The Saint in the Sixties

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  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1964

    6: The Saint Steps In

    W: John Kruse

    based on The Saint Steps In by Leslie Charteris (1942)

    D: John Gilling

    S: Justine Lord, Geoffrey Keen, Pater Vaughn, Annette Andre, Ed Bishop

    Condensing a complete novel into a fifty minute television episode is fraught with problems and this over simplified adventure shows many of the pitfalls, most notably the lack of character development and the condensed narrative which takes place over a couple of days when one feels it should be playing out across a couple of weeks.

    The Saint is in London and he’s accosted by Madeleine Grey, who produces a note whose contents threaten to kidnap her father if she attends a meeting with the industrialist Hobart Quennel. At first the Saint believes she’s a stooge for a couple of well-to-do’s who have recognised him in the hotel bar, so he brushes her off. After recognising his mistake, and realising he’s put young Madeleine in danger, Templar hot steps it in pursuit. He rescues the damsel, but is surprised to find Hobart Quennel is not at home and was not expecting Miss Grey. Instead his assistant Walter Devan [Peter Vaughn] seems to be stalking or misdirecting Miss Grey. Intrigued, the Saint takes her for dinner and decides her story is for real. Her father, Professor Calvin Grey has developed a new fibre – Process G – which will revolutionise the rubber industry. Quennel’s firm has tried to suppress it, but he appears oblivious to the scam lab tests carried out by his own firm. He’s equally unaware that an American competitor, Cy Imberline [Ed Bishop, returning quickly from last week] has arrived to bid for the patent.

    The Saint returns late at night and now finds Quennel at home and sparring with his bored nymphomaniac daughter, Andrea, who takes an instant shine to Simon Templar and follows him around London attempting to seduce him quicker than she can say “champagne.” Justine Lord, back from The Bunco Artists and The Saint Plays with Fire [Season 2, ep 11 & 14] is saddled with playing another slinky little sexpot, but it’s a role she seems to take to very efficiently. Justine Lord is rapidly turning into my favourite guest star. Her scenes with Roger Moore are all sleazy sexiness, as she drapes herself across his shoulders and lips and whispers naughty double-entendres. Like Connery’s Bond in Dr No, Moore’s Templar feels compelled to check his watch before delivering a full-on lip-smacking kiss. Unlike OO7, the Saint is caught with his trousers almost down, courtesy of an unlocked door and a very worried Madeleine. Annette Andre makes a passable dash at the frightened daughter, but the problem the director – and the actresses – have is they both look the same, so it’s difficult to tell who is who. It's enough to say that both women get treated fairly badly. Madeleine is forcibly kidnapped and Andrea gets the rough side of her Dad’s fist. It is no surprise the latter turns the tables on her scheming Papa.

    Interestingly, Quennel is played by Geoffrey Keen, who would fill out the role of Minister of Defence in several Bond films. His MOD, Frederick Grey, was a sort of substitute or additional M. When you see how he interacts with Roger Moore, and how he attempts to act with superiority even when the façade is slipping, you wonder if he might have been a better replacement for Bernard Lee than the rather low key Robert Brown. There’s another James Bond reference when the Saint hooks up a deadly trap: a homemade attempt to electrocute his prison guards. This episode came hot on the heels of Goldfinger’s cinema release, but must have been filmed during the movie’s post-production, so you wonder if there wasn’t a bit of idea sharing occurring behind the scenes.    

    A rushed adventure with more fisticuffs than necessary and not enough exposition. Everything falls into place much too neatly.       


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  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1964

    7: The Loving Brothers

    W: John Graeme

    based on The Loving Brothers In by Leslie Charteris Boodle (1934)

    D: Leslie Norman

    S: Reg Ely, Annette Andre

    After a good run of fairly decent to very good episodes, The Saint scrapes the barrel with this Australian set adventure whose only point of interest is having nobody recognise the name Simon Templar. Obviously Australia is such an international backwater his fame hasn’t stretched that far.

    As if that suggestion isn’t insulting enough, the story hinges on a collection of the most awful and obnoxious characters, most of whom spend their time getting drunk, shouting and fighting. Annette Andre, who made very little impression in the previous adventure, delivers an equally non-existence presence in this one too as a winsome nurse. I mention this because I didn’t recognise her at all, even though her hair style is exactly the same. So nothing memorable there at all, much like the whole adventure which is to do with an ailing silver mine and the two warring brothers who might inherit it. Very much a modern day western, even featuring bar brawls and hostile townsfolk, the episode morphs into another of Templar’s swindle schemes and this one makes no sense – even the kind of dunces the script suggests everyone is would see through it.

    I’ve no idea what they made of this in Australia. 


    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  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1964

    8: The Man Who Liked Toys

    W: Basil Dawson

    based on The Man Who Liked Toys In by Leslie Charteris Boodle (1934)

    D: John Gilling

    S: Ivor Dean

    Another clumping effort coined from a short story in that oddly titled collection Boodle. This one was originally written for The Empire News Magazine and did not feature the Saint; Charteris revised it and included his hero when compiling the stories for novelisation.

    A very tame affair about a despicable businessman who likes toys better than his wife and appears to be losing her to his P.A. at the precise moment he negotiates the takeover of a rival company. I can’t be bothered to list the cast for this. Nobody is very good and that’s chiefly because the script is so hackneyed and the scenes played out along all the familiar Saint lines: a few gentle interrogations, a neat trick to deceive everyone but Simon Templar, a female friend in a quandary, a boodle [or a bribe, as it is], adultery, domestic abuse, drink. There’s an interesting nob of social comment about union corruption, which the Saint resolves so easily you wonder if the factory bosses have permanently closed eyes. The show isn’t very interested in politics, so an angle which could have been developed is side lined for a dull-as-ditch-water narrative we’ve seen before. They don’t even explain how the villains expected to get away with it.

    Good to see Ivor Dean back as Chief Inspector Claude Eustace Teal, the best of the Saint’s regular police collaborators during the television series.  

     

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  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1964

    9: The Death Penalty

    W: Ian Stuart Black

    based on The Death Penalty by Leslie Charteris featuring in Once More the Saint (1933)

    D: Jeremy Summers

    S: Paul Stassino, Brewster Mason, Wanda Ventham, Arthur Gomez, Arnold Diamond, Rory MacDermot, Scot Finch

    Now, this is better. The Saint is back in the south of France, nicely represented by the back lot at Shepperton or wherever they filmed the show. There’s a few neat landscape inserts to make us remember where we are, but other than the accents of the restauranteur Dali and the police inspector Colonel Latignant everyone sound distinctly English. Even the nominal villain among a pair of villains is called Galbraith Stride, about as French as a Scotsman in a kilt.

    The Saint witnesses a murder. The police are not interested in the death of a lieutenant of La Latine, an underground criminal organisation whose influence stretches across the Mediterranean. Templar consigns it to misfortune until he notices the murderers in his favourite restaurant, out for a bit of extortion. Poor Dali, a competent Arthur Gomez, gets a nasty slap on the chops for refusing to pay the protection money. Paul Stassino’s leering, coldly calculating Abdul Osman treats him with scant respect. He’s equally good dealing with the interfering Simon Templar and the spoilt brat of a twenty-three year old Laura Stride, who is old enough to know better. Wanda Ventham would go on to do better things than this, but her one-note stereotypical turn doesn’t hurt proceedings.

    She’s been romancing the equally infantile Toby Halidom, who drives his vintage Bentley like a lunatic along the Cote D’Azur, scaring her half to death. She declines a lift home, giving Toby a slap as wicked as the one endured by poor Dali. Simon Templar picks her up on a ten mile walk home. This is a distinctly creepy scene and even Roger Moore’s eminent charm can’t save it. He’s not really picking her up, so much as attempting to justify why he’s stopped. Telling someone you’re chivalrous is a sure sign you are not. Despite this, Templar seems genuine and doesn’t attempt any seduction of the impressionable young Laura. Not so Abdul Osman, who charms her with the promise of riches and exciting days [and nights] on his mega-yacht. Osman is carrying out his seduction purely to spite his competitor, Galbraith Stride, the head of La Latine. Laura is unbelievably unaware of her father’s life of crime. Templar figures it out with a sly raised eyebrow.

    “Marseille,” he tells us, “port of the seven seas and some say the harbour of the world’s worst criminal elements.” This before a lowly garage mechanic offers his repair services free-of-charge for the “famous Simon Templar.” I assume this will continue to be a running gag. It is a joke running so thin I can’t so much see through it as walk through it. It’s extremely lame and needs revising. So too the Saint’s usual brush with authority, this time in the shape of Arnold Diamond’s Col Latignant. The biggest breath of fresh air comes from Stassino, who’s been in a few episodes already, but really cuts the cloth here. He’s scheming, cool, devilish, gathering his intelligence, observing his rivals and allies alike. He’s menacing and vindictive, yet exudes a certain malicious smiling charm.

    You wonder why, given Adolfo Celi’s difficulties with English the Bond producers didn’t give the role of Largo in Thunderball to Stassino, who is in it, but in the small role of the pilot Petacci. On this showing, he’d be great, although to be fair to Celi, he isn’t given the lines to shine like Stassino is given here. Ian Stuart Black scribes this one. I read a synopsis of Charteris’ original novella and it shares no resemblance with its adaptation. Nevertheless, Black’s effort is very effective, explaining what we need to know about the characters in quick scenes which show and don’t tell. So, Rory MacDermot’s nervous Clemens is a drunk: we know it because we see him drinking. Galbraith Stride isn’t as straight as we thought: he has a revolver in his desk drawer. The Saint’s holidays are very straight-laced: he wears polo shirts buttoned to the neck and deck shoes with socks. Ouch.

    Remarkably low on violent content, this episode stretches itself far beyond its simple premise and has a surprising ending which solves everyone’s problems at once. There’s a nice exotic, luxurious, extravagant feel to the story, with its beautifully imagined villas, works of impressionist art, fast cars, French setting, champagne and power yachts. The influence of James Bond is clearly rubbing off, with caustic asides rippling through the screenplay:

    “Something you ate?” asks Templar when the villains leave the restaurant.

    “That’s extortion,” complains Dali – “Yes,” smiles Osman without a flicker.

    “A bribe?” queries Col Latignant, accepting a necktie from the Saint – “A gift,” replies Templar after inspecting the low-cost label.

    A very good episode with plenty going on behind the character’s actions. Luckily Wanda Ventham’s awkward performance doesn’t detract from the good stuff on display. 


    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  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1964

    10: The Imprudent Politician

    W: Norman Hudis

    based on The Appalling Politician by Leslie Charteris featuring in The Brighter Buccaneer (1933)

    D: John Moxey

    S: Justine Lord, Anthony Bate, Jennifer Wright, Michael Gough, Jean Marsh

    M.P. Christopher Waites has been conducting an affair with the devious and delectable Denise Grant, a cute hustler who is termed ‘Government Grant’ by society hack Ken Shield – a nice little turn by Moray Watson. Simon Templar has his suspicions about her, and rightly so, but the whole tribe of miscreants who stay the weekend at Waites’ country mansion have ideas of blackmail up their sleeve. The key to everyone’s fortune is a Treasury Trade Bill the M.P. has written which will boost shares in certain industries and will make immediate quick fortunes for those in the know. Waites has history for offering insider information and it’s that legacy which is getting him into trouble again.

    Simon Templar doesn’t like blackmailers. He doesn’t seem very enamoured with the victim in this one either. The story passes by without much fuss. There are probably a few too many fist fights for such a pedestrian story. Justine Lord returns again to play an unscrupulous hussy. This time she swaps acid barbs with Sir Roger in her apartment before he’s knocked unconscious by her accomplices. It’s never explained where they hid in the flat. Latterly, the two women in Christopher Waites’ life have it out and Miss Lord delivers the cutting put down to the frigid wife. “Can’t you do anything original?” asks Mrs Waites; “Ask Chris,” comes the reply.

    The episode tries to do things differently for a change. The opening scene doesn’t end with the usual line, instead Mrs Waites suggests the Houses of Parliament is a strange location to find “the Notorious Simon Templar.” “Alright then, I’ll leave,” the Saint replies with a smirk and a quirkily raised brow: cue the halo and the theme tune. At the denouement, the Saint has left a letter-sized calling card with his famous insignia; this made me chuckle. There’s also a voice over during one scene where the Saint assesses the suspects at the mansion. Among them are a drunken Michael Gough and a frumpy Jean Marsh. A brief scene in the Prime Minister’s office is shot from behind the P.M.’s chair, but the one visible hand strokes a pipe, implying this is the actual current P.M. Harold Wilson. I’m not sure he was even in office when the episode was filmed, so a neat little touch of foresight there. There’s some messing about on the Thames near Teddington Lock and Hampton Court. During the climax, the director shoots a whole section of it from the criminal’s POV which is eye-catching.

    While there isn’t much very exciting on view story-wise, the attempts to create a unique feel to the episode kept me watching with interest. Writer Norman Hudis was more famous for the early Carry On films, but he acquits himself well adapting and updating a very old Charteris short story. John Moxey does his script more than justice, aided by Justine Lord’s spiky turn and a more robust effort from the usually relaxed Roger Moore.  


    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  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1964

    11: The Hijackers

    W: Paul Erickson

    based on The Unlicensed Victuallers by Leslie Charteris featuring in The Ace of Knaves (1937)

    D: David Eady

    S: Ingrid Schoeller, Robert Nichols, Walter Gotell, Michael Collins, Shane Rimmer

    The Saint gets double-double crossed and almost loses face! 

    This one is set during the Oktoberfest in Munich. Simon Templar bumps into an old pal, Sgt Henry Johns, a United States G.I. stationed at the P.X. base. Sgt Johns’ girl is the duplicitous Mathilde Baum [Ingrid Schoeller] who is out to steal $40,000 worth of tobacco and booze from the army stores. She’s the inside girl for a gang of ruthless crooks led by our own General Gogol, Walter Gotell, very good in a scene stealing role. She’s got a date with the young sergeant, but he has to pull sentry duty, so Simon Templar steps in and entertains her a little too well. A woman of remarkably loose morals, Mathilde is a refreshing take on the femme fatale. Sadly, her demise is a little unlikely and we need to take it with a pinch of salt. Perhaps television in 1964 wasn’t ready for a full-blown Fiona Volpe black widow style villainess.

    Naturally, the heist goes wrong and the Saint determines to clear up the mess the Commanding Officer refuses to acknowledge [Shane Rimmer, another of ours]. He’s aided by a bumbling quartermaster played by Robert Nichols. Michael Collins, who has played a couple of heavies already, crops again as a killer, Borieff, who never removes his overcoat. Nice touch that. Some nifty toing and froing which becomes too clever by half – at one point the Saint miraculously recovers his white Volvo P1800 after Mathilde drives off with it never to return. It is all resolved in a torture-come-action sequence of some excitement.

    The short story title is tongue-twistingly unpronounceable so I’m not surprised they changed it. Curiously, the end titles list The Unlicensed Victuallers beneath Paul Erickson’s credit, which is the first proper acknowledgement made by the series of an original Charteris story.  


    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

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  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1964

    12: The Unkind Philanthropist

    W: Marcus Demain

    based on Puerto Rico: the Unkind Philanthropist featured in The Saint on the Spanish Main (1955) by Leslie Charteris

    D: Jeremy Summers

    S: Sarah Brackett, Charles Farrell

    Oh dear.

    The Saint is holidaying in Puerto Rico. He gets the brush off from a pretty lady while browsing around the battlements of the El Moro castle. She is not taken in by the charm of ‘the famous Simon Templar.’ About time somebody wasn’t.

    Later, he picks her up beside a sugar cane field – her car has broken down – and learns she’s called Tristan Brown and works for the Ogden H. Keele Foundation, offering charitable trusts to deserving individuals and businesses. One of the prospective recipients is the underhand landlord Elmer Quire, who is evicting a local farmer from his family home so he can sell the land in a property deal. His couple of goons are well played by Anthony Morton and Larry Taylor; there’s a splendid scene where Charles Farrell’s Quire is apoplectic with rage, but his henchmen watch on with laconic ease and offer him the obvious, crooked solution. Naturally all this nastiness riles the Saint, who devises a plot to entrap the egotistical Mr Quire. A couple of fist fights and some romancing of Miss Brown later and we learn he need not have bothered – a quick word in the ear of the developer would have done the job just as easily.

    Silly Saint. 


    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  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent
    edited May 2023

    SEASON 3

    1964

    13: The Damsel in Distress

    W: Paul Erikson

    based on The Damsel in Distress featured in Boodle (1934) by Leslie Charteris

    D: Peter Yates

    S: Richard Wyler, Paul Whitsun-Jones, Harold Kasket, Catherine Woodville, Ivor Dean, Ray Austin, John Bluthal, Camilla Hasse

    Peter Yates returns to the directing chair for a roaring effort that closed out 1964 in fine style [the episode was transmitted on New Year’s Eve]. Yates brings his cinematic experience to bear yet again in a series of tough fist fights and rapid car chases. He’s fairly good with the suspense as well. One scene features a view of the unfolding action through a torn curtain. Another focusses on the heated blades of a toasting fork, about to plunged onto a man’s flesh. Ouch indeed. A car accident looks genuine for once. Towards the story’s end a chase scene culminates at an airfield and this time an element of humour pervades Yates’ direction; he’s clearly seeing the silly side of the enterprise. Best of all is an excellent scene midway through where the Saint snoops around an Italian villa. This night time affair is played out to great effect, embellished by the creeping, monotonous incidental music. When he’s caught, the usual pumping, thumping Edwin Astley stuff takes over. It didn’t bother me as much as usual, thanks to that long, rising pulse. The fight which follows has to be one of the most realistic yet. Ray Austin, who usually worked as a producer on things like Department S, is the heavy. This is a much better set-to than some of Sir Roger’s one-to-one battles as James Bond.

    Putting aside the look of the episode, which is extremely good, there’s a half-decent story looming which doesn’t quite deliver on the promises it intended. The episode kicks off in bizarre fashion as Simon Templar entertains Jennifer [a youthful, pouting Gwynneth Tighe] in his apartment. In between kisses he moans about her standard of cooking, before they are summarily interrupted by the overweight, all-of-a-bluster Domenic Naccaro, owner of London’s finest Italian restaurant. He’s brought his daughter with him, who’s got a babe in arms: her illegitimate child. The Saint gets the wrong impression. So does Jennifer, who delivers a slap to the Saint’s chops for his inappropriateness.

    It turns out Maria Naccaro’s boyfriend has gone missing. Naccaro wants the Saint to track down Giuseppe Rolfieri and force him to marry his daughter. The Saint believes this is best left to the police and visits Claude Eustace Teal for assistance. Teal has been put in charge of the Fraud Squad and happens fortuitously to be chasing one Giuseppe Rolfieri, who has embezzled over a million pounds from charitable institutions via a bank fraud. Teal gives Templar the cold shoulder, as always, but we all know he’ll get involved come the episode end. [Spoiler: he does.]

    Domenic has his own investigators who the Saint un-tactfully refers to as a Naccaro Mafia. They’re better than his chefs. The best Italian restaurant in London appears to only serve spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne and cannelloni. The Naccaro Mafia have traced Rolfieri to Florence and Domenic charges the Saint with abducting the errant father and returning him to his new family. Odd how while Templar can’t abide blackmailers he seems perfectly happy associating with Mafia kidnappers. Still…

    Giuseppi Rolfieri is camped out in a plush villa, waiting for the million pound slush fund to clear and the interest from Interpol to die down. He’s drinking too much, growing a beard and arguing with his ‘secretary’, a blousy, bosomy brunette called Barbara Astral. As played by Catherine Woodville, she’s a wonderful acerbic foil to Harold Kasket’s Rolfieri, and a slinky, sizzling siren for Simon Templar to seduce. The story passes too swiftly here. There is a lot happening in Italy, including the Saint impersonating a Florentine chauffeur [another of Sir Roger’s slippery, slipping and dodgy accents] and Alessandro Naccaro [Richard Wyler] being rumbled by Ray Austin’s vicious thug, Arthur. It really deserves more time and The Damsel in Distress strikes me as another early candidate for a two part adventure.

    The scenes between Moore and Woodville are excellent, as too are the sweaty, uncomforting viciousness of Kasket and Austin. Building tension is one of Peter Yates’ trademarks as a thriller director and he works wonders with the compressed fifty-two minute format, but you ache for something more substantial. Templar weaving his way carefully and cleverly under Barbara Astral’s skin, perhaps using her to garner the information he needs to frame up Rolfieri, while she believes he’s interested only in her substantial charms, would have been magic. The twenty-four hour narrative simply doesn’t make any emotional or even narrative sense. Everything happens too fast. For example, a whole sub-plot where Domenic’s cousin, Guido, has to apologise to another cousin so the Saint can use a light aircraft to escape Italy is glossed over in seconds. John Bluthal is fine as Guido, a new version of Warren Mitchell’s Marco di Cesari, only he’s a vet not a cabdriver. Meanwhile, although the Italian carabinieri do feature, you wonder why one of the Saint’s old police compadres doesn’t materialise and threaten to have him deported or something, after all, he’s in Italy an awful lot…  

    There is much to enjoy here and I was impressed with the depth of performance given by the actors as much as the action scenes, although Paul Witsun-Jones is a trifle overbearing. The original short story took place in Switzerland and was about the Saint’s pursuit of a bond forger. The revitalised 1960s framing device of a wronged woman and a shot-gun wedding still feels a little too vintage, even in 1964, but the climatic twist, where the wronged wife turns as vicious as the men, was worth the wait even if it makes no sense whatsoever. The Saint, at least, does eventually get his cannelloni.


    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  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1965

    14: The Contract

    W: Terry Nation

    based on The Impossible Crime featured in Alias the Saint (1931) by Leslie Charteris

    D: Roger Moore

    S: Dick Haymes, Robert Hutton, Michael Peake, Elizabeth Weaver, Ivor Dean, John Bennett

    New year, same Saint.

    The Saint is almost run down outside his mews flat. So begins a tale of much action and very little thought. That it doesn’t seem to matter explains how well presented this fairly standard offering is, how it wins over the audience despite being almost too rapid-fire and too convoluted for its own success.

    The hoodlum Ardossi is on hand to offer some sage advice: clear out of London; someone has put a £5000 bounty on Simon Templar’s head. Rather than take his advice, the Saint dials the contact number Ardossi provides and expresses interest in the killing himself. Unaware who he was speaking to, the import and export businessman Friste, invites the caller to discuss the contract at his warehouse in Mannion’s Wharf. The resulting confrontation is a sweaty little scene of contrasting shadows, closeups and perspiration. The Saint’s infiltration of the warehouse is a bit elementary, but having been discovered, the dialogue and the gunplay is exceptional. The scene has the hallmarks of Fleming’s Live and Let Die and Dalton’s Licence to Kill about it, only with packing crates not aquariums. The Saint escapes in the nick of time, thanks to the arrival of an American pal, US Airport Security Officer Major John Dunstan, well played by Dick Haymes. This early blast of well-presented action sets us up nicely for the over-involved story that follows.

    Dunstan is a reimagining of one of Simon Templar’s American colleague’s John Duncarry, a private investigator, who makes his literary bow in Leslie Charteris’ original novella, one of three in the 1931 book Alias the Saint. The original story bears almost no resemblance to the televised version. Dunstan explains that Friste is in league with an ex-con named Jack Farnberg [Robert Hutton] who seeks the proceeds of a US Army payroll theft. He’s been waiting eight years to collect and has revenge in mind – for Simon Templar was in on his arrest! The revenge angle confuses Farnberg’s motives, but it makes for a taut adventure, as Templar and Dunstan go about their investigations under constant threat of murder. Meanwhile, tetchy Inspector Teal stays in the background, awaiting his moment to pounce. Friste’s murder seems a tad unlikely, but it does provide a reason for Dunstan and Templar to explain who Farnberg is and what he’s trying to achieve, without which the audience would be hopelessly lost. Referring back to a history and people of which an audience knows nothing is always difficult with television and movies. Viewers tend to remember stories visually, not verbally, so sometimes the detail is lost in the action.

    There’s a clever little sequence of events which lead to the unveiling of the crime fiction writer Eileen Wiltham as the unsuspecting widow of Kurt Barringer, Farnberg’s partner in thievery. This is pre-empted by the Saint infiltrating a part-abandoned Victorian townhouse swathed in sheets, which reminded me of Roger Moore’s similar prowling around Stacy Sutton’s mansion in A View to a Kill. All very effective. Together the threesome get into a couple of scrapes, visit the survivor of an air crash and a clinical psychologist, and piece together the mysteries of the robbery, the crash and the whereabouts of Richard Reason, the last words spoken by the dying Barringer. Richard Easton is good as the mentally and physically wounded co-pilot. As his memories dissolve into nightmares, the scene is overlaid with a roaring coal fire which leads us into the psychologist’s living room. Neat editing touch that.

    If the machinations of the plot are turning too fast, it is hardly the fault of writer Terry Nation who is doing sterling work packing in all the explanatory details as well as attempting to develop characters and motives. It’s a miracle he fits any in at all given the prerequisite requirement for rapid paced action. The adventure reaches a gripping conclusion along a railway sidings [if you’ve seen it, no pun intended] and the short epilogue explains the clues hidden in one of Eileen’s manuscripts.

    The whereabouts of a cache of hidden gems will come as no surprise to those well versed in Timothy Dalton’s James Bond era, which just proves there are no new stories, just new ways of telling old ones. It’s all very satisfactory, if a trifle rushed. Do I need to mention again that some episodes of the early series of The Saint needed expanding into two parts to better develop plot, personality and motive? Yes, I know I have, and this is another example.

    I was surprised Roger Moore’s name crept up on the credits as director. It is his third effort behind the camera and he’s more than competent on this one, keeping the narrative moving swiftly along and not neglecting his actors, who do good work. Overall, despite the feeling there are too many balls being juggled in too short a time, The Contract is a good episode which continues Season 3’s fine work in bolstering The Saint as an exciting, internationally flavoured prime time television show. 


    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  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1965

    15: The Set Up

    W: Paddy Manning O’Brine

    based on ‘The Man from St Louis’ featured in Once More, the Saint (1933) by Leslie Charteris

    D: Roy Ward Baker

    S: Penelope Horner, John Stone, Henry Gilbert, Ivor Dean

    Once More, the Saint featured three novellas and was retitled The Saint and Mr Teal for the US market. Inspector Teal featured in all the stories, as did Simon Templar’s regular squeeze Patricia Holm. Teal is almost written out of the adaptation – he once more takes a backseat as Templar does all the hard work – and Holm’s role is reinterpreted as Oonagh O’Grady, a young starlet who appears to be in an on/off relationship with the Saint. She also appears to be in an off/on relationship with film producer Tex Goldman. “Do you want me to come up with you tonight?” Goldman asks in the taxi home; while she refuses, it isn’t an uncomfortable rejection, rather polite, as if she and he would have accepted the outcome either way. Similarly, Templar casually asks her to dinner, casually kisses her, treats her very casually, as if their relationship while physical, is definitely casual. Penelope Horner is an attractive actress who never quite hit the big time. She crops up fairly regularly in these ITC programmers. Here, she gives an adequate portrayal of a woman under pressure, but occasionally comes unstuck when asked to be more subtle than melodramatic. Very attractive though…

    Anyhow, the plot from the original book is thrown out the window and Tex Goldman’s St Louis gangster becomes a film mogul who has a neat side line in grand theft. Inspector Teal has been chasing the gang all year – he no longer appears to be working for the Fraud Squad – and seeks the Saint’s assistance when Templar is present during a daring and bungled robbery of the Bay Tree Casino. A nice elegant setting to open this episode, reminding us of the Ambassador’s Club in Dr No. Templar though prefers the roulette wheel. His game management is extremely poor. James Bond, or Ian Fleming, would shudder, but I feel Charteris likes the idea his protagonist might be less of a success at least one activity. Templar is also less of a whirlwind – he stops his car at a red light signal even when in high speed pursuit!

    Writer Paddy Manning O’Brine moves the action swiftly on. There’s little let up. The Saint fakes his own death so he can eavesdrop on the unsuspecting gang plotting their next crime – although the assassin is the bungler in chief and he really ought to have noted the Saint’s sports car chasing him out of Grosvenor Mews. Incidentally, in one shot we can see the tax disc in the Volvo’s window and it’s dated Nov 1964, so by transmission date, the Saint was committing an offense. The whole middle section imparts the gang’s pay day mail robbery. The Saint is strangely absent. He might be renewing his Road Licence, but instead he’s following up on Goldman, performing his own daylight robbery and rescuing young Oonagh in the process.

    It's all a tad elementary, although well presented, as you’d expect from director Roy Ward Baker, but I can’t say I was enthralled. The best scene? Ivor Dean’s Inspector Teal tempting Roger Moore’s Saint to help him out of a pickle: “Do you like the colour of my tie, Claude? It brings out the red in my eyes.” Teal merely rolls his eyes with a deft, disdainful flick of the head.    


    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  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1965

    16: The Rhine Maiden

    W: Brian Degas

    based on ‘The Rhine: The Rhine Maiden’ featured in The Saint in Europe (1953) by Leslie Charteris

    D: James Hill

    S: Nigel Davenport, Victor Beaumont, Anthony Booth, Stephanie Randall, George Pravda

    The Saint in Europe offered rich pickings for television adaptations. This is the fifth such episode [from seven short stories in the 1954 collection] and it makes for splendid diverting entertainment. Chief among the diversions is pretty Stephanie Randall as the heroine, who is more than a mere damsel in distress and actively assists the Saint in his adventure. It helps she’s chasing after a quarter of a million pounds.

    Simon Templar is in Baden-Baden, West Germany [as it was then]. Fredrick Schiller’s waiter wants his autograph for the kids at home; the Saint wants to romance young Julie Harrison [Randall] who is searching for Nigel Davenport’s anxious Charles Voysn. Templar’s opening monologue compares waiters to vultures, but in fact it’s a rogue businessman and a disgraced scientist who are circling Julie’s pot of gold. 

    The Saint’s natural talent for spotting trouble leads him to assist this delicious, delightful looking blonde to investigate Charles Voysn’s sudden death. The German physician who takes responsibility for the dead businessman is acting very suspiciously. Victor Beaumont cuts a contradictory figure as a genetic scientist in hiding, a man desperate to escape the Nazi hunters and flee to South America, yet too conscientious to kill a man in cold blood. Voysn meanwhile just wants to make it to Switzerland – with all young Julie’s inheritance money. It will come as no surprise to discover that neither nefarious character succeeds. Tony Booth, who would become well-known as Alf Garnett’s son-in-law in Till Death Do Us Part and even more famous as future PM Tony Blair’s father-in-law, has a support role as a knife wielding hood. The ever reliable George Pravda crops up as Inspector Glessen, a German substitute for Claude Eustace Teal. The two may as well be twins, they are so similar, and treated to the same scorn by the Saint. Miss Harrison marks him as a wastrel too: while Glessen ignores the clues, she ignores his advice and rushes to the Saint’s aide.

    Dominant performances from everyone, including surprisingly Stephanie Randall who looks as if she ought to have made a better career out of this kind of thing, but didn’t quite reach the big time. She is quite possibly one of the Saint’s most attractive accomplices. Lovely slender figure. Beautiful eyes. And what a wonderfully kissable mouth! [Can I write stuff like this these days – ah, hell, let it go, there it is.]  

    Towards the end of the adventure, which has its fair share of suspense and excitement, Templar chases down the titular Rhine Maiden express train, driving his Volvo at break neck speed along the autobahn from Baden-Baden to Offenburg. Hang on, I thought, haven’t I seen Sir Roger do this before? This time though, he catches the train – which he did and didn’t in Octopussy – and promptly conducts a brief death-defying climb along the outside of a carriage from one compartment to another, intent on rescuing the beautiful maiden within. All very James Bond c.1983, as well as invoking memories of those other on-train OO7 fights we know and love.

    The best line in the whole episode occurs at this point. A determined Simon Templar barges into the neighbouring compartment, pulls down the window and promptly plunges into the night, grasping the runners and gullies in his effort to save the lovely Miss Harrison:

    “How extraordinary,” exclaims the male passenger.

    “He must be a foreigner, my dear,” replies his wife.

    “Why?”

    “He didn’t shut the window.”

    Priceless.    


    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  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1965

    17: The Inescapable Word

    W: Terry Nation

    based on ‘The Unescapable Word’ featured in Thanks to the Saint (1957) by Leslie Charteris

    D: Roy Ward Baker

    S: Ann Bell

    A completely weird episode which owes more to Terry Nation’s associations with Dr Who and The Avengers than it does to The Saint.

    A Russian scientist has developed a death ray and on a test run during the grouse shooting season he accidentally kills the gamekeeper. The gundog miraculously survives the calcification process. The Saint does too, thanks to a handily placed oak tree. Cue a load of rudimentary investigation which wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of Dr Who or The Avengers. Oh, I already said that. But it really does feel as if Nation transplanted one of his own fantasy stories onto Leslie Charteris own.

    The original The Unescapable Word [grammatically incorrect] was set in Arizona, but I have no idea if it had anything to do with Area 51 or whatever as I can find barely a line of description about it on the net. I expect it was a more simple case of Templar investigating a murder.

    Regards this episode, appalling performances all-round – but really, what were they supposed to do with such a poor teleplay? – so I haven’t bothered to mention them in the intro above. Ann Bell really tries as the nominal heroine Marjorie North who gets menaced under a remote road bridge and delivers a swift gas lamping to her attacker. Cool! Unfortunately, most of the time she’s worried just about her dog.

    Disaster telly in all its forms.


    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  

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,886MI6 Agent
    edited May 2023

    chrisno1 said:

    I was surprised Roger Moore’s name crept up on the credits as director. It is his third effort behind the camera and he’s more than competent on this one

    ______________________________________________________________

    I know of at least two other 60s teevee spies who occasionally directed their own shows:

    Patrick McGoohan directed several episodes of both Danger Man and The Prisoner

    Don Adams directed several episodes of Get Smart

    I'm not sure about any of the others, but I do know Robert Culp wrote several episodes of I Spy, including the first episode, and according to wikipedia his were the only scripts Culp and Bill Cosby did not alter with adlibs and other modifications once filming, so his were the model for other writers to follow

    I think all these leads had a lot of creative control over what they wanted their shows to be. I know Roger Moore himself was trying to buy the rights to Charteris's books before he was offered the part of Templar, so he probably already had some ideas from the start.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1965

    18: The Sign of the Claw

    W: Terry Nation

    based on ‘Arizona’ featured in The Saint Goes West (1942) by Leslie Charteris

    D: Leslie Norman

    S: Susan Farmer, Peter Copley, Godfrey Quigley, Burt Kwouk, Leo Leyden

    A sweaty little number set in an undisclosed South East Asian country [Yes, if that line sounds familiar, I really am cut and pasting my own work]. The jungles and the military stock footage all hints at a representation of Vietnam.

    Peter Copley’s Donald Morland has recently inherited his brother’s plantation, but he’s having trouble with the locals. His neighbours don’t help. Max Valmon [Godfrey Quigley] is an aggressive farmer, stuck in the conservative colonial past who wants to buy Morland out. Not coincidentally, he’s secretly in cahoots with the counter revolutionaries, led by the Claw. This turns out to be Dr Julius, a terrorist sympathiser out to wreak havoc in the new political climes of Malaya.  

    “I create incident, Mr Templar,” says an urbane, moustachioed, cigar smoking Leo Leyden, “I’m merely an agent of my government.”

    “And I’m an agent for mine.”

    So, the Saint must have been dispatched by his MOD pal Commander Richardson [S3 E1], although Templar counters this by explaining Dr Julius killed his friend Franklin in the Congo. The anti-colonial, anti-communist rhetoric gets a bit confused by the end and nobody seems to be winning this petty little war. Leslie Charteris’ original was set on a ranch in Arizona and the Nazi villain sought the mercury mines beneath the homestead. It was a mixture of the old west and the new world frontiers of Fascist Europe.

    Director Leslie Norman has form from his days directing war movies, so he’s on solid ground with the jungle theatrics. The action scenes certainly have some punch and intensity. Early on the rebels lay siege to the Morland’s mansion in a sequence of some grip. The moment where Morland’s daughter, Jean, shoots a soldier point blank was quite startling as she’s a winsome, vulnerable presence.

    We haven’t seen Susan Farmer since Season One and The Latin Touch [S1 E2] and it’s a pleasure to see this very pretty and more than competent actress return. She had started on a run of Hammer period flicks and brings some of that experience to the fore here; she’s particularly effective when holed up alone in the plantation mansion, abandoned by a suddenly thoughtless Simon Templar and menaced by the rebels. They are led by our own Burt Kwouk.  

    A good episode which ultimately feels a bit rushed. Some of the action seems shoved in because it can be, not because it should, but overall The Sign of the Claw is a more than competent and very enjoyable fifty minutes.


    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  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1965

    19: The Golden Frog

    W: Michael Cramoy

    based on The Golden Frog featured in Senor Saint (1958) by Leslie Charteris

    D: John Moxey

    S: Jacqueline Ellis, Hugh McDermott

    A weak episode set in an unnamed fictional South American country where the Saint hopes to reunite his friend Fergus MacLish with the £17000 he’s been swindled out of. There’s a father and daughter pair of fraudsters and a military dictator in waiting tied up in the mess somewhere. Jacqueline Ellis performs the exact same role a she did in Season 2’s The Ever Loving Spouse, only there she was a wife, now she’s an offspring with her eyes on the Saint.

    A very perfunctory adventure, not helped by a series of low-as-you-can-go performances that in today’s eyes are borderline insulting to the Scots, any South American and any indigenous Amazonian Indian. Nominally the location is ‘San Carlos’, but it may as well have been Bayswater for all the exotica on show: one of the hotels is even called the Crown and Heather, about as unlikely as the golden frog of the title. A dreadful enterprise from start to finish that revisits every trope we’ve become familiar with from the previous god-knows-how-many episodes of fraud and counter blackmail. Not even a half decent fight on a river steam boat can save this one.     


    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  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1965

    20: The Frightened Innkeeper

    W: Norman Hudis

    based on The Case of the Frightened Inn Keeper from The Saint Goes On (1934) by Leslie Charteris

    D: Roy Ward Baker

    S: Suzanne Neve, Michael Gwynn, Percy Herbery

    A filler episode if ever there was one, dated by its 1934 origins. Filming this story used up the last of three adventures in The Saint Goes On collection [The Elusive Ellshaw and The High Fence are the others]. This is by far the worst adaptation.

    The Saint arrives at the deserted Weary Traveller pub in Cornwall. He’s answering a distress letter from beautiful Julia Jeffroll, the landlord’s daughter. No, not that sort of distress…

    Julia’s worried about her Dad’s behaviour, as well as a series of strange night time noises and the three shifty characters who have block booked the inn for six weeks. One phone call, a night in a cellar and a bar fight later and Simon Templar has cracked the case. For good measure a car chase is thrown in and the Saint’s personalised Volvo gets blown up. A lot of the narrative twists rely on the inability of drivers to lock their car doors; the Saint even leaves his windows down overnight! The maniacal incidental score keeps the action in overdrive even when it falters on screen. Percy Herbery is the nastiest of the no-good baddies.

    Suzanne Neve had already graced The Saint as a put-upon daughter in The Benevolent Burglary [Season 2:15] and she does sterling work again in a sub-par adventure. She would go on to star in The Forsythe Saga and the Leslie Bricusse musical Scrooge.

      

    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  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1965

    21: Sibao

    W: Terry Nation

    based on Haiti: The Questing Tycoon from The Saint On The Spanish Main (1955) by Leslie Charteris

    D: Peter Yates

    S: John Carson, Jeanne Roland, Jerry Stowin, Boscoe Holder

    Another strange one from Terry Nation. This is nominally based on a short story by Leslie Charteris that has a tycoon attempting to exert undue influence over a young woman who may or may not be a voodoo priestess. Nation emphasises the supernatural aspects of the story to the detriment of the rest and our sensibilities. It really is a bit too much voodoo for this viewer. However, putting all that to one side, what we do have is another well-directed Peter Yates adventure and a first glance at Roger Moore dealing with Haitian witchcraft.

    Yes, okay, so it isn’t witchcraft to the Haitians, it’s a religion: “Those who die violently avenge themselves. This is the world of the undead, the living dead, the zombie.” Chilling. The horror aspects are quite well done in fact, with a few neat special effects and unexplained deaths. The scenes of voodoo despite being highly imagined and stylised don’t feel as out of place as you might expect. The studio bound forest scenes have a sweaty, claustrophobic atmosphere. There’s even a good villain played by John Carson [returning from S1: E6 The Arrow of God]. Theron Netlord is the most prominent and feared businessman on the island, but he’s also trying to control the local voodoo priestess intending to make her his bride. Sibao prefers to tell fortunes in the local bars. Luckily for her and Haiti she takes a shine to the Saint and Simon Templar’s danger-sense is alerted.

    Carson is great as the scheming, cultured and remarkably cool Netlord, a man who is James Mason suave. He’s been influential in Castro’s Cuban rebellion and then sowed the seeds of unrest in the Dominican Republic. Throwing two goblets of recent international political history aids the contemporary feel of the story and, without saying it, the writer is telling us Netlord is a communist spy. Templar knows it too – he’s been sharing a hotel lounge with an American Secret Service agent who winds up dead after a drunken confrontation with Sibao and her fiancée. There’s a genuine sense of menace whenever Carson appears on screen and this helps Roger Moore to deliver one of his better performances. The scene where Netlord entertains the Saint with a luxurious dinner while the two men discuss the philosophy of religion, politics and fate has all the twists and turns of a James Bond vs Scaramanga moment.

    That’s not the only scene that seems familiar from the OO7 universe. The episode kicks off with the dancer Boscoe Holder performing a crazy samba routine dressed as ‘Death’ – skull mask, top hat, tails and all. Sound familiar? Yep, it’s Baron Samedi’s Dance of Death from Live And Let Die – performed by Geoffrey Holder’s brother; yes, really, I looked it up. The final voodoo ceremony has costumes and dancers that would not look out of place in the voodoo scenes on San Monique. There’s even a bucket full of snakes. Roger Moore digs out a safari suit [not for the first time] and Templar being poisoned has reminiscences of Dalton’s temporary demise in The Living Daylights. I’d also add that the ‘Test of the Serpents’ was reinvented for the Wood Beast in Flash Gordon, also featuring Timothy Dalton.

    The plot isn’t very deep, but it has enough intrigue and supernatural visages to keep us more than a tad interested. You do need to take it with a hefty pinch of salt and I half expected something to happen that revealed the voodoo magic as being invented by Netlord. The fact it isn’t hints at a deeper and unexplained magic which is quite eerie. We don’t exactly get the living dead, but we get a lot of zombified worshipers, chanting and wild dancing. Perhaps the most awkward thing was the Chinese, white and black actors all asked to play natives of Haiti. I’m not saying the former Spanish colony wasn’t a melting pot of nations, but it does look odd. In the casting’s favour, the differences are simply not referred to, so the audience can take it as it comes.

    Black magic on a Sunday night? I’ll take that if it’s as well made as this.


    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  

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1965

    22: The Crime of the Century

    W: Terry Nation

    based on The National Debt from Alias the Saint (1931) by Leslie Charteris

    D: John Gilling

    S: Andre Morell, William Lucas, Peter Jeffrey, Susan Lawson, Carol Cleveland, Maggie Wright, Ivor Dean, David Shire

    Wow, this goes way back in the Saint’s literary career. The original short story featured in The Thriller Magazine, before Charteris rewrote it extensively to feature in his third novella collection. The story surrounds a beautiful young chemist who has been doped by modern-day pirates with a mind-altering drug and turns into a heartless killer.

    Sounds weird – so it is right up Terry Nation’s alley. He had obviously been to the cinema to watch Goldfinger (released 17 Sep 1964) and rushed this one out in time for production (television air date 4 March 1965). Goldfinger had finished shooting in early July 1964, so it is highly probably some of the movies aspects might have been known in the industry already. I say all this because The Crime of the Century is basically The Saint Does Goldfinger.

    Simon Templar is attending a piano recital at the Royal Festival Hall with Inspector Teal [Ivor Dean] ostensibly to keep an eye on Bernard Raxel [Andre Morell] one of the world’s richest men and – as it turns out – also one of the world’s master criminals. He’s planning an audacious raid on the Bank of England Treasury Vault. And not to steal the gold either. Raxel plans to steal the printing plates, paper, ink and foil for currency manufacture, thus enabling him to print millions of ‘legitimate’ pounds sterling. A nice wheeze.

    To do so, he must organise a gang of bank busters, including an American safe cracker, and utilise a deadly nerve gas, created under duress by a beautiful chemist. Templar is asked to impersonate the safe cracker and get on the inside of the job. That takes care of the Leslie Charteris section of the story, the remainder is pure James Bond.

    Templar is given a make-over disguise, a briefing of immense swiftness and a communicator pen – which fails to work and leads to the Saint’s identity being suspected. The real safe-cracker is quietly arrested and Templar is presented with his credentials, which includes entry into a swish nightclub and a liaison with a pretty girl, all champagne, caviar and kisses. Maggie Wright is superb as Madeleine. She had those quick cameo appearances in S3: E3 Jeannie and S3; E2 Lida. She once again raises the temperature in a sizzling little black number and much lowered eyelid. Lovely. Why hasn’t she been given a larger role?

    Meanwhile Prof Betty Tregath [Susan Lawson] has been forced to manufacture a deadly nerve gas or her brother David [David Shire] will be killed. The chemical is eventually used to gas the guards and Raxel, just like Auric Goldfinger, also uses it to eliminate the cabal of crooks he has assembled for the job. To continue the James Bond theme, there is a large stateroom for meetings, a mock-up of the bank, the blasting open of the Treasury gates, a daring robbery which almost comes off, a switch of the gas cannisters and even a last minute action packed fight to save the day.

    It all looks and feels remarkably familiar…

    Having said that, I found this mini-homage to all things Goldfinger rather charming and quite a lot of fun. There is intrigue, some neat surprises and a decent plot. It is much better than its 52 minutes allows and probably deserved to be a two-part story, which would have drawn out more of the tension and the inter-rivalry between the gang members, which goes unwritten here. Nonetheless a sterling [sic] effort that ticks all the right boxes and has everyone contributing to make the whole thing believable. For once, as there’s no blackmail and duplicitous double-cross involved, I was kept interested from start to finish and didn’t even anticipate the couple of twists that do come. Thanks then to writer Terry Nation and director John Gilling for attempting something more robust and up-to-the-minute.

    A very enjoyable mid-sixties OO7-lite telly romp.


    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: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 3

    1965

    23: The Happy Suicide

    W: Brian Degas

    Based on The Happy Suicide from Thanks to the Saint (1958) by Leslie Charteris

    D: Robert Tronson

    S: Jane Merrow, John Bluthal, William Dexter, Donald Sutherland

    A thoroughly depressing end to Season 3 of The Saint.

    Simon Templar is in New York, trying to avoid being invited to take part in a sketch on the Ziggy Zaglan comedy show. He’s eventually persuaded to consider the $5000 offer by Zaglan’s lovely P.R. Lois Norroy, that is until the show’s writer – and the star’s bother – Paul Zaglan turns up dead, apparently a suicide case.

    Nobody likes Ziggy. He’s got an ego the size of Long Island. “He lacks every imaginable asset of looks, charm and talent,” says one deft wag. Basically, the man’s a bully and a chameleon, with a public smile and a private scowl. But did he ever want his brother dead?

    Templar uncovers a murky history which revolves around Ziggy, his entourage and the death of a beautiful singer. Donald Sutherland crops up as a terrifying drunken murderer and Jane Merrow has a decent stab at seducing Roger Moore over a bottle of champagne. It isn’t entirely clear how the Saint solves this mystery, but solve it he does, with some outside and unseen assistance.

    There were six stories in the 1958 collection Thanks to the Saint and five were pulled for adaptation. This was the last.

    The show was off air for a four months before reconvening on 1 July 1965. 


    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: 3,131MI6 Agent
    edited June 2023

    I'm taking a rest for a few weeks from posting in this review thread, while I watch Season 4, 5 and 6 concurrently - now that's a challenge.

    In the meantime, watch out for my reflections on Return of the Saint as well as the Curtis and Moore love-in The Persuaders! I may even post some pics with that one!

    To tide you over, a few shots of the lovely Justine Lord, so far my favourite of Sir Roger's co-stars...

    The smooth talking, ever talented, relentlessly unruffled Simon Templar too.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 35,974Chief of Staff

    I'm looking forward to you resuming this thread, @chrisno1

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    Sadly, I am a little held up. No channel is repeating Season 6. I haven't yet investigated online, which may become my default as it was for Dr Who, but some of these old ITC programs are embargoed for UK viewers on You Tube.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,886MI6 Agent
    edited August 2023

    @chrisno1 can you access this Shout! Factory TV website? it has almost all the Saint episodes in good quality

    I know TwoFour once said the link didnt work for him, so it may be a North American only site

    Shout! TV have the rights to a lot of Lew Grade's content, according to wikipedia, so if the link works you can also find Danger Man, the Prisoner, and a lot of Gerry Anderson's shows. also a lot of Roger Corman movies

    if that doesnt work you might also try archive.org, theres a lot of complete TV series been uploaded to archive.org in recent years

    ...

    unfortunately, I when i was watching these a few years back, the shout! site did not have Vendetta for the Saint at all. and The Fiction Makers is under movies instead of TV shows

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent
    edited August 2023

    Thanks for the tips @caractacus potts I haven't begun my research into it yet. It is in my projected schedules for Sept/ Oct. I hate watching on line. The quality can be very variable.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    Success ! I remembered I used Uncle Earl's Classic TV Channel for some Dr Who episodes when I was on that project and it seems to have the whole sixties collection for The Saint. So - watch this space soon...

    Uncle Earl's Classic TV Channel (solie.org)

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent
    edited October 2023

    Here we go again...

    Reviving an old thread in almost the same manner Talking Pictures, ITV4, Legend and Great Action like to revive old television shows...

    My The Saint Marathon is drawing to a close. Time to catch you all up on Season 4. I know a few of you have been waiting much longer than you expected for this...


    SEASON 4

    1965

    1: The Checkered Flag

    W: Norman Hudis

    Based on The Newdick Helicopter from Boodle (1934) by Leslie Charteris

    D: Leslie Norman

    S: Justine Lord, Eddie Byrne, Edward de Souza, Pamela Conway, Neil McCarthy

    The shortened Fourth Season of The Saint kicks off in fine style with a familiar story enlivened by some good performances and a knowing script by Norman Hudis which occasionally dips into an almost comic Shakespearian style, such is the cat-and-mouse interplay between Roger Moore and the delicious Justine Lord. Watching the two of them spar yet again is like watching two old foes grappling with sabres, or perhaps for these two it’d be Petruchio and Kate from The Taming of the Shrew, such is the dexterity of the word play and the sizzling nature of their tasty on-screen partnership. Miss Lord has already ‘lorded’ over Sir Roger in four stories. She’s clearly a reliable favourite and this episode shows why.

    While The Bunco Artists was a bit of a dud, Justine Lord enlivened The Saint Plays With Fire [S2: E11] as a good time girl, The Saint Steps In [S3: E6] as a daughter in distress and The Imprudent Politician [S3: E10] as an adulterous society playgirl. Each time she has demonstrated a flair for sensual, nay sexual, women who know what they want and understand how to get it. The roles could almost be interchangeable. Here, Miss Lord is Mandy Ellington, sister of the insanely rich playboy and race driver Beau Ellington [our own Edward de Souza] who has her hooks into the Saint as soon as he walks into the post-race cocktail bar and orders a whisky. She invites him to a party at Beau’s place and grabs his arm with indecent haste. Templar doesn’t mind. To paraphrase Judi Dench’s M, she wants to pump him as much as he wants to pump her [for information, of course…]. They tip-toe metaphorically around each other while canoodling on a leather sofa. The dialogue is snappy and amusing, and wouldn’t look out of place slipping from Cary Grant’s mouth as he feeds grapes to Grace Kelly in a Hitchcock movie – I’m not being facetious, it really is that good. There’s a genuine frisson of excitement whenever Miss Lord appears, slinky and sexy and suggestive in everything, including her outfits. There’s a monochrome moment of American Dad see-through side-boob during this scene as Mandy reaches over the Saint to ensnare him in a kiss.

    Later on, as if to stress her wanton availability, director Leslie Norman films through the actress’ shapely legs when the Saint enters a gymnasium. She’s been working out; he’s being portrayed upside down, which is a neat girl’s eye view of our hero. He gets his own eyeful when Mandy sheds her clothes and takes a shadow-play silhouetted shower, erect nipples and everything – are these the first tastings British telly had of suggestive nudity – before the onslaught of the liberated seventies where topless women were featured on the credits for The Holiday Show? [Yes, and transmitted on Sunday afternoons as well!]

    It might not be Miss Lord herself, but we can dream, can’t we? After all, “I’m not square,” she trills at one point, telling us and the Saint about the promiscuity we’ve all already figured. Sir Roger’s admiring her pert backside as it sashays past him; “That much is entirely obvious,” he remarks before later offering her an actual slap on the butt. Can you imagine that in 2023???

    It gets even better. Returning to his flat after a hard day’s sleuthing the Saint finds Mandy sprawled across his sofa. She’s already found his booze cabinet, now she wants the main course to follow her aperitif. She’s also discovered the Saint’s alias of Sebastian Tombs is a dud, although how she learnt he was Simon Templar is not explained. It doesn’t matter: we, and he, are having too much fun. She mixes him a cocktail and tries to turn him to her way of thinking. He takes a wee sip: “A little too fast for my taste.” She pouts: “I won’t take that from any man.” The fact the two of them end up together is wholly expected after all this tease and tickle. Congratulations to Norman Hudis for writing some entertaining and lively dialogues for the two to swap and to the director for allowing the actors and the situations to flow. Their repartee is brilliant, so much so that the nominal heroine – Catherine Marshall, played by a not especially effective Pamela Conway – is completely overshadowed.

    Catherine seeks out Simon Templar’s assistance in framing up race car designer Oscar Newley, who has stolen the patent to her father’s revolutionary fuel injection system. We’ve come across this plot so often now it is neither a surprise nor of any interest. What keeps the episode engrossing, other than Moore and Lord, is the motor racing setting, utilising footage both real and specially created from Brands Hatch and including some fairly reasonable back-projection to give the impression the actors really are racing the cars. Of course, it stretches credibility that Templar could just jump in a racing car and give a decent account of himself, but that’s the fun of it, I guess. There is plenty of intrigue, sabotage and murder on display among the racing, cavorting, partying and hard drinking.

    The sixties was an era of the playboy racer, when men with an interest in speed bought chassis and engines and tyres and simply home-kitted a car to enter into races. There’s no indication this is a Grand Prix standard car, but racing of all marques was very popular in the decades after the war and the sport was seen as dangerous and almost noble. The idea of a man putting his life on the line by driving at over 200kph inches from the tarmac and with an explosive gas tank behind his back was both attractive and horrifying at once. The aspect of almost certain death isn’t touched on here, but the foolhardy amateurishness of those early teams is certainly suggested, as is the devil-may-care attitude of the drivers.

    “The modern racing car is a thing of beauty. Sleek, shapely, streamlined, superbly proportioned, designed for sheer excellence rather than travel,” says the Saint in his opening monologue. He’s actually talking about Catherine Marshall [he ought surely to be talking about Justine Lord’s Mandy?] and the camera lingers on her stylish sexy black number as she parades up the pit run. She makes a direct line for “the unstoppable Simon Templar.” The Saint really turns on the charm this time out, even Eliza Buckingham’s bank teller casts admiring glances his way in the same knowing manner the hotel receptionist kept doing to Sean Connery’s James Bond in Thunderball. Roger Moore references Bond directly when asked to name his drink: “Anything not shaken or stirred.” He gets a Campari, I think.

    Curiously, the Saint appears to be taking his ‘undercover’ role seriously as he doesn’t drive the Volvo P1800 with the ST1 numberplate. Instead it’s a Rolls of some kind. Leslie Charteris’ original novella was about helicopters, or autogyros as they would be in the 1930s, but like the car the subject was changed beyond recognition for this television outing.  

    Otherwise, not much else has changed.

    A thoroughly enjoyable episode.        

    A parting note on Justine Lord: she wouldn’t appear in an episode of The Saint for some time as she bagged a regular role in the BBC series about oil barons, The Trouble Shooters, which starred Geoffrey Keen, another of ours. Her part was playing the dissatisfied, glamourous and bored wife of one of the main characters. She seems to have been born for that sort of role!


    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  

    The Saint in the Seventies — ajb007

      

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 4

    1965

    2: The Abductors

    W: Brian Degas

    Based on The Gold Standard from Once More the Saint (1933) by Leslie Charteris

    D: Jeremy Summers

    S: Annette Andre, Dudley Foster, Robert Urquhart, Jennifer Jayne, Nicholas Courtney, Robert Ibbs

    The Saint is back in Paris and we know what that means – another encounter with Robert Cawdron’s Sgt Luduc, who is yet again being asked to tail Simon Templar around the confines of the Parisian cafes, brothels and murderous locations. Always late and always flustered, as soon as poor Luduc is ordered by John Serret’s Inspector Quercy to keep tabs on the Saint, the man shivers with obvious trepidation. Which cupboard will he be locked in this time? Which expensive brandy will be used to bribe him? How fast will the Saint drive? How many delectable women will he meet?

    In this episode it’s two. First up is Annette Andre, who graced us with two forgettable performances in Season 3 [Episodes 6 and 7], and here returns as an English woman who has won a holiday to Paris at Mecca Bingo. She is not enjoying herself. The creepy hotel night porter thinks he has a chance to impress her, but she’s more interested in the blisters on her feet. That is until Simon Templar steps into her bedroom and persuades her to hide him from the fuzz. Miss Andre gives a decent account of herself this time around. Playing bored must suit her. She perks up immeasurably once the Saint dusts off his halo and suggests she accompany him on a search for a kidnapped scientist.

    Andre’s role as Madeleine is based on Leslie Charteris’ invention Patricia Holm, who in the early Saint books, was Templar’s girlfriend. In the original short story, which runs along very similar lines to The Abductors, Holm was much more assertive and we can see the results of that in Andre’s performance, her sniping at the Saint, her conniving with and seduction of him. The action is relocated to France, for reasons only of cheap exotica, one assumes. While in the television episode the secret metal discovery is never properly explained, in the book the scientist was an alchemist who claimed to be able to turn cheap base metals into gold.

    Otherwise, we’ve seen this play before. The Abductors is a mixture of the kidnap plot and the secret-world-changing-scientific-formula plot. Writer Brian Degas gives it a twist by having the victim’s spendthrift brother murdered, drawing Professor Quell into the open. Quell is considered a Very Important Person by the British government, but these kidnappers are a ruthless bunch who murder their way around Paris in their attempts to gain £50,000 from the Chinese for the man who holds the world’s metallurgy secrets. Nicholas Courtney, better known as Dr Who’s sidekick Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart, dispatches disloyal prostitute Jennifer Jayne with his naked hands. Her distressed character, Olga, is referred to as a hostess, but the enormous pause everyone takes before uttering the word ‘hostess’ tells you she is most definitely a hooker. Dudley Foster’s ringleader prefers to do his killing with a gun and a bullet into a man’s back. Director Jeremy Summers gets quite grisly with the killings. The one which takes place in an airport telephone booth was particularly cold-bloodedly gripping.

    Later, while searching Olga’s apartment, the Saint spots a photograph which provides a clue to the Professor’s whereabouts, but by now unlucky Madeleine has been interred in the same rotten dungeon. Amongst all the nastiness and the paradoxical good-natured leg pulling, an above standard episode eventually goes the standard way. The white knight on his charger arrives intime to chuck his halo and fists about a bit, save the day and make Inspector Quercy and Sgt Luduc look like proper geniuses.

    Ah, generous Saint.

    According to the website howgoodisreview, The Abductors is the highest rated episode of The Saint: “The standard deviation of the ratings is a measure of how much spread there is in the numbers. The median represents the middle value of the ratings. The top-rated episode differs from the mean-rated episode by 2.09 standard deviations. The bottom-rated episode differs from the mean-rated episode by 3.1 standard deviations.” So it says:

    1.      The Abductors                [S4: E2]

    2.      The Contract                   [S3: E14]

    3.      The Saint Steps In          [S3: E6]

    4.      The Scorpion                   [S3: E4]

    5.      Sophia                              [S2: E24]

    6.      The Double Take            [S6: E6]

    7.      To Kill A Saint                  [S5: E19]

    The worst rated episode is Teresa [S2: E4].

    As there is little information about how these ‘ratings’ have been accumulated, I’ll take this list with a pinch of salt. 

    IMDB rates The Fiction Makers as the number one episode and I’ll look at that list later on.

    My opinion, for what it is worth, is that The Abductors is a very good episode of The Saint, but I am not entirely sure it is the best although it certainly has several stand-out moments, is far more brutal than the usual fare and has several fine supporting performances. It is perhaps only the rudimentary story itself which flounders. 


    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  

    The Saint in the Seventies — ajb007

      

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 4

    1965

    3: The Crooked Ring

    W: Terry Nation

    Based on The Masked Angel from Call the Saint (1948) by Leslie Charteris

    D: Leslie Norman

    S: Walter Brown, Tony Wright, Meredith Edwards, Jean Aubrey, Nosher Powell

    The Saint’s new best friend is boxing champion Steve Nelson. Their mutual acquaintance is Nelson’s fiancé Connie. Steve is due to fight the winner of a title eliminator between the experienced Torpedo Smith and the Australian ‘Tanker’ Angel. When Torpedo Smith loses the fight from a seemingly unlosable position and subsequently dies from the sudden pummelling he suffers, the Saint is suspicious of Angel’s management and training team. Convinced Angel’s rise to the top has been rigged, the Saint sets out to prove the fight game is as crooked as always.

    A sort of rip off from The Harder They Fall, this is probably about a poor as The Saint has ever got. The opportunity to run a piece about big fight corruption passes writer Terry Nation by and all we get instead is a series of attempted murders by an incompetent hitman and a daft-as-a-brush climax where the Saint enters the boxing ring. I’ve listed the cast, but they are all dreadful, Sir Roger included.

    Charteris’ original story was set in America. The Masked Angel was part of the author's his last novella collection until the television adaptations of the late sixties. From 1949, Charteris exclusively concentrated on short stories. I don’t know what the novella was like, but one has to hope it was better than this. 


    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  

    The Saint in the Seventies — ajb007

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    SEASON 4

    1965

    4: The Smart Detective

    W: Michael Cranmoy

    Based on The Smart Detective from The Happy Highwayman (1929) by Leslie Charteris

    D: John Moxey

    S: Brian Worth, Anne Lawson, Fabia Drake, Ivor Dean 

    A middling episode which has the Saint being set-up by an insurance detective for the theft of the Blenheim Emeralds. Templar’s suspicions are aroused during a public display of the burglar-proof security system. He’s foiled these types of sophisticated entrapments before and treats it and the detective, Peter Corrio, with instant disdain. Even the usually affable Claude Eustace Teal has his suspicions about Corrio, but he’s unable to prove a thing while the insurers and owners remain grateful to being reunited with lost property. The Saint takes a dislike to Corrio because his arrogance manifests itself in psychopathic tendencies. There’s also a pretty girl involved, but as Templar doesn’t bother to check her background story we’re fairly certain from the off she’s a stooge.

    As the episode progresses, it turns into a heist caper missing the comedy. Corrio carries out a daring robbery, but unlike the Pink Panther or Audrey Hepburn from How to Steal a Million, he doesn’t get away with it. Punishment for being a humourless bully, I suppose. Usually, it’s the Saint doing the thieving, but here he’s outside looking in, which is unusual. A decent enough episode with a couple of decent support performances, including a riotous turn from Fabia Drake as “everybody’s Aunt Prudence.”

     

    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  

    The Saint in the Seventies — ajb007

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 5,983MI6 Agent
    edited October 2023

    Nosher Powell

    I’ve listed the cast, but they are all dreadful, Sir Roger included.

    ——

    Not that you’d want to say that to Nosher’s face, though 🤣


    Maybe he’s a good friend of @Barbel ? 😁

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