The great Charlie Chan (Peter Ustinov) arrives in San Francisco to help the police on a murder case and is greeted by his Jewish-Chinese grandson number one, Lee Chan Jr. (Richard Hatch), Lee Grant plays Lee Chan Jr's grandmother, a rich Jewish widow who has become linked by marriage to the Chan clan. Her lavish household is graced by Mrs. Dangers (Rachel Roberts), the paranoid house keeper and Gillespie (Roddy McDowall) the butler, a manic member of the staff, serving from a souped-up wheelchair.
Charlie Chan retains the inscrutable calm as he tangles with a colourful canvas of events and characters. He escapes death countless times, is pitched into a wild, Ben Hur style handsome cab chase and rescues his grandson from a fate that might have saved Pearl White.
As he finally confronts his old enemy, the Dragon Queen (Angie Dickinson), and reveals the true identity of the killer in their midst, the final denouncement carries a twist capable of surprising the great Chan himself.
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