia Merton ... Ting Ling
Ori Levy ... Shertov
Ric Young ... Yin (as Eric Young)
Burt Kwouk ... Chang Shou
Alan White Alan White ... Gardner
Keye Luke ... Professor Soong Li
Francesca Tu ... Soong Chu (as Francisca Tu)
Mai Ling Mai Ling ... Stewardess
Gordon Sterne Gordon Sterne ... U.S. Airforce Sergeant
Robert Lee ... Hotel Night Manager
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Storyline

An American scientist is sent to Red China to steal the formula for a newly developed agricultural enzyme. What he is not told by his bosses is that a micro-sized bomb has been planted in his brain so that should the mission ever look likely to fail, he can be eliminated at the push of a button! Written by Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"This is it. They're finally together. Right now we can detonate our explosive and destroy the Chairman." See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

July 1969 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Chairman See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,915,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Location shooting in Hong Kong was refused by the country's government on the grounds of possible breach of the peace following demonstrations and propaganda campaigns mounted by Hong Kong communists claiming the film was anti Mao and anti Chinese consequently filming was transferred to Taiwan (Kine Weekly 7/12/68) See more »

Goofs

As John Hathaway is making his escape from China, he's seen driving a British army scout car. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excedrin Headache # 9
17 July 2005 | by sol-kaySee all my reviews

***SPOILERS*** Cold War espionage drama with the US and USSR working as a team to prevent the Communist Chinese from developing this enzyme that would make crops in both cold and high altitude, like barren snow capped mountain ranges, weather resistant.

This amazing discovery would give the Chinese Communists a monopoly in food-stuffs industry all over the world. They would also be able to use it to blackmail, or buy off, all of the free and third world nations by undercutting the food prices of the United States and Western Europe as well as the Soviet Union. The Chinese who developed this enzyme with the help of their top scientist Soing Li,Keye Luke,need just one more piece of this growth enzyme puzzle to really get their act on the road to world domination by controlling the worlds food supply: Mass Production. Both the US and USSR are very determined to get their hands on this enzyme and use the one person who can get into Communist China American Prof. John Hathway, Gregory Peck. Prof. Hathway is not only an expert in the field of growth enzymes but also a former associate of the imminent Prof. Soing Li. Only Prof. Hathaway can come up with the formula to mass produce this enzyme which is why the Chairman, Conrad Yama, of the Chinese Peoples Republic eagerly wants him to come to his country and help out Prof. Li with his experiment.

Using the code name "Minitor" the US intelligence service, the CIA, implant a transmitter into Hathaway's head to pick up all the things that he sees and hears in China as well as all his conversations that he has with that country's high echelon governments officials like the Chairman. What Prof. Hathaway doesn't know is that besides a transmitter he also has an explosive device in his skull that can blow his head off as soon as the Chinese suspect that he's a spy for the US.

Prof. Hathaway's main goal in his China visit is to get his hands on the secret enzyme formula but it's encased in the wall of Prof. Li's house and almost impossible for him to get at. Later Hathaway, by crawling under the floorboards and melting the encased steel-box with acid, did get into the hidden compartment where he thought that the film of the enzyme was. Prof. Hatawy is shocked to find that it's no longer there. Prof. Li had since been accused of being a traitor to the people and forced from his post, by the Red Guard, as a top Communist Chinese in the education and scientific departments.

Hurt and humiliated Prof. Li, who was forced to be exhibited around town wearing a dunce cap, with signs calling him a traitor,later commits suicide leaving his daughter Ting Ling, Zienia Merton, his most precious possession: the little Red Book of quotes of Moa Tse-Tung. Unknown to Prof Hathaway is that in that book Prof. Li skillfully and in a code, that only he and Prof. Hathaway can decipher, is the secret enzyme formula.

Unusual film made during the hight of the Cold as well as Vietnam War back in 1969 with Prof. Hathaway driving an armored car and then running for his life towards the Russian-Mongolian/Communist Chinese border with a bomb planted in his head that can go off at any given moment. With the bomb about to be detonated by those who sent him there into Communist China: His government the US as well as the USSR & UK.

The Soviet Red Army who's job it was to get Prof. Hathaway across the border safely were also saddled with the order of not firing on the perusing Chinese Red Army troops. This in order to prevent a war from breaking out between the two Communist super-powers! Which made things in the movie even more complicated then they already were!


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