TV Series: The Man with a Hundred Faces

SUMMARY:

Pietro Monti, a stage performer billed as “The Man of a Hundred Faces,” performs before a nightclub audience which includes Charlie Chan and his son, Barry, as well as Inspector Rietti of the Venice Police.A skeptical Barry Chan comments how Monti’s disguises could never fool him, only to fail to recognize him as the flower lady who offers his father a bouquet!Later, back at their hotel room, Chan informs Barry that he also failed to observe a note that was included in the bouquet requesting Chan’s assistance.Chan, pondering the prospect of finding a man of a hundred faces, suggests that they allow Monti to find them.

The next day, Chan and Barry take a gondola ride through the canals of Venice. Barry, amazed to discover that their gondolier is none other than Monti, is informed by Chan that it had been arranged with Monti to take a gondola at the Rialto Bridge at a specific time that morning.Monti then tells Chan of the reason for needing his help.A year before, Monti’s brother, Vittorio, got into trouble while passing bad checks.Monti was able to hide his brother from the law, but, recently a man named Vicente Donati revealed his knowledge of Vittorio’s crimes and threatened to expose the truth unless Monti, using his abilities at disguise, would help him pull off a series of robberies for Donati who is the head of a large gang.Monti asks that Chan tell Inspector Rietti about his situation and also that he would be willing to help the authorities round up Donati’s gang in exchange for leniency for himself and his brother.Chan agrees to do what he can to help.

Later, seeking information on Vincente Donati, Chan and Barry visit Inspector Rietti.Handed a file by Rietti’s police clerk, Romano, the detective learns that Rietti’s only documented crimes, committed years before, were of a very petty nature.Before leaving, Chan asks for a list of all unsolved large-scale robberies.

Chan Barry pay a visit to Donati’s import/export business which is a front for his criminal activities.Chan tells Donati that, despite his extensive world travels, he would like to settle for a while in Venice and wishes to invest $15,000 in Donati’s business.As Chan leaves, Barry, who was stationed outside, tells his father that he saw a familiar looking man slip into Donati’s business through a side entrance.Upon description, Chan believes he recalls seeing the same man earlier.Inside his business, Donati meets with this same man who is Rietti’s police clerk.Donati tells him that “since he chooses to stick his nose into our affairs, time for retired Inspector Charlie Chan is running out…fast.”

In their hotel room, awaiting room service delivery of their lunch, Barry, showing Chan his growing detective skills, shares his thoughts on how Donati’s gang, having a network of contacts, will probably be gunning for them.As Chan concurs, room service arrives with their lunch, stating that they need not worry about being in danger from Donati’s gang as the room service waiter turns out to be none other than Pietro Monti in another disguise.He informs the detective that another crime, an art heist, is planned for the next day at the as a valuable painting is delivered from the Academy Museum to the palace of Count Vinci.Monti informs Chan that he will be disguised as the director of the Academy.Interrupted by the arrival of an assistant waiter, Monti, presenting one of the dishes, notes to Chan that “the chef had MUCH to prepare.”Alone, a famished Barry reaches for a bite to eat.Chan halts him, grabbing the food away as the phone rings.It is Donati.Chan, speaking about his business proposal, suddenly speaks of pain in his stomach and collapses.Barry picks up the phone, telling Donati that something is wrong with his father.After Barry hangs up, Chan suddenly “recovers,” informing Barry that Donati had tried to poison them.Chan then phones Inspector Rietti requesting a meeting that night adding that there will be a spectacular headline in the evening paper.That night, Chan with Barry and Inspector Rietti reads the account of his own demise, as they discuss the events the next morning.