Recommend "The Saint" or not?

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  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,544MI6 Agent
    It's in English, I'm watching it right now. the episode is quite entertaining. Perhps I'll check put the Danger Man episode too.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,801Chief of Staff
    just watched an episode which should be of particular interest to Bondfans...

    Sibao
    S3E21. first broadcast February 25th 1965
    (found here or here)

    An adventure in Haiti with much voodoo content,
    Begins with a shot of Boscoe Holder (Geoffrey's brother) dancing in skeleton makeup to jungle drums before an audience of tourists.
    Enter Sibao, the daughter of the local voodoo highpriest, who tells Templar she knew he was destined to arrive and is able to foretell the future of various other characters.
    She is to be wed to a notorious criminal, who plans to exploit the local religion to gain power over the people and build an international empire.
    And there is a basketfull of poisonous snakes used in the climactic ritual.

    Sound familiar? Think Roger remembered this episode eight years later when he was hired to play Bond?


    Also, this is the first episode I've noticed where Templar is explicitly working as a spy, not just an adventurer who solves mysteries and occasionally cooperates with the police. He is requested by a contact in the Pentagon to resolve this case for them.

    Also features a dinner-with-the-villain sequence, always the sign of fine entertainment.

    Thanks for recommending that, I did enjoy watching it and yes, spotting the similarities to LALD.


    PS: IMDB Trivia offers this bit of ... trivia: '
    This episode is very similar to that of another iconic ITC series, Danger Man (known in the States as) John Drake: Parallel Lines Sometimes Meet (1965); It also was about Haiti and Voodoo, and featured dancing and choreography by Boscoe Holder, (who's Geoffrey Holder's brother), as well as the deep-voiced, magnetic personality of Christopher Carlos (who was a museum director, centred on the island nation's history of Voodoo, as well as it's otherworldly powers).

    ...and I watched this as well. Didn't think it was very similar to "Sibao" but again I enjoyed watching it and spotting Bond alumni (Earl Cameron, Margaret Nolan).

    I'd like to suggest that if you enjoyed these, then watch the Hammer movie "Plague Of The Zombies". Apart from some plot similarities to the above, the villain in "Sibao" is the same actor (John Carson) that plays the villain in "Plague Of The Zombies".
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gexMxZjq27Q
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,544MI6 Agent
    Now I've watched the "Siabo" episode of The Saint and I enjoyed it. Incredibly it's the first episode of The Saint I've ever seen! I enjoyed hte episode and in a few scenes it felt like LALD in black and white. :007)
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    say that's pretty cool I convinced both you fellers to watch it, that was almost like a watchalong!
    if that's your first Saint episode #24 I hope you watch more. Over the past couple months I've been watching them in sequence from the start, and there's at least three more seasons to go...
    I should point out that episode is not typical. His relationship with the authorities is usually a lot less trusting. They usually do not want his help, and often make threats over the issue.

    I'm now liking our Roger better as Templar than as Bond. There's something almost anarchist in the way he independently determines his own version of right and wrong (I guess that's the modern day Robin Hood angle). It's almost a disappointment to watch the Pentagon ask for his assistance!

    __________

    As I near the end of season three, I'm starting to question the convention of who recognises the Saint and what they expect from him.


    Almost every episode begins with a random stranger on the street pointing out and identifying "the famous Simon Templar". Such people usually ask for his his help, setting the plot in motion. Even though they are random innocent civilians, they all know he is a Good Guy who can be trusted to help them.
    How have any of these people even heard of him?

    Just about every local police chief knows him already, and almost all assume him to be some sort of jewel thief or more general criminal. He occasionally demonstrates the skillset of a jewel thief, but I don't think we're ever told if that was his background or not.
    But why do the police chiefs not know he is a Good Guy who helps people, if all these random civilians somehow know?

    Almost every episode he infiltrates a criminal gang, and often introduces himself with a pseodonym (often Sebastian Tombs). Rarely do the criminals recognise him, usually he has them fooled.
    How is it the criminals rarely recognise Templar, when random civilians and police chiefs all know exactly who he is? When he has put so many of their criminal brethren in prison, and even leaves a literal calling card? When he so easily travels the underworld the police chiefs all assume he is part of it?

    It just seems as if the level of recognition he is given by other characters in the story is exactly inverse to what it should logically be.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,801Chief of Staff
    Since you've read at least some of the books, how does Charteris cover this angle? Been a long long time since I read them.
    I see that "Sibao" is based on a Charteris story called "The Questing Tycoon"- if you've read that, how does it compare?
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    You're testing my memory Barbel, and I've only read a few of the books!

    I've read the first three or four volumes, which are quite different. Those ones are actually closer to espionage novels, and he has a gang that helps him in his very unofficial war against evil-doers. We don't really see any random civilians in these stories so they're not there to recognise him.
    The bad guys mostly know him before they meet, That calling card is a deliberate strategy meant to spread his reputation in advance of his appearance on the scene.


    The Saint in Europe, a later volume, is the only one I've read that resembles the teevee series, and all the short stories from that book were adapted in the early seasons. They're the only adaptations i can compare.
    I think in that book he observes strangers and spots people in trouble. When he does identify a stranger in crisis, he just introduces himself without them knowing his reputation.

    I haven't read The Saint on the Spanish Main, which contains "The Questing Tycoon"/"Sibao". The two versions of the story may not be that similar. The stories from The Saint in Europe are greatly expanded in their adaptation (the prose stories are very short), and the "look, there's the Famous Simon Templar" intro scene is one of the elements that is added in the adapted episodes.


    The unappreciated relationship with the police is as old trope in these type of stories. Wasn't Sherlock Holmes also less than completely appreciated by the London police?
    I'm sure if I was paid to do a job I too would resent some amateur showing off he can do the job better than me week after week.
    Still, thats not the same as persistently assuming the vigilante hero is an actual criminal.
    (Inspector Teal is supposed to be a character in the books, but I dont think he has been in any of the volumes I read.)

    But there's another phase of Saint books that I haven't read any of.
    In the later 30s/war years, Templar was based in the United States, and had left his gang behind (Charteris himself had also moved in real life), and apparently during the war he was employed as an official government agent.
    I am wondering if his relationship with the Pentagon in Sibao was a vestige of this phase of Charteris's novels? perhaps a Charteris character from the wartime novels reappearing who had not previously been in the teevee series?
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,801Chief of Staff
    I can confirm that Teal does appear in the books. Holmes was initially unappreciated by the police, but later they grow to respect him.
    Other than that, I'm sure your knowledge exceeds mine.
    The very late period of the books was very much influenced by the success of the TV series, to the extent of adapting the scripts into print.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    in the teevee series, I dont think Teal really believes Templar is a criminal, Templar just pisses him off, so thats Teal's way of getting back at him.
    But the police chiefs in other countries do often assume Templar himself is behind whatever criminal scheme he is investigating.

    Its just watching one episode every night for several months, some of these recurring themes become apparent ... like he keeps using the pseudonym Sebastian Tombs, surely that name too should start to be recognised by the criminal gangs he's infiltrating? but nope, that name is never recognised.
    I know I overanalyse, but I also start to laff when I think about the illogical details of genre fiction stuff so much, and its healthy to have something to laff about!
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    ha! and after all my generalising about Templar's relationship with the police, Teal himself recruits Templar for an undercover mission in the very next episode The Crime of the Century (S3E22 orig broadcast March 4 1965), because his safecracking skills are required. Templar's getting positively respectable!

    this episode features Carol Cleveland in a small role.
    and, like the previous episode, it was scripted by Terry Nation, creator of the Daleks.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,801Chief of Staff
    I didn't expect Carol Cleveland...

    Re Sebastian Tombs- by the time Fleming gets to OHMSS, Bond knows that "Universal Exports" has lost credibility as a cover (it's soon replaced by "Transworld Consortium"). Genre awareness!
  • JoshuaJoshua Posts: 963MI6 Agent
    I like The Saint. It is shown on UK TV every week day. I watch when I am able.

    The Man Who Liked Lions is one of my favourite episodes.

    He travels all over the world but, apart from a little decoration, all the streets look the same!!!

    Despite being filmed in the same studio, it is a great series.

    I like Roger Moore films & TV - even AVTAK!
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,696MI6 Agent
    I've watched loads on the ITV player {[]
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,544MI6 Agent
    I've just watched my second The Saint episode and it occured to me how much the young Roger Moore lools like James Norton, or is it the other way around?

    James-Norton-Zack-in-Belleville-at-the-Donmar-Warehouse-directed-by-Michael-Longhurst-designed-by-Tom-Scutt.-Photo-by-Marc-Brenner-2.jpg
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    which episode did you watch #24?
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,544MI6 Agent
    edited October 2020
    Episode 1 of season 1, of course. :D
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,696MI6 Agent
    I get that a lot too N24, Looking like a young Roger Moore .......... Sorry
    That's Patrick Moore, I'm always getting them mixed up ;)

    64659082-js6ai4x7.jpg
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,544MI6 Agent
    I get Rowan Atkinson :# :))
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    Barbel wrote:
    I didn't expect Carol Cleveland...
    speaking of Python affiliated womenfolk, The Lovely Aimi MacDonald is in Vendetta for the Saint from the final season. She gets rather more lines than Carol Cleveland and delivers them all in her squeaky helium balloon voice.

    The way the plot works in Crime of the Century, there's a lot of buildup to Cleveland's appearance. So even though she has few lines the viewer is compelled to study her face and voice closely when she finally appears, thus making me point at my teevee and shout out loud "I know that lady!" long before we get to the credits. To say anymore would be to spoil the plot. But she's doing her American accent, as in the "Scott of the Antarctic" sketch
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,801Chief of Staff
    Ok, I'm sold. Will try to watch it later today.
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,237MI6 Agent
    Barbel wrote:
    By the time Fleming gets to OHMSS, Bond knows that "Universal Exports" has lost credibility as a cover (it's soon replaced by "Transworld Consortium"). Genre awareness!

    As a side note, 'Transworld Consortium' is an interesting cover name because it sounds like a company with a modern mission statement for friction-less trade in a globalist world, whereas the worn-out name 'Universal Exports' sounds more like a nostalgic Boris Johnson's strained hopes for a Brexit Britain...

    Reading this thread, I'm tempted to snap up all of The Saint, as I haven't watched any of it for years...
    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent

    more Bond-like content in the Saint!


    I have just begun Series 5 of the Saint

    The Queen's Ransom, Series 5 Episode 1, originally broadcast 30 September 1966, was the first colour episode, and supposedly the first one not directly based on one of Charteris' stories. In terms of character and dialog, its a bit like the Golden Journey except about royalty and with thriller elements: Templar has to escort a horrid snobby queen on a journey across the Alps to retrieve her royal jewels and she treats him like a servant and he teaches her a lesson in manners.


    but the reason I bring this particular episode to our attention is the cold opening:

    Templar is in a casino in Monte Carlo, dressed in a white dinner jacket, observing others playing chemin-de-fer, complete with that "shoe" we should all be familiar with having read our Fleming

    (I think Moore as Bond only got one Casino scene in his seven films, and that was his fifth film, whereas most of the others were either introduced in a casino (Connery) or had character establishing casino scenes shortly after the first credit sequence. Moore almost appears to be auditioning in these opening shots.) but watch what happens...

    The man in the red fez is a deposed monarch. Another man enters walking with cane.

    The man with the cane places himself behind the man in the fez, and we see the cane conceals a blade.

    Templar observes and saves the life of the man in the fez

    does this remind you of anything?

    in Fleming's Casino Royale, Bond himself is threatened while playing chemin-de-fer by a man behind his chair with a gun concealed in his cane!

    That scene even got adapted directly in the Climax Mystery Theatre version


    the remainder of the episode is completely different, but final scenes have Templar racing a Rolls Royce (backwards) across alpine switchbacks. Another typically Bond-ian scene other Bond actors mostly each did variations of once, but I don't think Roger ever did in seven films.


    Also it seems to me the theme music has been rerecorded for this first colour episode, with more swanging brass than in the b&w episodes. And the credit sequence is definitely new, now with more silhouettes! I think, having run out of Charteris source material, that they are making the show more conspicuously Bond-like!

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent

    here's the credits of the b&w episodes

    here's the credits of the Queen's Ransom, I haven't watched any more of the colour episodes, but presume this was permanent.

    Definitely newly recorded music, faster paced, sounds like more swanging brass. And note the way the stick figure logo begins first with a perfectly circular opaque dot representing the head (29 seconds), definitely not part of the original animation (in which the head is formed from the ovoid halo graphic), but reminiscent of the start of the 007 gunbarrel sequence


  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent

    I promise I won't report on each and every one of these, but the second episode of Series 5 also demands our attention....

    Interlude in Venice

    S05E02 originally broadcast 7 October 1966

    ...guest-stars Lois Maxwell in a rather meaty role, and also features another white dinner jacket Casino scene, the second in only two episodes.

    This is a convoluted blackmail plot, set as the title suggests in Venice, represented I presume by backprojected stock footage but still looking almost as good as the scenes in Moonraker. Lois is the unloved stepmother to a spoiled little rich girl who wanders off with a creepy "prince" and gets her family into a spot of bother. There is a twist ending I didn't see coming, but that could either be because I lost track of the complicated plot, or because I was predisposed to trust the wrong characters.

    Also features Patrick Troughton (the Second Doctor) as a local police chief who actually asks for Templar's help and compliments him at the end! I notice he shows up in a lot of these shows as a swarthy foreign type: he's good with the accents as well as having dark features, and can be a bit sinister when not clowning round as a TimeLord.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    edited April 12

    Last night I watched The Saint in New York, the first Saint film, starring Louis Hayward, made by RKO in 1938, and the start of a series of eight B-movies. It was the actor's only turn in the series, he was replaced by George Sanders for the next several films, but would play the part once again in 1953 for a Hammer production The Saint's Return.

    I probably shoulda waited til after I finished the Roger Moore Saint, so I don't get my Saints mixed up. But now I watched it I best report before I forget...

    Based almost directly on what was at the time Charteris's bestselling novel from 1935. This begins what is described as Phase III of The Saint's adventures, "the Anglo-American Saint". Charteris himself had moved to the States, and his creation would follow, leaving behind his gang from the early adventures. Clause Eustace Teale is replaced by a new character, Inspector Fernack.


    Plot begins with the local police admitting they can't control crime in the City. They can catch criminals, but because of lawyers they can't keep them in prison. The spokesman for a Citizen's group suggests what they need is a modern day Robin Hood not constrained by the letter of the law, and he's heard of an English man who is just what they need. The Police commissioner surprisingly agrees! Followed by a montage of scenes in various world capitals as the Citizens' spokesman tracks The Saint down (montage also acts as a crash course in typical Saint adventures). The Saint is finally found in Latin America, plotting a local revolution, but is persuaded cleaning up crime in New York would be even more dangerous and therefor more fun. He is handed a list of a half dozen known criminals the police can't keep in prison, whom the City would be much better off if they could just be mysteriously eliminated. First name on the list is shot down in cold blood, in broad daylight in the middle of a crowded street. (and the Police commissioner has agreed to all this!!!)

    Hayward plays the character very differently from our Roger. Despite the nice hotel room and fine taste in beverages, he is not at all posh and his manners much cruder, more abrasive. He reminds me somewhat of Michael Keaton's Batman, too small and delicate looking to be a persuasive threat, somewhat twitchy with a permanent smartass grin. He is a potentially unstable thrillseeker, making up his own code of right and wrong as he goes along. His method is to just walk blindly into danger, and to taunt the criminals to their faces until the criminals make a desperate move first (this part is very close to Charteris' characterization in the early books). Nothing he does seems particularly clever or even thought out in advance, and he repeatedly loses control and gets himself hurt (this never happens to our Roger). But the underlings are so impressed with his cojones they keep taking him aside and telling him they'd rather be on his side, giving the plot a bit of Yojimbo type logic as he tears down the criminal organization from within.

    the film doesn't develop it properly, but has one hell of an ironic twist ending: the spokesman of the Citizens committee is the big baddy behind the other baddies, he went to all the trouble to bring The Saint to New York to use him as a patsy to assassinate his potential underworld rivals, again with the police commissioner's unwitting blessing! this ought of been a Chinatown-scale downer of an ending, but the implications are not even commented upon.


    I've never seen the George Sanders version that followed, but am familiar with his persona as a character actor and would expect him to be closer to Roger Moore's posh well mannered version. I've read Charteris didn't like Sanders, thought Hayward was closer to his own conception, so am surprised he approved of Moore! but then, Phase V "The Cosmopolitan Saint" began after Sanders had done several successful sequels, so maybe Charteris was influenced in turn despite initial misgivings.

    Anybody else watched this RKO films series (or the 1950s Hammer entry) and got any opinions or factoids?

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,000MI6 Agent

    I watched them all in the 1980s when the BBC showed them on Friday tea-times.

    They were slight and all rather short. Yes, B-movie fare. George Sanders was particularly suave I seem to recall. He made 5 movies in quick succession before switching allegiance to another new RKO franchise THE FALCON. Sanders dropped out of this series after 4 movies. his last appearance was in THE FALCON'S BROTHER where his real-life brother Tom Conway played his sibling and went on to assume the lead role to great success.

    The BBC also aired The Falcon series, Charlie Chan and Mr Moto as well as the entire Tarzan series from 1932 - 1960 (excluding Tarzan's Revenge from '38. ITV had the other '60s efforts) and a slew of classic Republic serials: Flash Gordon, Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, Buck Rogers, King of the Rocket Men, Undersea Kingdom and the original Batman. I also recall watching THE WATER MARGIN, but that's not movie related.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent

    the Saint in New York was about 70 minutes and looked very lo-budget. Basically the same format as the Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock Holmes films I've been watching. But those look much higher quality, better filmed, better put together, more logical flow connecting the scenes. whereas this Saint film looks almost randomly thrown together, half-improvised. The motivation of the leading lady, a bad girl who falls in love with the hero midway through their first scene together, especially does not make sense.

    But maybe that's appropriate: Sherlock Holmes is an exercise in logic, so his films seem very logically assembled, whereas Hayward's Saint appears to be possibly unhinged, and thus so is his film?


    I've been trying to watch both the original Flash Gordon and Batman serials recently, and to my shame, in both cases sort of forgot and abandoned them after a half dozen episodes: that serial format is just so repetitive, there's just no cumulative build-up in the story from episode to episode, so after a few I cant tell them apart.

    Us loyal Bondfans probably should be familiar with the original Batman serial, however, since that's Michael Wilson's biological father in the ill-fitting BatSuit!

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,801Chief of Staff

    Great write-up, cp! Watched that one years ago, you've made me want to see it again. All I remember is that George Sanders was more to my taste than Louis Hayward, and that I enjoyed his Saint films much more.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    edited April 15

    I found this website called Comics Royale, which amongst other comics of interest includes a section with full scanned stories from the Saint comic book from the 1940s! you should be able to follow my link, and go in there and read and download all these Golden Age Saint comics.

    (the astute will quickly realise this is actually a site devoted to obscure James Bond related comics, and I will post a link somewhere in our Literary threads later when I get a chance, after I've explored this Comics Royale website bit more. It is huge.)

    The Saint comic was first published as one feature amongst others in an anthology comic, Lev Gleason's Silver Streak comics 18-21 (Feb 1942-May 1942)

    then had his own title published by Avon comics, The Saint 1-12 (Aug 1947-March 1952)

    this version showcases plenty of what comics connoisseurs call "Good Girl Art", and I definitely recognise the style of Matt Baker, considered the master of that form. In the late 1940s, comic books actually featured lots of sexy ladies to keep their maturing target market interested, before the Comics Code Authority put an end to all the fun.

    check out for example this splash panel from the fourth issue!

    Note how huge Charteris's name is on all these. I don't know if he actually wrote the comic book or employed ghosts, but Charteris definitely knew how to market a property.


    He also wrote the newspaper comic strip Secret Agent X-9 for a few storylines (Sept 23 - Nov 16, 1935), following series creator Dashiel Hammett (!!!) and illustrated by Alex Raymond. I've got a book somewhere with the Hammett-written storylines, not sure if I've ever seen the ones Charteris wrote. The two writers certainly had very different prose styles.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,000MI6 Agent

    Fascinating stuff Caractacus.

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