Recommend "The Saint" or not?

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  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent

    one other foreshadowing of Moore's Bond in this season...

    in A Double in Diamonds (S5E24 5 May 1967) there is yet another jewel robbery, and a replica of a valuable diamond necklace which at one point Templar swaps with the original without telling anybody. Now with all the jewel robbery plots in this series, I'm sure that's not the first time this has happened, but coming right after The Gadget Lovers I was certainly on the lookout for moments our Roger might have been tempted to recycle in his new job.

    Bond swaps the replica of the Faberge egg with the original in Octopussy of course.

    Now having watched so much MooreTemplar, when I next watch his seven Bond films I am going to be perceiving his version of Bond differently. Maybe he's not so much Roger Moore trying to impersonate ConneryBond, but maybe Simon Templar himself has been given the infamous codename! In that Octopussy scene, he is demonstrating the skillset specifically of Simon Templar rather than any established version of Bond! I wonder how many other moves in Moore's Bond films are more Templar than Bond?

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 33,419Chief of Staff

    Hiding Miss Caruso from M? I'm not sure Sean would have bothered: "Oh, she's right here, sir."

    His attempt at asking Goodnight to sleep with him.

    His whole behaviour with Melina (until the end, anyway) and Bibi.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent

    Templar wouldnt have made that clumsy pass at Goodnight

    funny thing about The Saint: there's a spectacularly beautiful costar in every episode, but Templar rarely seems romantically interested, usually his involvement is very chaste but with courtly charm that women find fascinating. Maybe its because its tv, but he rarely even kisses them.

    In the Man from UNCLE its a running gag Solo flirts with ladies when he's supposed to be working, but its just tv flirting. Whereas in the movie versions of the same stories he sleeps with them, and the innuendos in the dialog are more Adult. So that's what's allowed on tv versus movies. But Templar rarely even seems to flirt with his many beautiful lady friends, very unexpected for Rogers More.

    _________

    That clumsy pass at Goodnight is Bonds most pathetic attempt to hit on a woman in the whole series, and she's a coworker! (a direct subordinate too if you go by what Fleming wrote). Imagine if he tried that today!

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 33,419Chief of Staff

    Fair enough!

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent
    edited June 2021

    I am still compiling my research for my report on Season 6, but wish to give a special report on the two part episode I just watched:


    The Fiction Makers

    (s6e11 8 December 1968 and s6e12 15 December 1968)

    This was also released as a feature film in the format of the Man from UNCLE films, and has unique opening credits and music, more in the style of The Pink Panther

    this story is very metafictional and has lots of spy spoof elements.

    Begins with Templar at the premiere of a new spyfilm, his inner monolog critiquing the predictability of the fight moves (as some folks do watching Moore's Bond films!). The film-within-the-film is the first in a new series based on the spy novels written by the mysterious Amos Klein. Templar is asked to be a sort of bodyguard for Klein, who turns out to be a beautiful woman (Sylvia Syms). Almost immediately kidnappers show up and take both Templar and Klein prisoner, assuming Templar to be Klein and Klein to be his secretary.

    The evil Mr Warlock (Kenneth J. Warren) is an aspiring supervillian who has based every element of his operation on the writings of Klein (who can therefor predict and outthink his every move). His evil organisation is called S.W.O.R.D. (Secret World Organization for Retribution & Destruction), again from Klein's novels, and he is plotting a Goldfinger style heist and demands the author plan the details.

    Villain's evil headquarters is actually a rural lunatic asylum, so that when they try to escape and tell their story local residents understand completely send them right back where they came from.

    As all the rooms have hidden cameras and microphones, Templar and the real Klein are always on stage being observed by their captors and must stay in character, while the "secretary" eagerly does all the real planning and Templar does the talking (does this relationship foreshadow a futureBond's preBond teevee series? ie Remington Steele?). These two have an excellent comedy rapport, and at one point perform Astaire and Rogers style dance moves (for "two hours") to distract the minions watching the monitors. So there is the film-within-the-film that starts the story, the staged performances for the benefit of the video monitors, the mistaken identities, the fictional spy novelist writing fictional Fleming style spy thrillers, and the elaborate multilayered conceit that allows Roger Moore to act out a version of Goldfinger several years before actually being offered the part of Bond. Thats a whole lotta meta goin' on! Villain even warns Templar to not so much as "arch an eyebrow" or the girl gets it!

    But note for the plot to work, once again it is the villains who are the only people in this universe not to recognise the Famous Simon Templar.


    Since this adventure is about a writer, lets give credit to the actual writer John Kruse, who wrote many of the very best Saint episodes and seems to be the only one Charteris actually approved of.

    Of interest to us Bondfans, Philip Locke (Vargas from Thunderball) plays one of the evil henchmen. Also both the 3D scale model and the laser torture from Goldfinger are replicated.

    IMDB claims this was actually filmed in 1966 but not released in either form for two years, if true why would they have held it back for to years, SpyMania was on the wane by 1968? IMDB must have that wrong.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 33,419Chief of Staff

    For another layer of meta, this was novelised in 1968

    (this is one of many covers over the years) and credited to Leslie Charteris. IIRC (it's been decades since I read it) Charteris does give credit to both John Kruse (who wrote the screenplay as you say above) and to Fleming Lee, who did the novelisation.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,049MI6 Agent

    IMDB haven't got it wrong. It was filmed at the same time as episodes for season 5 and was slated for a movie release in Europe in 1966/67. Why it didn't happen, goodness knows.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent

    thanks @chrisno1 , that seems so strange as 1966 would have been the perfect year for it. Even if there was a glut of spy spoofs that year it was better than most of them, and cleverly constructed. And it obviously had more work invested in it than the usual weekly Saint episodes, so why set it aside for so long. I wonder what the reasoning was?

    @Barbel yes i see what you're saying, Charteris is taking credit for another author's work (thus his authorship is a Fiction) just as Templar is taking credit for Amos Klein's! but in Templar's case he was just trying to save her life.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent
    edited June 2021

    ...and just three episodes later, it's the second feature length Saint episode, again with unique credit sequence and music


    Vendetta for the Saint

    (s6e15 5 January 1969 and s6e16 12 January 1969)

    whereas the Fiction Makers was a multilayered metafictional spyspoof with a Goldfinger tribute at its core, this one is a deadly serious crime saga torn straight from the headlines: Simon Templar travels to Sicily waging one man war on the mafia. Ian Hendry plays the villain, a mafia don next in line to become big boss of all the crime families in Sicily, but hiding a stolen identity which only Templar knows. Steven Berkoff (one of ours) is listed in the cast but I didn't spot him - one of the many mafia goons perhaps?

    Unlike most other Saint episodes this one was filmed on actual location, or near-actual. Filming was done in next-island-over Malta rather than Sicily as the subject matter might not a been too popular in Sicily. Templar has battled the Mafia before: in second ever Saint episode The Latin Touch (s1e02 11 October 1962) he rescued a diplomats daughter who had been kidnapped in Rome. The show was almost immediately banned in Italy for showing the chief of Police in Rome as being in the employ of the Mafia.

    I say Templar is waging a one man war but I oversimplify: this is one of those episodes when he is deputised by official law enforcement. Early on he is arrested by a corrupt local cop, in what appears to be a repeat of the Latin Touch scenario. But then a federal officer walks in to the police station and orders Templar freed, the feds are closing in on this big meeting of all mafia dons and Templar is asked to help. By the end there is a small army gathered outside the remote house where all the dons are meeting. So the makers of the show seem to making up for their accusations against Italian police in the Latin Touch, and once again our modern day Robin Hood has official sanction for his actions.

    TemplarGirl in this story is played by The Lovely Aimi Macdonald (At Last the 1948 Show, hence an almostPython). She was also in the Avengers episode Return of the Cybernauts, where she contributed moments of comic relief in an otherwise more serious episode. Here she is playing it straight and tragic, as Hendry's unwilling moll whom Templar rescues. She still talks like a helium balloon even while playing it straight and tragic.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent
    edited June 2021

    I have now completed the final season of The Saint, sad day for me. Here is my report on Season 6.

    Season 5 was evolving towards a full time spy series, and I was hoping this final season would continue that trend. There are a couple spy themed episodes here, but more conspicuously there's some very uncharacteristic sci-fi plots and self-parody more typical of the Avengers, as well as an unofficial pilot for Moore's next teevee series. One thing I like about The Saint is the show has more variety of plots than most other such shows of the era, but some of this season's variations seem like its just lost interest in being The Saint any longer. And a lot more than usual take place entirely within Britain, he's not being very Cosmopolitan in this final season.


    Spy themed stories:

    Invitation to Danger (s6e03 6 October 1968) 

    Templar is picked up by a mysterious woman at a casino, then wakes up to find he has been framed for the robbery of $150,000-. I shall not spoil the twist, but about halfway through this turns into a spy story. Stars both Shirley Eaton (who was also in the first ever Saint episode) and Julian Glover.

    The Organisation Man (s6e05 27 October 1968). Templar infiltrates a private mercenary army in Britain on behalf of the Secret Service. (again, why do these criminals not know Templar is a good guy who helps people when all random civilians know this?). Features a le Carre-esque subplot about a snivelling interrogator who is tempted to change sides.

    At the end Templar is actually offered a fulltime job with the Secret Service but turns it down.

    I want to see a version were he accepts, then is told he will be assigned a Code Name since the name Simon Templar is too Famous for a spy.

    The Fiction Makers see above, a metafictional spyspoof in which Roger Moore gets to act out much of the plot of Goldfinger.

    Where the Money Is (S6 E14 29 December 1968) Not a spy story, but Templar visits the special effects man at a movie studio to request some customised gadgets, specifically a watch which is also an automatic camera. Roger Moore receiving a watch-gadget? we'll be seeing that again! Written by Terry Nation, directed by Moore, with a reappearance from The Fiction Makers' Kenneth J. Warren playing a different character (imdb claims his character is a parody of Lew Grade, if true it is not very flattering).


    other notable episodes:

    The House on Dragon’s Rock (s6e09 24 November 1968) is one of the few written by Charteris, is another directed by Moore. Starts like a British country inn story (a subgenre of this series: Templar stays in posh hotels when abroad but quaint county inns while travelling domestically) then turns into a Doctor Who/Quatermass type sci-fi/horror story involving giant ants.

    The Man who Gambled with Life (s6e18 26 January 1969) another fairly ridiculous sci-fi adventure that would seem more suited to The Avengers. To sum up as concisely as possible, a millionaire scientist is dying and wants to freeze himself til medicine advances enough to save him. He needs a test subject first, and volunteers Templar. Templar even refers to one of the scientist's identical twin daughter characters as Mrs Peel at one point, just in case we think the stylistic similarity is coincidence. And the other daughter wears Kinky Boots.


    The Ex-King of Diamonds (s6e17 19 January 1969)

    This is an unofficial pilot for The Persuaders, with Templar driving to Marseilles and entangling himself in a manly rivalry with a crude loudtalking Texas millionaire. After punching each other back and forth for a bit they team up to solve a mystery and save a girl.

    Said mystery takes place in a Casino where a deposed monarch has organised a game of high stakes baccarat (to which both Templar and Texas are invited) so that he may raise funds for his return to power. To guarantee his win he cheats using an infrared monocle. (does this plot sound familiar?). There is also an opening gag about "nice lines" that Roger would recycle in one of his Bond films.


    Inspector Teal only appears in three episodes this season, after seven in the previous season. At the end of his final appearance, Templar invites him "and do call me Simon" to which Dear Claude Eustace responds "whatever, ...Templar!"


    THE SAINT on TV is a decent fansite with some info on the recurring actors (of whom there were many), the many uses of a few studio sets, and best of all Charteris' opinions on the scripts: he was getting paid good money for script approval, felt his input was being ignored, and is quite scathing. He particularly does not like the recurring plot device where Templar meets yet anther old friend who happens to be in trouble, something I'd been wondering about myself since the very first season: how many old friends does Templar have?

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,049MI6 Agent

    I've very much enjoyed reading your takes on The Saint, caractacus. Of course it had to end at some point, but a fantastic and dedicated watch. Thanks for sharing. One day, I too hope to complete such a marathon.

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,698MI6 Agent
    edited May 3

    I watched today the monochrome 1962 TV episode 'The Talented Husband' (1: 1, Oct. 62), very much enjoying the rapport in the story between Roger Moore and Shirley Eaton. In the first of her three appearances in the series, Ms Eaton plays insurance company investigator and ally of Templar, Adrienne Halberd. The two actors have more time and dialogue together in the episode than Ms Eaton has with Connery in GF, and she lights up with her vivacious beauty (and with her own voice!) every scene in which she appears - but of course there's no real comparison with her Technicolor sensuality and massively iconic role in the Bond film. An interesting aspect of Moore's performance in 'The Talented Husband' is the outrage he conveys when confronting the murderous villain of the piece - part of his repertoire as an actor which he carefully rations during his performances as Bond, to great effect (evident, for example, in Bond's contempt for Zorin after the murder of Howe in AVTAK).

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,713MI6 Agent
    edited April 7

    The very first Templar episode, I assume you saw this on Talking Pictures TV's catch up service. It's a clunker imo, not typical at all and Templar is not much in it.

    The second one had the almost ubiquitous Warren Mitchell turn up as a foreigner, and the whole thing was more in keeping, even if the plots seem a bit heavy, a bit tortuous. It also starred a Bond character I simply couldn't place, as the father of a kidnapped young woman, then I realised - he's the American who sits in a seat in You Only Live Twice and makes a decision as to whether he should instigate World War III, ultimately deciding they can all turn in and head off to the golf course.

    Two things - Moore seems a better actor than as Bond, more natural. I think he had an inferiority complex as Bond coming after Connery, and also simply disliked the character in many ways - the killing (not much of that at all in The Saint) and womanising and so on. So instead, he sent it up as his response to it, plus it was more fantastic then anyway. Secondly, he seems to have an American accent in some scenes, perhaps to make it more palatable to the US market, it being unclear that Brits were the big draw at that time.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,698MI6 Agent
    edited May 4

    I've just watched that second episode, 'The Latin Touch' (1: 2, Oct 62) and yes, it's certainly a step up from 'The Talented Husband'. (I'm watching them on a DVD set.) There's an immediate sense of a greater canvas, with footage from The Colosseum in Rome worked into the cut, around all the studio-bound filming.

    It's great to see Susan Farmer in it, a damsel in distress much as she was in Hammer's later 'Dracula, Prince Of Darkness'. There's even a structural parallel with that film, insofar as Ms Farmer's role is counterpointed with a more licentious female character, Carroll Simpson's Maria, who, while not a 'vamp' in the same sense as Barbara Shelley in the Dracula flick, is a clubland singer with a connection to the villain. Also, I was strongly reminded of scenes between Bond and Andrea in TMWTGG when Templar questions Maria in her dressing room, discovering how the villain has abused her. The Saint is naturally more gentlemanly about his interrogation than is Bond. And the way Maria brushes aside her hair to reveal the shocking scar Tony Unciello has inflicted on her reminds me of Elektra King's reveal of her mutilated ear (in her case, self-inflicted) in TWINE.

    Furthermore, there's an interesting parallel between the roles played by Alexander Knox in this episode, as Governor Inverest, and, uncredited, as POTUS (?) in YOLT. Inverest is up against a nervewracking deadline, wrestling with a dilemma as to whether to meet the gangster's demands - and thereby to compromise his public duty as Governor - in order to save the life of his kidnapped daughter; YOLT's POTUS is on a countdown to armageddon as he sweats out the threat to his country's latest space flight. Arguably, Knox is as scary in YOLT as Blofeld: had Bond not pressed the exploder button in time, Knox would have instigated WW3 on what was, in fact, a mistaken assumption about who had been responsible for kidnapping American spacecraft! In 'The Latin Touch', Inverest's wife's emotional plea that he should deprioritise points of principle, and put their daughter's life above all other considerations, ought to have been a no-brainer, imho!

    Warren Mitchell's comic turn as Marco, the scamming Italian cab driver who helps out Templar, adds welcome light relief to the episode, even though it's hard to avoid the similarities in performance style with Andrew Sachs' later turn as Manuel, the Spanish waiter in 'Fawlty Towers', playing up ethnic stereotypes. Sachs himself appears as a hotel receptionist in Season 1 of 'The Saint', in 'The Loaded Tourist'.

    There's a muscularity and toughness in 'The Latin Touch', from the strident arrangements of 'The Saint' theme in the incidental score, to the idea of high-level police corruption in Rome (as cp noted), to the very premise of the plot: Templar's interventions aren't only about rescuing Susan Farmer; he's also ensuring that a gangster on death row *doesn't* get a reprieve and an opportunity for a re-trial in a court of law! Bill Nagy's Unciello and his crew have something of the flavour that Fleming's The Spangled Mob might have had, if they'd ever made it to the screen, perhaps with a hint of Scaramanga too.

    I'd like to say something about a possible connection between Bond and, in 'The Saint', Templar's customary breaking of the fourth wall to address viewers directly, at the beginning of episodes: I wonder whether the trailer for LALD plays on that, to an extent; I'm thinking of how Moore saunters towards us in the trailer's gunbarrel, as if he's about to address us, Templar-style. The difference, of course, is that he's holding a gun on us, suggesting a dangerous sort of rapport. There's also the fact that in the trailer for DN, in the same year as 'The Saint''s first season, Connery addresses us directly as Bond, in a voiceover, recounting highlights of his adventure for our benefit. But while Templar is convivial company, Connery sounds world-weary and dangerous.

    One difference between the Saint and OO7 indicated in 'The Latin Touch' is when our hero introduces himself as "Simon. Simon Templar." The forename comes first, perhaps suggesting greater initial personal accessibility than is implied by Bond's preferred mode of introduction. Although Bond's way of introducing himself in DN is meant, first and foremost, as a flirtatious imitation of Sylvia Trench (who introduces herself as "Trench. Sylvia Trench"), Bond's trademark of giving his surname ahead of his forename also implies, perhaps, that, for him, the impersonal (duty) always comes before the personal (familiarity). Templar is never really on duty; he just jets around, brushing against victims of crime, chatting with attractive ladies and resolving situations, almost as a hobby.

    If Moore's acting is better as Templar than in his initial performances as Bond - and it is an 'if' - I'm not sure that I'd agree that this must have been because of his nervousness about stepping into Connery's shoes. It may simply have been because, tonally, there is a wider range of material for Moore to work with in 'The Saint'. For me, for example, Moore's most impressive acting in 'The Latin Touch' is in a scene with Marie Burke's Signora Unciello, the mother mourning the lost innocence of her gangster sons, the younger of whom is due for judicial execution. It's not the kind of scene we'd ever get during Moore's time as Bond but it's quite affecting, even though it's essentially just a variation of a cliche of the gangster genre. (Think of the scenes with Tony Montana's mother in De Palma's later 'Scarface'.)

    I agree that the hints of Americanisation in Moore's accent sound quite jarring, and Susan Farmer, although a delight, is utterly unconvincing as an American girl!

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent
    edited April 8

    shady says:

    Warren Mitchell's comic turn as Marco, the scamming Italian cab driver who helps out Templar, adds welcome light relief to the episode, even though it's hard to avoid the similarities in performance style with Andrew Sachs' later turn as Manuel, the Spanish waiter in 'Fawlty Towers', playing up ethnic stereotypes.

    Marco is a recurring character, reappearing each time Templar is in Rome for the next couple seasons. There's another Roman episode I think in season 2, about a phony countess and her phony charity, thats really good, and Marco's in it. There's other recurring characters to watch for, specifically a pair of French cops, one being the usual local police chief who suspects Templar and the other being the dimwitted officer assigned to tail Templar and make sure he doesn't interfere with the mystery. The same pair repeat the same gag in at least three episodes.

    The Latin Touch may be more like the prototypical Saint episode, but I found watching the series alongside other contemporary spy shows of the time that there's more variety of plot types. Maybe because its not a spy show? So there's lots of jewel heist plots, lots of foreign revolutions plots, pure human interest stories, an increasing number of actual spy plots in later seasons, and a few Agatha Christie type plots as seen in the first episode. There's an episode with Honor Blackman you should get to shortly, that's even more Christie-ish than the first episode. Perhaps because the first seasons were based almost entirely on Charteris's books, mostly his short stories, that may be why its less formulaic than other similar shows. I dont know that Charteris wrote much other than his Saint books, so he probably liked to stretch within his series and explore different styles, thus the tv series based so closely on his books stretches a bit too.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent
    edited April 8

    napoleon sez:

    he seems to have an American accent in some scenes, perhaps to make it more palatable to the US market, it being unclear that Brits were the big draw at that time.

    I'm not sure how many Americans were watching these shows vs Brits, but my understanding is all the Lew Grade shows had a big budget because they were intended for export to the States. The Avengers (not Lew Grade I know) had a lower budget til it went to film, basically had to switch to film and higher production values for that export, and when it went down in the rating in the States it was cancelled in Britain, meaning they could not afford to make it for a purely domestic audience. I've also seen that BBC and respectable tv critics were dismissive of the Lew Grade shows in particular as being so commercial in intent, pandering to the dreaded American market (we get the same nonsense arguments in Canada whenever a Canadian production is actually popular).

    Which is to say, maybe Moore did play with a more American accent on purpose? his voice is so distinctive (actually easier to impersonate than Connery's) I'm sure at some point he settled on a signature Roger Moore voice whatever the role was, but maybe in early days he experimented a bit?

    He worked in American television before the Saint. he replaced James Garner (Rockford Files) of all people in Maverick, a cowboy show. It seems all Moore era episodes of Maverick are lost, but according to wikipedia the in-story explanation was James Garner had this cousin who'd spent some time abroad, thats why he talked funny. And I know he did another cowboy show in the states before being cast in Maverick, very hard to imagine but true.

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,698MI6 Agent
    edited May 2

    I think what's jarring about the touches of Americanisation in Moore's accent, in the early episodes of The Saint that I've seen, is not so much that I'm used to his performances *without* these (as Brett Sinclair or as Bond) than that, precisely, they're limited: he sounds English except when flattening the "a" sound in words like "fast" and "last".

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent
    edited April 10

    I happened to be looking at the Mike's Newsstand website, doing other Important Research, and I noticed DELL published a Maverick comic book and Roger Moore is on three of the covers. Here's the one with the clearest shot of his face, from issue 17 Dec 1961.

    His character's name was Beau Maverick. I shouldn't say he was a cowboy even if he's dressed like one in this photo, according to wikipedia the Maverick cousins were all gamblers who travelled round the country getting into adventures, so maybe something like The Saint just in an earlier time and place?

    but interesting Roger Moore was so famous he already had his own comic book in the States before Connery made Dr No

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,698MI6 Agent
    edited May 2

    I don't remember ever watching 'Maverick' on network TV (though I do have vague memories of 'Gunsmoke').

    Nice find with that Dell cover. Moore already had, there, the look of 'the genial hero', which was to become, as well, his persona for his roles as Templar, Sinclair and Bond.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,698MI6 Agent
    edited May 3

    Spoilers

    I've now got as far as 'The Loaded Tourist' in Season 1 of The Saint (1: 5, Nov 62). The idea that the Saint is internationally famous, established in earlier episodes, is reinforced here, when an Italian policeman remarks that every officer in the world would recognise Templar. Templar apparently has the kind of in-world fame which, in the Bond films, it takes OO7 a little longer to acquire: it's not really until DAF that Bond's reputation precedes him widely ("You've just killed James Bond!"). And by AVTAK, if we take the implication of the San Franciscan police captain's sarcasm in any way seriously, Bond's name is as iconic, in-world, as the name Dick Tracy. Of course, in The Saint, it's the moments of recognition of Templar by all and sundry at the beginnings of episodes which cue the appearance of the halo above Roger Moore's head, a trademark signature as much anticipated, in its way, as the gunbarrel sequence in Bond.


    The episode 'The Careful Terrorist' (1: 3, Oct 62) has a morally dubious resolution, I feel, with Templar killing off the homicidal Grendel (Peter Dyneley) with some chicanery to do with bombs, and on the pretext of a self-indulgently sententious argument that he's allowed the villain to murder himself! (I always enjoyed seeing Dyneley in the odd flesh-and-blood role, by the way, having grown up listening to his voice work as Jeff Tracy in Gerry Anderson's 'Thunderbirds'.)


    Barbara Shelley graces the episode 'The Covetous Headsman' (1: 4, Oct 62) with rather staid good looks and perfect manners. It occurs to me that she would have been perfect casting as Miss Monepenny in 1962. (Not that Lois Maxwell wasn't wonderful, but an English accent like Barbara Shelley's might have better suited the part of M's secretary.)

    It's interesting that a "very young" Templar - as we learn in 'The Covetous Headsman' - had served courageously alongside the French Resistance during WW2, the comrade of an older hero, Louvois. Templar's moral indignation with the villain Olivant (George Pastell), who'd been a fifth columnist, once again breaks through his urbane charm. And picking up on that wartime backstory, the Olivant/ Louvois showdown at the end of the episode reminded me, a little, of the Kristatos/ Columbo antagonism in FYEO, a connection also suggested by Olivant's interactions with an annoying parrot and by the writers' use of a twist in terms of who finally kills him.

    George Pastell may be familiar as the train conductor in FRWL, an acquaintance of Kerim Bey's whose discretion can be relied on if he's slipped a few notes.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,698MI6 Agent
    edited May 3

    Spoilers

    Season 1's 'The Arrow Of God' (1: 7, Nov 62) is a real treat for Bond fans - even though the story is modelled more on Agatha Christie, with Templar assuming a Poirot-type role at a house party where one of the guests has been murdered. What makes the episode a treat, aside from its Nassau setting, is a supporting cast which includes Pussy Galore herself, Honor Blackman, and DN's own Professor Dent, Anthony Dawson.

    Dawson is superb as the obnoxious Floyd Vosper, an American gossip columnist who has enough dirt on everyone - excluding the Saint, of course - to give them possible motives for bumping him off. Dawson clearly relishes the part, playing it with a broad American accent and making the character seem oddly likeable despite his insulting rudeness to one and all.

    Part of what's amusing, with hindsight, is the contrast between Bond's/ Dent's interactions in DN and the Templar/ Vosper antagonism here, on TV. Templar comments to Lucy Wexall (Elspeth March) that someone should punch Vosper on the nose, while it's Lucy who remarks that someone should just kill him. DN's Bond, of course, would be much more in sympathy with Lucy's position, than with Moore's, when it comes to dealing with a sleazy Dawson character! Whereas the Saint has an extended conversation about ethics with the columnist, a cad he despises, Connery's Bond vengefully shoots Dent in cold blood.

    There's another nice little connection... When Vosper's murderer is exposed by Templar and grabs a gun, they pull the trigger on our hero but find the weapon isn't loaded; it clicks impotently. In DN, Dent has had his six, while in 'The Arrow of God' the tricked murderer of Vosper - the would-be killer of Templar - survives the scrape and ends up in the custody of Nassau's police.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent

    hey @Shady Tree and @Napoleon Plural did you guys ever watch any more saint episodes? I was enjoying your discussion!

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,713MI6 Agent

    They go out on Sundays on Talking Pictures at 6pm. But I tend to miss them, one I caught recently I felt I'd seen in a later one, it's where Templer conspired to teach a socialite and fiancé to his best friend (though in truth he never seems to have any) a lesson by prenteding to nick her money so they have to go on a cross country ramble, I felt I'd seen it done better when he did the same with a spoilt millionaire's wife in another episode.

    However, these episodes got repeated on Talking Pictures some time during the week, only these are a few weeks behind, a bit like they do with Secret Army.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent

    I think I know the two episodes you mean @Napoleon Plural !

    The Golden Journey (S1E10 December 6, 1962) is the one you just saw, where he forces the young lady to go on a ten day hike just because he doesnt like her attitude, he gives her a lesson in manners, and she becomes a better person for the experience. I gotta say Templar is a complete jerk in this one. Based on a Charteris story, which is more likable than the teevee episode, partially because its from her point of view and not played for laughs..

    The Queen's Ransom, (S5E01, originally September 30 1966) is I think the other one you mean. About a deposed monarch married to a movie starlet or something whom Templar has met before, and Templar is stuck with her while they travel to retrieve her stolen jewels. She fancies herself a Queen now and treats Templar like a servant, and he gives her a lesson in manners, and she becomes a better person for the experience. The character dynamics are similar and make up most of the episode. This is also the first episode not based on Charteris, so maybe they felt the need to borrow from an earlier episode?

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,713MI6 Agent

    Thanks, @caractacus potts yes that's it. I was mightily amused by the second episode when I saw it many decades ago, particularly the scene where the 'gallant' Templer offers to carry the spoilt Queen to the destination, no matter how far it is. The comedy is better and more comfortable, in fact the series by then was more comfortably generic, these early episodes seem a bit heavy going, though it's interesting to see Bond actors pop up in them, such as Anthony Dawson playing the usual slippery customer in one, but even then the way the plot unfolded seemed a bit much, the fun wasn't quite there.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
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