Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread

Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,614MI6 Agent
edited December 2019 in Off Topic Chat
I see that we have no thread here on AJB dedicated to the literary works of Leslie Charteris (1907-1993), creator of The Saint, Simon Templar. I have to admit that I was rather surprised by this and so I decided I would start a thread on him and his famous creation as opposed to a thread on the TV series, the films, the radio and comic strip adaptations. These can be discussed here too in relation to their literary counterparts to see how faithful (or otherwise) they actually are to their source material.

Anyway, here's a story of how my interest in Leslie Charteris and The Saint was rekindled:

I recently bought a whole cache (about 40 titles) of Leslie Charteris' 'The Saint' vintage paperbacks from my local Tesco charity book stand. Someone must have donated an old collection. It reignited my interest in 'The Saint' and nearly completed my collection - I had a few books before this bought at different times in bookshops and charity shops. I'll try to post a picture of all the novels at some point...

So, to get things moving along in this thread, I'd love to know if there are any of fans of Charteris and The Saint on AJB? There are obvious parallels with James Bond, but I don't have to tell you lot that!
"The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).

Comments

  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    I haven't read any of The Saint stories in years. I've read many of them, as I used to buy them from
    Markets etc, when I was first trying to find all the Bond books. " A modern day Robin Hood" . I enjoyed
    Them a lot. I think Charteris complained that Fleming had "borrowed" his character for Bond.
    I think the TV series with Sir Roger used the stories at first but quickly had to get permission to write
    New original adventures as the series was so popular. Sir Roger used his own car for the show ( Volvo p1800 )
    Or rather he had just bought one and they offered another for the series. :D
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,614MI6 Agent
    Thank you for that contribution, TP. Much appreciated!
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 3,905MI6 Agent
    I have not read any Saint books for decades. The ones I did were always decent stories. I sold many hundreds during my career and some of them were rare editions and achieved some good prices.

    I had the dvd sets before I emigrated and in one episode is the same Aston Martin used in GF sporting the same number plate BMT 216A.
    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • OakvaleOakvale Pennsylvania Posts: 155MI6 Agent
    Great novellas and great television series. Moore was Simon Templar just as Connery was James Bond, and it was nice to see Moore get comfortable as the series went on, even if it all did get a bit formulaic by the time they got to colour. Still great, though.

    Ian Ogilvy brought something new to the character and I enjoyed him as well, it's just a shame he couldn't have had a few more seasons himself. There was some solid potential to that.

    I almost wish Brosnan would have been able to play Templar in that movie that Moore was trying to get made in the mid-80s. He would have been great in that.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,064MI6 Agent
    Agreed, Brosnan might have been better as The Saint than as Bond, so long as he was cast young enough.

    I loved reading the books, like TP I picked them up while trawling for Bond titles. The writing as more elegant, less sadistic than Fleming and a lot more humorous. The Saint Around The World, made up of short stories, I particularly liked.

    The books began in the 1930s if I recall, and owe something to Agatha Christie or Somerset Maughan even.

    I tried to watch The Fiction Makers on London Live on Sat night, it's a Roger Moore as the Saint thing, not sure if it was a film or episodes spliced together, but after the Saul Bass Pink Panther style credits it was deadly dull, like a poor Avengers episode.

    I think in his day Dirk Bogarde would have made an excellent Saint, as maybe Hugh Grant might have if played more like his character in About A Boy. Though both actors tended to need others to bounce off, and can't quite carry a film by themselves.

    I too liked Ian Ogilvy but the series was cancelled as it cost too much, unlike the Moore vehicles they really did film abroad.

    Other, subsequent incumbents are hardly worth mentioning.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    I don't know if this was an urban myth or true, but apparently. They were only
    going to make one series of The return of the saint, but because they had to
    pay out so much protection money to the Mafia, that a second series had to be
    filmed " Back to Back" to make any money ? :))
    It also had the same car continuity, as it was a white KJS, both here and in Europe
    but it had a totally different colour of trim in Europe to the UK model. ;) The new
    Avengers had the same treatment from BL, with different cars being delivered on
    set.
    The Saint is a fantastic character, why it hasn't been pick up for a new outing, I'll never know.
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • OakvaleOakvale Pennsylvania Posts: 155MI6 Agent
    The Saint is a fantastic character, why it hasn't been pick up for a new outing, I'll never know.

    I'm sure The Saint could work in a modern world, but there is a certain charm to it in the 60s and 70s that would be hard to recreate. When they tried to make it again with Simon Dutton and later for that pilot on CBS with Andrew Clarke, it just didn't work. I'm sure a proper actor could be found and a decent series could be made, but it won't come easily.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    A character, who's not all good ( he has plenty of criminal friends) but still fights the bad guys,
    Saves the girl. All with a touch of humour. There must still be a market for that. Reminded me
    Of an Interview with Ian Ogilvy , he said everyone in Italy kept asking him if he was impersonating
    Roger Moore ! :))
    and we all know Alan Partridge was a fan .
    https://youtu.be/XEk9MvNPdek
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Smithers500Smithers500 Spectre IslandPosts: 1,029MI6 Agent
    There was a pilot for a new series with Roger and Ian making cameo appearances. I seem to recall Roger's son Geoffrey was producing this? Presumably this didn't get picked up. I suppose there is so much quality on TV nowadays like X Factor there is no call for such a series... ?:)
    Japanese proverb say, "Bird never make nest in bare tree".
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    I recently started to watch a couple of new TV shows " Lethal weapon" and " Hooten and the lady" so
    Possibly humourous/action programmes may be coming back ?
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,614MI6 Agent
    I recently started to watch a couple of new TV shows " Lethal weapon" and " Hooten and the lady" so
    Possibly humourous/action programmes may be coming back ?

    Here's hoping, TP. -{
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • IanTIanT Posts: 567MI6 Agent
    I grew up on Return of the Saint and I have to say that it was pretty good stuff at the time. I think Ian Ogilvy was brilliant in the role and I loved the XJS but continuity was sometimes off. I vaguely remember the car switching from a black interior to a tan interior but so what.

    It's a shame it didn't continue.

    My interest in the Saint got reignited with the Val Kilmer film and I thought that it was an interesting direction for the character to take, having him as a master criminal who used his skills for good.

    I believe that in the original series with Roger Moore they wanted the Saint to rock up in a Jaguar E Type but Jag wouldn't give them one so they went to the Volvo. When Return of the Saint happened BL were quick to plug their vehicles and offered up the XJS straight away. The Kilmer film was an opportunity to showcase the new C90 and provide a nod to the old series, as was the cameo by Roger Moore.

    As for the books, I could never really get into them.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,064MI6 Agent
    I did like Ian Ogilvy's Saint, but recently realised he bore a certain resemblance to a rather naff TV presenter:

    article-1160323-03C89F69000005DC-274_468x433.jpg
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Sir MilesSir Miles The Wrong Side Of The WardrobePosts: 25,206Chief of Staff
    I did like Ian Ogilvy's Saint, but recently realised he bore a certain resemblance to a rather naff TV presenter:

    article-1160323-03C89F69000005DC-274_468x433.jpg

    I don't think he looks anything like Judy Finnigan ;%
    YNWA 96
  • OakvaleOakvale Pennsylvania Posts: 155MI6 Agent
    Ian Ogilvy bears a strong resemblance to Roger Moore.
  • IanTIanT Posts: 567MI6 Agent
    I think that was the plan.

    Ian Ogilvy was also considered to take over Bond after Moore too
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,614MI6 Agent
    Yes, on both counts. Ian Ogilvy is an author himself now.
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • OakvaleOakvale Pennsylvania Posts: 155MI6 Agent
    IanT wrote:
    I think that was the plan.

    Ian Ogilvy was also considered to take over Bond after Moore too

    That would have been interesting. I could really see him fitting for AVTAK.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,290MI6 Agent
    I read a few of Charteris's books recently
    its daunting when theres several dozen books in a series, and theyre all out of print, and theres hardly any used bookstores anymore
    but I managed to find the earliest ones so I could start with those

    at first I had issues with The Saint's manner of speaking,: when he speaks to the the villains he's not just taunting but emasculating them, always calling them "dear thing" before breaking their noses, I don't recall Moore talking lot that in the teevee show
    but when I finally found a copy of volume 1: The Saint Meets the Tiger, Charteris actually explains that: Templar's strategy is to always control the conversation, to constantly leave the bad guy on the defensive and confused ... too bad the first book is the hardest to find then because it explains some of the odder aspects of his character ... in the introductions Charteris always regrets how the early books have dated and wishes he could modernise them, and I gather the first one really bugs him (its set in a Devon fishing village functionally cut off from the outside world, in 1929, before automobiles and telephones were ubiquitous outside the city ... today the same village is probably full of yuppies who commute to London every morning)

    btw, first ever episode of the teevee series I ever watched was probably the last made, Vendetta for the Saint, set in Sicily: the leading lady is the lovely Aimee McDonald, from At Last the 1948 Show! bonus points for the Python connection, and she still talks like a helium balloon even when she 's doing a dramatic role
  • philpogphilpog Posts: 51MI6 Agent
    I read a handful of the Saint books.

    My favorite is probably The Saint in New York, an unusually violent and cynical entry in the series. I'm also quite fond of She Was a Lady a.k.a. Angels of Doom, in which the Saint helps the daughter of a disgraced police inspector get revenge on the men responsible for framing her father. Both of the film adaptations of these books, The Saint in New York and The Saint Strikes Back, are worth checking out.

    I like the radio programs quite a bit -- and Vincent Price was in many ways the perfect Saint -- but Leslie Charteris had nothing to do with them beyond getting a credit and collecting a fee.
  • Hoppy UniatzHoppy Uniatz Posts: 1MI6 Agent
    I read a few of Charteris's books recently
    its daunting when theres several dozen books in a series, and theyre all out of print,
    For info 36 of them have been back in print in the UK for a few years now, 49 of them are back in print in the USA.
  • chris20131989chris20131989 Posts: 13MI6 Agent
    I actually prefer The Saint/Simon Templar instead of James Bond nowadays and feel the Bond series/franchise has lost its credibility as explained when I first joined this forum 2 years ago.

    I don't think it was fair that Sean Connery wasn't allowed the opportunity to play Simon Templar/The Saint in the 1970s/1980s also - He could have done the 1970s series instead of Ian Ogilvy OR had a brand new series in the 1980s with Sean Connery also, probably called "The Return Of The Saint 2" with a Silver OR Grey coloured car.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,055Chief of Staff
    Sean Connery would not have done a TV series in the 70s/80s, even if they could have afforded him.
  • chris20131989chris20131989 Posts: 13MI6 Agent
    Barbel wrote:
    Sean Connery would not have done a TV series in the 70s/80s, even if they could have afforded him.

    Maybe, which also brings about the same question as such of why Roger Moore was allowed to do the series in the 1960s.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,055Chief of Staff
    That's because Moore in the 60s was not a major film star. Connery in the 70s was.
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