The Saint in the Sixties

chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

Yes, I know there are topics on The Saint already. However, this follows my [fairly] successful thread on Classic Doctor Who and will incorporate reviews of individual episodes of The Saint from the series’ debut in 1962 until its culmination seven years later. As the series is showing in the U.K. on Talking Pictures T.V., I am able to watch regularly, although my posts will not be. Here is the first half-dozen. Happy reading.

🙄 I guess it’s all about ego...

I certainly welcome discussion and feedback, even if it’s about my ego…

If nothing else, members might be able to use the thread as a sort of instore reference guide. For other reviews and responses on The Saint:

Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007  

Comments

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

    SEASON 1

    1962

    1: The Talented Husband

    W: Jack Sanders

    based on The Talented Husband by Leslie Charteris featured in The Saint Around the World (1956)

    D: Michael Truman

    S: Shirley Eaton, Derek Farr, Patricia Roc

    I am not over familiar with The Saint. When I was a kid, they never repeated it. We had Ian Olgilvy in The Return of the Saint, which I remember as being quite a chirpy show. In the early eighties there was a call for Olgilvy to follow in Sir Roger’s footsteps and replace him as OO7. At the time, I’d have given him a shout. I was also aware of the RKO Radio Picture series starring Louis Hayward and, mostly, George Sanders, which ran for several movies in the late thirties and early forties. They had titles like The Saint Strikes Back and The Saint in New York, and were mostly 65-minute support features. The final cinematic effort was a British production, The Saint’s Girl Friday, made by Hammer Pictures and starring the returning Louis Hayward.

    So, what to make of my first foray into the televisual monochrome world of The Saint? Well, first things first, I was really surprised by the opening scene. A crowded West End theatre. The audience has not been appreciative. Muted applause greets us as the camera sweeps the arena. Roger Moore avoids spilling his drink on a buxom lady, finds a small nook of safety, turns to the camera and says:

    “Thank heavens for English theatre bars. We've had two acts of this play, complete suffering both onstage and off. I don't know what your tastes are in theatre, maybe you like the sweat and the grunt school of acting. Me, I come to the theatre for fun, for laughs, for excitement.”

    This is a brilliant introduction. Not only is Roger Moore laying the ground for the episode, he’s outlining what the audience’s attitude should be towards The Saint: fun, adventure and excitement, and hopefully a few laughs. He’s accosted by an old friend, Madge Clarron, the director’s wife played with some aplomb by Patricia Roc, who was a big star in the forties, mostly in Gainsborough costume melodramas. The Saint blags his way through the encounter, but not before Madge introduces her husband to “Simon Templar”. Roger Moore inclines his face a smidge, looks heavenwards and an illuminated animated halo appears above his head. Cue Edwin Astley’s emboldened theme and swift cartoon credits.

    Marvellous stuff.

    I really enjoyed The Talented Husband. It’s not an espionage tale, but a little crime cat’s cradle. John Clarron [Derek Farr] has lived well, having received inheritance or insurance from his two previous wives; he’s currently married to a rich woman, but when she suffers an accident – brought about by his own clumsiness – suspicion falls on him. Could he be a serial murderer?

    Simon Templar arrives at sunny Cookham driving his snazzy little Volvo P1800, a new car in 1962 and competition for the E-Type Jag. This one’s got a personalised plate: ST1. Love it ! The Saint takes up residence at the Ferry pub, whose landlord, Mario, he knows from afar. There’s another great scene where Mario complains he’s never understood what his long-time friend does for a living.

    “I’m searching for personal fulfilment,” espouses Roger Moore, “but I won’t accept mine by proxy, that’s all. It’s very simple. I don’t want to be a cog in the machine. Being one of the millions of ants that devour the dragon is all very noble, but it’s not half as much fun as being Saint George… with an arm around a fair maiden.”

    Once again, the writers have neatly informed us who Templar is, what he’s about and how the show will entertain us. It’s so simple. Modern script writers should take note on how easy it is to develop enough character for an audience to accept what happens. As the show germinates, changes will probably occur, but this opening has already told me much of what I need to know about Simon Templar, the titular Saint, a real George to fight the dragons.

    This time out he’s even been given a fair maiden in the guise of Shirley Eaton’s sexy insurance agent Adrienne Halberd, who offers to buy him dinner, at her place, after Manhattans at Mario’s. It’s heavily suggested the Saint spends the night – we later see Adrienne laying breakfast for two – but the pair are in cahoots now, so maybe it was all platonic. Meanwhile, things are not looking good for the bedridden Madge…

    It's a cute little plot, based on one of Leslie Charteris’ short stories – all the early black and white episodes were adaptations of his published stories – and shows Templar not like a gangster busting avenger, which was rather how he was in those 1940s movies, but more a man of leisure who bends the law to meet his ends. For instance, he has a handy gadget for breaking into houses. There are a couple of diversionary tactics from the writer and director which keep us on our toes. Everyone plays it straight and with just the right touches of glee and seriousness. Derek Farr is particularly good, secretly desirous of the gorgeous Shirley Eaton, yet recognising he’s lost her to a younger man (Templar) and, worse, lost his touch as a theatre director. The eventual murderous revelation is expertly done. The young Sir Roger’s quite forceful when he needs to be.      

    The episode ends on a reluctant note of sombre reflection as Patricia Roc’s distraught Madge realises she still loves her errant husband. Only one question, not related to this excellent debut episode, but why was Shirley Eaton dubbed in Goldfinger when her voice is more than adequate, as heard here? 

    For other threads about The Saint in the sixties see:

    Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

    ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

    Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

    Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

    SEASON 1

    1962

    2: The Latin Touch

    W: Gerald Kelsey & Dick Sharples

    based on Rome: The Latin Touch by Leslie Charteris featured in The Saint in Europe (1953)

    D: John Gilling

    S: Alexander Knox, Doris Nolan, Warren Mitchell, Bill Nagy

    This second episode is perhaps more indicative of the type of adventure the series would aspire to as its run extended into the sixties. This time the Saint’s opening monologue is a reflection on the trials and tribulations of being a tourist in modern day Rome. As he lights a cigarette, Roger Moore’s eponymous hero overhears two American holidaymaker’s excited gossip: they’ve seen a celebrity, the famous Simon Templar. The white halo magically reappears.

    As a James Bond fan this is almost surreal as one of Sir Roger’s famous intimations about OO7 was that the character was idiotic to play, for as a spy or secret agent, it seems ridiculous that he can walk into a bar, restaurant, villain’s lair, etc, etc, and be recognised. Now, while I take his point, I think it is also fair to point out this only became a standard practice during his more laid-back tenure. Watching the opening scene of The Latin Touch suggests Moore’s opinion of James Bond may just have been tempered by years of playing the Saint who – very obviously in this 1960s television version – has exactly the same problem as Moore’s 1970s take on Bond.  

    Post-titles, Templar rescues a pretty young American [Susan Farmer, who later starred in a rash of Hammer productions] from an overcharging taxi driver and escorts her on a private tour of the Colosseum. Little does he know she’s about to be kidnapped and he’s about to become the prime suspect. Peter Illing’s Inspector Buono isn’t very cooperative and it takes a visiting U.S. State Governor to spring the Saint from gaol. Hudson Inverest is played with much stateliness by the experienced Alexander Knox – he once played Woodrow Wilson, so politicians are his staple. His wife is played by his real life partner Doris Nolan, so there’s a good emotional connection between them. It is the Inverest’s daughter, Sue, who has been kidnapped.

    The villain is Mafia Don Tony Unciello, played by Bill Nagy. He’s pretty good, menacing without resorting to caricature, although the scene where he scoffs a plate of spaghetti is dangerously close. He’s calm under pressure, smokes fat cigars, growls impatiently, flicks his chin with impunity, performs card tricks and displays all the necessary indicators of a powerful impudent crime boss. He even has a secret entrance to his private, splendidly furnished, gold-gilded salon, which seems to pre-empt the sort of thing we see in the Bond films.

    Templar comes to the aid of the helpless Governor and a hunt for clues across the city entails, usually involving Warren Mitchell’s amusing taximan, Marco di Cesari, who is an Italian Alf Garnett years before Till Death Us Do Part even aired. There’s plenty of red herrings to smother and a couple of neat double-crosses before we reach the satisfying climax.

    I enjoyed the scenes which involved the Saint chasing up the possible leads, hanging about at the embassy, the cafes, the nightclubs. Carole Simpson makes a brief impression as Unciello’s ex, Marie, who he’s scarred for life, but whose unwillingness to reveal any information places the first inklings of doubt in Templar’s mind. This scene again shows Moore’s rougher edges. It’s amazing how adaptable an actor he is when needed to be. Earlier, he reveals some empathy for the villain’s mother, whose tears of sadness for her errant sons are intercut neatly with the Governor’s wife’s cries of despair, two sides of the same coin indeed. Marie Burke elicits our sympathy.

    There are some excellent details in this scene. The Signora is wearing black, still in mourning for her husband; there is a Holy Virgin prayer icon hung on the wall; an Italian newspaper sits on the table. While details like this might pass the casual viewer by, they are hugely important to the overall impact and ‘feel’ of the episode; an intended audience is provided with an interpretational slice of contemporary Romanesque living, even if the film crew has never ventured beyond Borehamwood Studios. There is also some good intercut stock footage of Rome and a few stand-in shots are suitably realistic. While it might be filmed in Hertfordshire, the moment where Alexander Knox receives the ransom demand suggests all the heat and mugginess of a man under pressure in an Italian summer: the sun appears high and his face is browed with perspiration. The script doesn’t fail us either. When Templar finally confronts Unciello, he paraphrases the conversation with the Signora: “The meek shall inherit the earth.” Bill Nagy’s villain scoffs: “Only when the strong are through with it.”

    Overall, I enjoyed this episode. A quick check on IMDB [no barometer of taste or critique] provides some rather unencouraging reviews, but I reckon this is a fine example of The Saint from this period, swift, uncomplicated and with the hint of exotic danger. Very good. 

    For other threads about The Saint in the sixties see:

    Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

    ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

    Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

    Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

    SEASON 1

    1962

    3: The Careful Terrorist

    W: Gerald Kelsey & Dick Sharples

    based on The Careful Terrorist by Leslie Charteris featured in Thanks to the Saint (1957)

    D: John Ainsworth

    S: David Kossoff, Peter Dyneley, Sally Bazely, Percy Herbert

    After a bright start with the opening two episodes, The Saint suddenly looks very old-school with this rum do set in New York. Roger Moore’s opening monologue concerns where to eat the best omelettes – in New York or Normandy? Simon Templar’s associate, the investigative television journalist Lester Boyd is murdered after exposing the union boss Nat Grendel as a corrupt, exploitative official. Seeking honest revenge, the Saint takes up the crusading baton and takes on the might of the International Livery Union, a thinly disguised take on the Teamsters and Jimmy Hoffa.

    Not much happens here. The script is perfunctory at best and the direction betrays a studio bound mentality: during dialogue scenes almost every actor is framed face-on within a head and shoulders shot; occasionally John Ainsworth moves closer, but he’s very unimaginative. The resolution is an uncomfortable one.

    Sir Roger looks a bit out of his depth here, especially during the laboured sequences of broad humour which he’s forced to enact with his useless valet Hoppy Uniatz, played with no skill by Percy Herbert, a man who spends his spare time trying to educate himself by reading ‘gentlemen’s magazines’. The scene with most tension comes when the Saint visits Grendel in his office and plants a listening device, the dialogue has a pseudo-socio-intellectual bent that I rather enjoyed. Sir Roger and Peter Dyneley spar with some dexterity. The remainder of the adventure is straight forward and not very good.

    For other threads about The Saint in the sixties see:

    Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

    ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

    Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

    Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

    SEASON 1

    1962

    4: The Covetous Headsman

    W: John Roddick

    based on Paris: The Covetous Headsman by Leslie Charteris featured in The Saint in Europe (1953)

    D: Michael Truman

    S: Barbara Shelley, Eugene Deckers, George Pastell

    After the minor misstep of the previous episode, things get back on track with a solid yarn set in a neon lit Paris and featuring the accomplished Barbara Shelley as the damsel in distress. Simon Templar’s opening monologue takes place on a Pan Am flight from Idlewild to Paris Orly, he takes off his sunglasses, shows us his halo and meets the beautiful Valerie North who is returning to France to be reunited with her long-lost brother, Charles Briand.

    Meanwhile in Paris, Inspector Quercy is investigating a murder, a body abandoned in the River Seine, the body of Charles Briand. Eugene Deckers makes a convincing policeman, equipped with a limp, a non-nonsense attitude and a Parisian eye for the ladies. He gets on well with the Saint. Not so well with the spitting, bossy landlady Mme Duras [a cheeky cameo from Josephine Browne]. She’s got the police marked as dullards, the Saint as a charmer and Briand’s girlfriend as a brass with eternal pockets: “Glamour by gaslight” he mutters as Josie Claval sways past her on the stairs.

    The Saint suspects Georges Olivant of foul play. He claims to be an old friend of Virginia’s father, but after she is attacked in her hotel room, he pays a visit to Antoine, an old bookseller and former resistance fighter to discover the truth behind M. Olivant. A tense little game of cat and mouse evolves between the seedy Bal Noir night club, the back streets of night time Paris and the glossy mansion of Georges Olivant, a Nazi collaborator attempting to escape his past.

    George Pastell, always a safe pair of hands where villainy is concerned, is very good as Olivant and the clutch of supporting roles, by the likes of Browne, Carole Grey [Josie] and Esmont Knight [Antoine]. While the shoot never went to Paris, the establishing shots have flair and conjure up the excitement of foreign travel and trouble. Simon Templar admits it: “I never go anywhere with the intention of running into trouble, but somehow trouble has the disastrous propensity to run into me.”

    On a point of time, Antoine says the Saint served him well during the resistance, although he was very young; so assuming Simon Templar took part in the resistance movement from the off, that would put him at possibly sixteen in 1940, although he may have been younger. So, twenty-two years on, that makes the Saint approximately thirty-eight, older than Sir Roger at this point in time. It’s not overly important, although hanging specific histories onto characters is always likely to date them even in the short term.

    A good if humourless episode.

    For other threads about The Saint in the sixties see:

    Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

    ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

    Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

    Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007       

      

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

    SEASON 1

    1962

    5: The Loaded Tourist

    W: Richard Harris

    based on Lucerne: The Loaded Tourist by Leslie Charteris featured in The Saint in Europe (1953)

    D: Jeremy Summers

    S: Barbara Bates, Guy Deghy, Joseph Culy

    This one starts in Rome, where Simon Templar was a couple of weeks ago. You’d think they could get the continuity right. He also becomes involved with the passenger who sits next to him on a plane again, just as he did in an earlier episode. The monologue is a riff about Italian customs and excise.

    The episode continues in Geneva where Phillippe Ravenna is trying to fence some jewels to provide a healthy start to a new life in New York for his family: a stroppy teenage son and an indifferent second wife. The Saint has met the son, Alfredo, and tried to reassure him that America is a pretty damn good place, but the young scamp’s having none of it. Joseph Cuby overplays his acting hand as the young tearaway. Barbara Bates as his step mother is similarly badly disposed. The most interesting turn is Guy Deghy’s shifty police inspector Oscar Kleinhaus.

    The plot is a trifle complicated and the Saint’s game of chance in resolving it is rather elementary. Andrew Sachs, over a decade before Fawlty Towers, does a passable version of a conspiring hotel concierge which looks startlingly familiar. There’s a few production gaffes: after being turned over by a burglar, Templar’s hotel room gets tidied quicker than you can make a jam sandwich; the melodramatic incidental music is hilarious; the Saint carries a gun when I thought he mentioned in an earlier story that he never used one; a policeman’s claim that every officer knows the face of Simon Templar just seems ridiculous; the Saint is knocked out by a rock big enough to kill him; a missing briefcase cannot be found by the police, but Alfredo discovers it in seconds; the picture postcard establishing shots of Rome and Geneva are fabulous, but there isn’t much anyone can do about the badly painted backdrop outside the hotel windows.

    Ah, well, it passed the time. 

    For other threads about The Saint in the sixties see:

    Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

    ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

    Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

    Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007  

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

    good stuff @chrisno1 its not ego, its talking about cool vintage tv shows with your likeminded buddies who share the same tastes!

    I like that you're telling us the Charteris source material for each story, where did you find that info?

    I also like the two complete quotes from the first episode ever. Not many seem to like that episode, but those quotes are a statement of purpose suited to an introductory episode. I'd forgotten about the first one at the theatre, it reminds me a bit of the opening of The Fiction Makers

    the character of Hoppy is odd, as he seems so out-of-place in Templar's world, and his presence is not explained and he never returns. I gather he was a regular character in the books of the late 30s and 40s, when Charteris relocated Templar to the States. He would have replaced Orace, Templar's servant/assistant when he was based in London. We can also see Hoppy in the Saint comic books of the late 40s published by Avon. The series does a mostly good job of picking up from Charteris's final version of the Saint, as a globetrotter eternally on the move traveling alone and making that consistent, but as they adapt Charteris stories going further back it seems sometimes there are vestiges of those earlier versions that stick out.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 4,762MI6 Agent

    The first episode is excellent and Roger slips into his role very easily. I enjoyed the b/w episodes very much, they capture the 60’s moment so well.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

    SEASON 1

    1962

    6: The Arrow of God

    W: Julian Bond

    based on Nassau: The Arrow of God by Leslie Charteris featured in The Saint on the Spanish Main  (1955)

    D: Paddy John Carstairs

    S: Honor Blackman, Anthony Dawson

    “Come to Nassau,” recites the Saint, “That’s what it says and I like it. And it is sensational. Swimming, sailing, the perfect climate, beautiful girls: everything.”

    That’s Simon Templar’s advert for the Bahamas. After delivering this monologue, he proceeds to dent the reputation of the world’s nastiest gossip columnist Floyd Vosper, who keeps a dossier on every celebrity in the world: even Simon Templar, although his card only reads: ‘needs thorough investigation.’ Vosper is invited to the same ghastly dinner party as the Saint and rubs everyone up the wrong way with his non-stop tirade of sophisticated, intellectual abuse. Everyone has a motive to kill him and when Vosper meets an untimely death, it serves as the prelude to an Agatha Christie style reveal, orchestrated by yours truly in truly grim style.

    This is a dreadful episode, very slapdash production-wise and badly acted all-round. Script isn’t up to much and the direction is lame. There is no joy in this.

    Chief reason for watching is to see a future James Bond acting with two of the franchises forerunning co-stars. Anthony Dawson, from Dr No, plays the vicious pen-smith Vosper and Honor Blackman, before Goldfinger and even before The Avengers is a blonde caught in a love triangle.


    For other threads about The Saint in the sixties see:

    Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

    ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

    Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

    Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

    SEASON 1

    1962

    7: The Pearls of Power

    W: Richard Harris

    based on The Pearls of Power by Leslie Charteris featured in Senor Saint (1958)

    D: David Greene

    S: Erica Rogers, Dina Paisner, Bob Kantor

    A nice establishing shot of the Chrysler Building lets us know we are in New York. Simon Templar at least has the same apartment as he did in The Careful Terrorist, although he appears to have lost the annoying valet. Instead he’s studying pearls and rapping on the history of oysters. The script writers appear to have already run out of neat ways to mangle in the “Are you the Saint?” line as this time it’s provided by a postman.

    The first third of the story is in flashback, telling how a mate of Simon Templar’s got involved with a con man and wasted $11000. An exciting street brawl climaxes this section. Then we’re on a hot little trip to San Domingo, Mexico, where said con man’s ex-lover hopes to get reimbursed on her investment, the Saint in tow to ensure she isn’t ripped off again.

    Erica Rogers makes a saucy Joss Hendry and there’s a lovely line for Roger Moore to deliver when she tries to seduce our hero: “Don’t get too close, I might need to touch you and you’re so brittle you might break” – this after she moaned about skinning a fingernail. The episode doesn’t do much. It’s a pleasant little number, nicely designed and with steady performances. The Hotel Perla sees dramatic improvements in three years, turning from a fleapit into a plush five star establishment. The Cantina del Flores stays fleapit.

    This is a story of the heart and as such it ends happily.

    For other threads about The Saint in the sixties see:

    Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

    ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

    Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

    Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

    SEASON 1

    1962

    8: The Element of Doubt

    W: Norman Borisoff

    based on The Element of Doubt by Leslie Charteris featured in The Saint to the Rescue (1959)

    D: John Ainsworth

    S: David Bauer, Bill Nagy, Maggie Vines, Anita West

    Simon Templar barely features in the first two thirds of this episode, instead the floor is given over to court case involving the shady businessman Joe Sholto and his crooked lawyer Carlton Rood. Bill Nagy (already back again) and David Bauer are both suitably unpleasant in their respective roles.

    The opening gambit sees an arson attack on a warehouse which turns into a deadly inferno, some scenes of quite terrifying depth for 1962. I was genuinely sacred for poor Mrs Yarrow [Maggie Vines] who gets abandoned inside the burning building. Later, as a now blind witness, she’s frightened half-to-death again by Carlton Rood. I’ll gloss over the terrible plot hole in court / justice procedure which doesn’t give her, as a witness, ample opportunity to identify her attacker. There’s a lot of good acting here and the tension is ranked up at several points along the journey.

    Sholto appears to be on the verge of a million-dollar land sale agreement, but he’s also making insurance fraud and making a hash of it. Insurance investigator Mary Hammond turns up in the pretty guise of Anita West, catching the police off-guard: “Well, Lieutenant,” she smiles with beautiful decorum, “your badge isn’t showing either.” A neat way to assert her credentials and her superiority without resorting to endless feminist validations. [Perhaps I shouldn’t have written that, but sometimes modern writers seem unable to understand how real people interact verbally; this is a great example of an economy of words and tells us much about both characters in a simple two sentence exchange. Purvis and Wade could learn a lot watching shows like this, methinks.]

    The case goes downhill a little once Sholto gets off the hook and the Saint decides to right some wrongs by doing a little undercover and blackmail work of his own, acting as he calls it “a catalytic agent” for good. The New York police really don’t like him. As the Lieutenant so succinctly puts it: “He acts as if the law is designed for his own private amusement.” Which rather lines the Saint up with his own nemesis Carlton Rood.

    Not much Saint stuff then, but a pleasant little number with a couple of shocks, good performances and a speedy conclusion.


    For other threads about The Saint in the sixties see:

    Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

    ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

    Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

    Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

    SEASON 1

    1962

    9: The Effete Angler

    W: Norman Borisoff

    based on Bimini: The Effete Angler by Leslie Charteris featured in The Saint on the Spanish Main (1955)

    D: Anthony Bushell

    S: Shirley Eaton, George Pravda, Patrick McAllinary, Paul Stassino

    A little smuggling affair run by a quartet of incompetents between Nassau and Miami. Simon Templar thwarts it with the minimum of fuss.

    Ticking all the boxes, this episode hints at the exotic, the exciting and the brazenly sexual: “I have a husband in Bimini,” whispers Shirley Eaton’s gorgeously provocative Gloria Uckrose before delivering a breathy kiss to Sir Roger Moore; “I’m broadminded,” he replies, barely a surprise, having earlier spied her prancing along the harbourside in a bikini and then seducing her with the promise of “An early dinner and a late night.” Smouldering isn’t the half of it.

    I was surprised to see our Shirley make a second appearance so quickly after the first. Given I am also watching these week-by-week, much as an original 1962 T.V. audience would, I’m fairly certain they would also have recalled she played a delectable insurance agent in the season’s curtain raiser. Apparently Leslie Charteris’ original short story was one of his most sexually explicit, although what that means I will have to leave to imaginations. As they did in The Talented Husband, Moore and Eaton play off each other wonderfully well.

    Aside from the sizzling Miss Eaton, Paul Stassino [another of ours, from Thunderball] makes a shifty and impetuous heavy, while George Pravda – always a decent villain – winds up his own ulcers as the brains behind the operation, Clinton Uckrose. Whether he’s ever been in love with his wife remains open to our interpretation. Edwin Astley’s musical accompaniment conjures the relaxed air of the Florida Keys and its exclusive hotels.

    There’s not much going on here, but it’s a pleasant enough trip, unless you’re a marlin on a fishing line. 


    For other threads about The Saint in the sixties see:

    Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

    ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

    Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

    Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

    After a brief respite, I return with the remainder of season one:

    SEASON 1

    1962

    10: The Golden Journey

    W: Lewis Davidson

    based on Tirol: the Golden Journey by Leslie Charteris featured in The Saint in Europe (1953)

    D: Robert S. Baker

    S: Erica Rogers

    Relocated to the Costa Brava from Leslie Charteris original Austrian setting, a smug Simon Templar attempts to reform a spoilt rich bitch in time for her to marry his best friend. Erica Rogers plays almost exactly the same role as she did in The Pearls of Power [episode 7], only with a shade of humility. A stupid story with stupid exposition. Barely memorable. Intensely unwatchable.  


    For other threads about The Saint in the sixties see:

    Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

    ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

    Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

    Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

    SEASON 1

    1962

    11: The Man Who Was Lucky

    W: John Gilling

    based on The Man Who Was Lucky by Leslie Charteris featured in The Happy Highwayman (1939)

    D: John Gilling

    S: Eddie Byrne, Delphi Lawrence, Vera Day, Harry Towb, Campbell Singer

    Most of the adaptations for Season 1 of The Saint have come from the ‘international’ period of Leslie Charteris’ writings, when Simon Templar became a sort of globe-trotting Robin Hood style freelance operator. This adventure comes from Templar’s first incarnation as a wealthy English adventurer come crime buster who runs rings around shady villains as well as the Inspectors of Scotland Yard. The literary version of The Man Who Was Lucky featured in Charteris’ first short story collection The Happy Highwayman and is the last London set adventures for several years as, after its publication, Charteris relocated his hero to the U.S.A.

    However, the1962 television adaptation achieves something which none of the other episodes so far have, which is to remind me of the old RKO 1940s B-movie series. Most importantly, the story is set amongst the seedy underbelly of society. The Saint kicks off his monologue at White City dog track, where he observes the underworld boss ‘Lucky’ Joe Luckner, a villain who operates a protection racket off the bookmakers at the track as well as running a Soho bar populated with pimps and prostitutes. One of these is the aging Cora, played by Delphi Lawrence, who drinks too much, is the object of her bosses unwanted attention and despairs of ever escaping a life of drudgery. Her beau is the bookmaker Marty O’Connor, a man intent on going straight, but whose enterprise has come under the radar of Lucky Joe, who is now demanding his cut of the race monies. When Marty’s partner is killed, rather than call the police, he and Cora attempt to flee to Ireland. Unluckily for Lucky Joe, the Saint is an old friend of Marty and he hatches a plan to foil the gangsters and get Marty and Cora on that plane to Dublin.

    This is brilliant, sleazy little number, packed full off delicious characters who have either the impetuousness, anger and outright savagery of the idle, entitled, illicitly deserved wealthy or the despair, the anxiety, the unambitious care-worn ugliness of perpetual debt and fear. Eddie Byrne makes a first rate Lucky Joe, all bawling, brawling testosterone. He talks with his fists. Violence is second nature to him. When he learns Cora has been sweet with Marty, murder is immediately on his mind. When one of his prostitutes won’t talk, he decides to slap her around. He’s equally uncouth with his henchmen, short in word and deed. His anger explodes in fits of vicious energy. When confronted with the police, he’s charm and razzle-dazzle. He’s extremely believable as a manipulative, plain talking and bleakly obvious gang boss, who has just enough subtlety to wriggle himself out of harm’s way.

    Delphi Lawrence exhibits plenty of honesty in persuading her man they must flee. She knows Lucky Joe’s reputation, has seen it in action and persuades him to go to ground, for her sake, for their future. Marty reluctantly agrees. Harry Towb adequately affects his disheartened decision. He has a criminal record; he knows how it will look if he skips the country; but he also knows the wrath of Lucky Joe. In fact so too does the audience: Lucky’s rampaging hoods destruct Bailey & O’Connor’s smart offices and the boss man himself delivers the blows which deal death to Jim Bailey.

    [The offices appear to be on the dogleg of the King’s Road, just down from Beaufort Street, but I might be wrong. We see the Saint’s white Volvo 1800 make a turn there. Later on the action moves to a hotel on the Kingston bypass, but it’s probably any old Ind Coope pub near Elstree Studios.]

    The Saint arrives too late. He’s warned off by Chief-Inspect Claud Eustace Teal of Scotland Yard, a character who regularly appeared in Charteris’ London based novels and is treated much better here than that other regular stalwart Hoppy Uniatz [see my review of The Careful Terrorist]. Campbell Singer impersonates the role and Roger Moore treats him with some mocking respect, a little how Hercule Poirot condescends to Inspector Lestrade in those Agatha Christie whodunits.

    Writer / director John Gilling’s got the balance of character, danger and comedy about right and this aids our enjoyment immensely. He’s got pedigree, having made a couple of Victor Mature movies for Warwick Films, the Irwin Allen / Albert R. Broccoli production company. There’s a couple of beautiful exchanges between Roger Moore and Vera Day’s Jane, a goodtime girl out to snare a man while working as a brass at the bar on Lucky’s payroll. I was reminded of Moore’s ability to play softly a suitor, being suave, sophisticated, understanding and calm, he makes the role of an unthreatening, but challenging lover palpably real. It was familiar from the [in]famous quiche-cooking scene in A View To A Kill, which is also notable for Moore’s Bond not sleeping with the heroine; he’s out of his luck as Templar too, although by the end Jane appears to have had a change of heart. Moore cajoles a good performance from Day, which speaks volumes of his own abilities as a generous co-star.

    A very good episode which does a firmer job of reinventing and updating Charteris’ original adventures for the 1960s while not forgetting where his hero originated from, a sneaky, gutter level enterprising near felon with a heart of a guardian angel – hence the halo. 


    For other threads about The Saint in the sixties see:

    Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

    ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

    Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

    Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,062MI6 Agent

    SEASON 1

    1962

    12: The Charitable Countess

    W: Gerald Kelsey & Dick Sharples

    based on The Charitable Countess by Leslie Charteris featured in The Happy Highwayman (1939)

    D: Jeremy Summers

    S: Patricia Donahue, Nigel Davenport, Warren Mitchell, Philip Needs

    Relocated from Leslie Charteris’ original London setting to the more exotic landscape of Rome, Simon Templar remakes the acquaintance of the irate Italian taxi driver Marco de Cesari while befriending a gang of piccolo banditos and fooling a popular society Countess into donating a vast sum of money to a homeless foundation.

    This episode is all about fame and fortune and reputation. As the Saint says in his preamble: “Society is the same the world over. You’re ‘in’ if you’re either famous, rich, talented, aristocratic or notorious.” The latter, of course, applies to Simon Templar, darling of the jet set, scourge of police forces the world over and a thorn in the side of any gangster or skuldugger that crosses his path. Here, having attended a charity ball hosted by the ingratiating Countess Rovagna and her dolesome playmate Aldo Petri [Patricia Donahue and Nigel Davenport wonderfully over playing their cards yet still managing to keep straight faces, as does Roger Moore] the Saint has the [mis]fortune to run into Marco de Cesari [Warren Mitchell, returning from The Latin Touch, and marvellous again] who has the equal [mis]fortune to run over a young street thief, Franco. The Saint takes pity on the poor lad, invites him into his flat, gives him a bath, a bed, a breakfast and takes him to Father Bellini’s orphanage, where he learns that the donations received by the foundation from the Countess’ ball are a few thousand dollars short. Conscience pricked, the Saint makes a bet with the Countess that he can’t steal her $25000 necklace, which he intends to donate to the charity.

    There’s a host of lovely performances in this adventure. Notably from Sir Roger, once more sparring excellently with Warren Mitchell, including simple little actions such as turning Mitchell’s head to face the road in the car. Sample dialogue:

    Marco: “He’s a thief! Now he’s here, he’ll stay. Thirty years from now he’ll take your women, your money, everything!”

    Templar: “Thirty years from now, he’s welcome to it.”

    Mitchell’s equally good swapping cheerful lines with the homeless little Artful Dodger. Philip Needs is enthusiastic as the leader of a whole gang of Artful’s, like some teenage Fagin, showing favouritism, gall and bravery. He even has a code of socialist ethics which he can’t break, refusing to stay at the Bellini Foundation unless all his troop accompany him, girls included. As every hot blooded Italian lad knows, you don’t send your favourite squeeze to the convent!

    Sir Roger dons an elegant white tie and tails and has two very long speeches to deliver. One cuts near the knuckle describing Maggie Oakes’ rise to glory from stripper to sugar baby to swindler of the rich and famous. The other evokes our charitable sympathy, so much so, and so pleasantly does the episode resolve itself, I wondered if I wasn’t watching a Christmas special. I looked it up and the episode’s original transmission was 20/12/1962, so yes then, a little seasonal cheer from the producers of The Saint.

    It's a good little adventure which, like the previous episode, feels more like the sort of naughty escapade the Saint would have gotten mixed up with in Charteris’ early books. I can’t say how faithful this is to the original, but the Saint’s more devil-may-care attitude, blended with the Robin Hood antics of a jewel heist followed by a philanthropic donation to the poor feels like a role Roger Moore would endeavour to play and play well. He does.

    Overall, the opening season of The Saint shows much promise. I enjoyed most of the adventures, found the supporting acts, the production values and the performances generally agreeable and wasn’t perturbed by the odd lapse in continuity or logic. The writing comes and goes, as does the direction. You do get the impression the shooting schedule was probably about twelve to sixteen weeks, an episode a week basically, and was designed to showcase its star and some exotic looking locales, even though the cameras never left Elstree the stock footage was good enough to make you feel they might have done. Given the brevity of the original 1930s and 1940s movies and the fact most of these episodes were adapted from short stories, the fifty minute format dresses the suit very well indeed. The occasional misstep can be excused in the early days of a show and given how well the series was received, how well it stands up today, I’m willing to bet there was a lot of anticipation for its return in the autumn of 1963. If James Bond was starting to rule the cinematic world in the fall of ’62, I feel pretty certain that The Saint was soon ruling the roost on television.         


    For other threads about The Saint in the sixties see:

    Recommend "The Saint" or not? — ajb007

    ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint — ajb007

    Roger Moore and The Saint Series — ajb007

    Leslie Charteris's The Saint/Simon Templar Discussion Thread — ajb007  

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 4,762MI6 Agent

    Excellent summary @chrisno1 I’m enjoying these reviews.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
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