Directed byAlex March
Produced byMalcolm Stuart
Written byWilliam Peter Blatty
Ian McLellan Hunter
StarringZero Mostel
Music byFred Karlin
CinematographyGerald Hirschfeld
Edited byJohn C. Howard
Release date
Running time
86 minutes
Budget$2.5 million[1]

Mastermind is a Charlie Chan spoof feature film. Filmed in 1969, it sat on the shelf for seven years before receiving a limited theatrical release in 1976. It has developed a cult following since its release on home video.[citation needed]

The second of producer Malcolm Stuart's two-picture deal with screenwriter, William Peter Blatty, the project was inspired by the success of the 1964 Peter Sellers comedy A Shot in the Dark which Blatty had co-written with producer/director Blake Edwards. Blatty's script was drastically revised by Ian McLellan Hunter prior to production, and the disgruntled screenwriter chose the pseudonym Terence Clyne for his screen credit.[2] By 1973 it had recorded a loss of $2.9 million.[1] Blatty's original screenplay was published as part of a limited edition collection by Lonely Road Books in 2013 as Five Lost Screenplays by William Peter Blatty.

Plot and setting

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Zero Mostel plays an inspector on the trail of criminals who have captured a robot called Schatzi played by Felix Sillas. The inspector has delusions that he is a great Samurai warrior and the film flashes back and forth between present day and ancient times.



  1. ^ a b "ABC's 5 Years of Film Production Profits & Losses". Variety. 31 May 1973. p. 3.
  2. ^ Pfeiffer, Lee (24 May 2018). "Review: "Mastermind" (1969)". Cinema Retro. Retrieved 20 August 2020.