Oriental despot Lee Ching Sung visits a laboratory and meets with a scientist, Dr. Sui-Lin. In the lab is a cardboard standup of William Lyons Selby, the frontrunner in the upcoming American Presidential election. Sui-Lin takes Sung to the standup and presents Major Ho-Chi Wong, who has the same physical build as Selby. The scientist explains that Wong has committed to memory every known detail of Selby's life. Wong is physically identical to Selby and he has perfected his mimicry of Selby. His fingerprints have been altered as well to match Selby's, and they have removed Wong's third finger on the left hand to match an injury Selby sustained while hunting.
Sung tells Sui-Lin to proceed, and Sui-Lin explains that he's developed a fluid that will cause the cells of the musculature to become malleable for two minutes. One he gives Wong the injection, Sui-Lin demonstrates by pressing his fingers into Wong's face. He then applies a mold in the shape of Selby's face to make Wong an exact duplicate of the candidate.
Wong flies to the U.S. and lands in Chicago. A local agent Li Kwan takes him to Selby's hotel and gives Wong their most recent report on Selby's activities.
After a speech, Selby returns to the Carleton Plaza with his daughter Carol and running mate Ted Pearson. They go to Selby's suite where his manager Phil is waiting. Phil tells Selby that he's set up a radio interview on election eve. He assures his candidate that all of the polls pick Selby by wide margins. Selby warns his people not to get overconfident, and Carol ushers everyone out so that her father can get his rest. Once everyone leaves, an Oriental agent in the room across the hall calls Wong and tells him that he can proceed.
Selby prepares for bed and goes over his next speech. Wong goes to the agent's room and injects himself with the malleability serum, and then applies the mold. He places the mold for a set of blank fingerprints beneath his jacket and the agent gives him the keys to Selby's room. Wong then lets himself in, takes out a gun, and barges into Selby's bedroom. He knocks Selby out, gives him an injection of the serum, and blanks his fingerprints. Wong then applies a second face mold to Selby's face, transforming him into a stranger. He then gives his equipment to the agent, who takes it and leaves, and the major props the unconscious Selby up in the bedroom and shoots him dead.
Later, Selby/Wong gives a statement to the FBI about a wild man bursting into his room shouting that he'd never be President. He claims that he pushed the man away, grabbed his gun from underneath his pillow, and killed the intruder. Selby/Wong refuses to talk to the press, saying that he doesn't want voters choosing him out of sympathy. Ted is surprised that Selby/Wong carried a gun.
Selby/Wong continues campaigning and takes an increasingly large lead in the polls. On election eve, he, Ted, and Carol eat dinner while watch a pre-recorded interview that he conducted. The interviewer asks Selby/Wong if he's going to marry, and Carol offers a toast to the election winners. Ted invites Selby/Wong to come out to the farm and hunt after he votes, and they'll watch the results on TV. Carol points out that Selby/Wong didn't touch the zabaglione she had the chefs make for him, and he claims that he's trying to avoid putting on weight.
The next day, Selby/Wong votes and then goes to Ted's farm. As they hunt, Ted prepares to shoot grouse. A rattlesnake rears up and Selby/Wong quickly kills it with a single shot of his shotgun. Ted is surprised at his accuracy, and Selby/Wong says that he's had his fill of hunting.
Later, Selby/Wong, Ted, and Phil watch the election results in Ted's house. Ted's wife Ann serves coffee, and Ted watches Selby/Wong carefully. Selby/Wong notices and asks what the matter is, and Ted says that he can't get over the shot his running mate made. Selby's opponent concedes and everyone embraces Selby/Wong. Soon Selby/Wong is sworn in and takes the office.
Ted visits Selby/Wong in the Oval Office and asks him about a memo he made on a summit meeting with Sung. He's afraid that Sung will ask them to pull their troops out of a strategic spot in return for doing the same, and Selby/Wong says that they must do the same if Sung agrees. Ted reminds Selby/Wong that he told him that he would never pull out American troops, and Selby/Wong tells him that he's too rigid. He says that nothing is decided and leaves for a press conference.
When Ted goes home, Ann realizes that something is bothering him. She suggests that both armies pulling out is a good thing, and Ted tells her that they'll be unable to return while Sung's forces will be nearby and able to move back whenever he wants. He has no authority to shape foreign policy.
Two days later, Sung and his aides arrive and Selby/Wong excuses his staff so that Sung can get some rest. Once they leave, Selby/Wong bows to Sung and greets him in Chinese. He says that the troops will be gone in three weeks, but they should wait until the fall to close down the missile bases. Sung agrees and says that they will be able to make the other substitutions in the next few weeks. He assures Selby/Wong that he will have a new vice president by morning.
That night, Sung's aide Wen Li transforms his face into Ted's, goes to the Pearson home and slips in the back door. Ted hears him moving and goes to investigate, but there's a knock at the door and he answers it. It's Carol and her husband Bob, and Carol says that there's something wrong with her father. They describe how Selby used to be interested in Bob's research, but he hasn't brought it up in months. Carol explains that her father's taste in food and his attitude toward them has changed. He hasn't meddled in their lives but remembers all of the anniversaries and birthdays. Wen Li knocks over a bag of clubs by accident and Ted intercepts the agent as he runs to the back door. Ted is shocked to see the man with his face, and Wen Li makes good his escape.
Ted tells Carl and Bob what he saw, insisting that what he saw was an exact duplicate. Bob tells him not to say anything to Frank, figuring that it was some kind of molecular arrangement. He leaves with Carol, saying that he has work to do. Ted says that no one will come after him again.
The next day, Bob shows Ted a report about an experiment in molecular arrangement conducted by the Russians. He figures that someone could physically reshape the figures of anyone, and Bob figures that the assassination attempt in Chicago was faked. Bob asks Ted to set up a dental arrangement for Selby/Wong, noting that his teeth will give him away.
Later, Selby/Wong's secretary reminds him of his dental appointment. Selby/Wong says to cancel it.
Ted meets with FBI Agent Marshall and Secret Service Agent Frank Summers, who ask where they can go if Ted is right. Bob figures that the supposed assassin buried in Chicago is the real Selby, and they can check his teeth to confirm who he is. Ted tells them to dig up the body immediately since they have no idea how many people have been replaced.
Wen Li goes to the Oval Office and Selby/Wong tells him to make sure the plan is completed successfully and Ted is killed and replaced. They will stop Ted's car and Wen Li will take his place before continuing on, pick up an ambassador, and go to the President's reception. Once Wen Li leaves, Selby/Wong calls Ted and asks him to pick up the ambassador at the Columbia Hotel. Ted agrees to pick the man up.
That night, Ted is preparing to leave and is with Ann, Bob, and Carol. Frank calls and says that the body was cremated. Once he hangs up, Ted tells the others and says that he'll see them at the reception. He drives off and passes by Wen Li's car.
At the reception, Selby/Wong apologies to Ann, Bob, and Carol for sending Ted to get the ambassador. He asks Carol for the first dance, and she has no choice but to accept. Selby/Wong talks about her mother, and Carol quickly excuses herself. He invites Ann to dance with him and she accepts, and "Ted" comes in with the ambassador and smiles briefly to Selby/Wong.
"Ted" tells Ann to stay close to Bob and Carol, and tells everyone to join him. When the guests come over, "Ted" directs their attention to the front door. Frank and his men bring in Wen Li disguised as Ted, and the real Ted explains that a second attempt was made on his life and Frank thwarted it. He orders Frank to take Selby/Wong, and accuses him of Selby' assassination and taking his identity for the purposes of overthrowing the U.S. government. He has Bob give Selby/Wong an injection of the serum that the SS took from Wen Li, then pulls at Selby/Wong's face until it distorts.
Frank asks if Ted wants to order a missile strike on Sung. Ted says that there will be no order. With that, the SS take Wong away.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 12, 2018