caractacus potts wrote:
just watched an episode which should be of particular interest to Bondfans...
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.
caractacus potts wrote:
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).
I didn't expect Carol Cleveland...
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!
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!
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
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
Fascinating stuff Caractacus.