Category: The Saint

Telefilm Review: The Saint (2017)

The latest adaptation of the Saint is a direct-to-digital film originally shot as a pilot for a TV series back in 2013. It was released with the recent death of 1960s star Sir Roger Moore, who appears in it.

The production has some good touches. It is certainly not the 1996 Saint film. Saint (2017) felt like the people who had made it had watched Saint films and TV shows and read Saint books, which isn’t something I could have said about the 1996 film or the telefilm

In the 2017 film, the Saint, the Robin Hood of crime, is called by a wealthy thief. The wealthy thief is involved in a scam to electronically move billions of dollars in humanitarian aid money belonging a third world country into an offshore account. After he grows a conscience and doesn’t follow through, his daughter is kidnapped. The Saint has to rescue the girl and make sure the aid money gets to its intended recipient.

This film has got a lot of nice touches that make it feel a little bit more like the Saint. It features two former “Saint actors,” Moore and Ian Ogilvy, who played the Saint in the late 1970s. The film also features Patricia Holm, a character from the novels, and gives the Saint a dopey sidekick who calls him “boss.” That’s vintage Saint of both literature and film right there.

Adam Rayner brings far more charm and charisma to the role than more recent portrayals. He’s not on the level of George Sanders in the 1940s or Moore in the 1960s, but there’s an infectious swashbuckling fun to the way Rayner plays the character and he’s a joy to watch.

Also unlike the 1996 film, the 2017 film gets the idea that the Robin Hood of Modern crime should, you know, be giving to the poor if he robs some crooks. The movie sets the Saint in the same vein as many of the pre-World War II books did.

So where does the telefilm film go wrong?

There are three big problems as I see it. First, there’s too much technobabble. I get that this is the twenty-first century and everything is computerized, but I’ve seen Star Trek episodes with less implausible babbling to support whatever scene is coming up next.

Second is the way Patricia Holm was written. In an updated story like this, it’d be smart to make Patricia Holm balance the Saint in skills, personality, with confidence in herself and who she is that would exceed what was written in novels in the 1920s-1940s.

What they decided to do is to make Patricia into the Maryest of Mary Sues. Yes, the 21st Century Patricia Holm is a computer genius and a self-defense expert who can handle everything herself. In a flashback, she is handcuffed to a jeep in the middle of the dessert. She manages to kill all three of the men holding her while still handcuffed.

Further, she works in as many opportunities to belittle our hero as possible because…Mary Sue. She even tells the Saint that she’s the brains of the operation and he’s just the muscle. Really?

The other big problem can summed up in a simple paragraph:

The Saint is great. Batman is great. Val Kilmer played Batman and he also played the Saint. However, the Saint is not Batman.

We learn at the start of the story that Simon’s family is tied to the Knights Templar (which is  a very good idea), but we also learn the Saint was the son of a wealthy family, both of his parents were murdered before his eyes, someone who mentored him was evil, and he has a gift for disappearing when people turn their head.

And there are a few other things that make this movie reminiscent of Batman Begins. The pilot also hinted that an evil generic brotherhood would be Bat-Saint’s chief opponent rather than the traditional Saint approach of taking on whatever new and interesting villainy offers itself up to be defeated each week.

Finally, the ending feels tacked on and awkward, particularly a line that draws attention to the fact the actor who played Agent Fernak wasn’t available for this scene.

Some minor characters are so horrifically performed, it takes you out of the story, including in that final scene.

Overall, this isn’t a horrible film, but it could have been better and I felt Adam Rayner’s Saint really deserved a better film. Still, as it is, it manages to get enough right about the Saint to make this an enjoyable bit of action schlock. However, its attempts to update the Saint more often than not go awry and this holds it back.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

This post contains affiliate links, which means that items purchased from these links may result in a commission being paid to the author of this post at no extra cost to the purchaser.

If you enjoyed this post, you can have new posts about Detective stories and the golden age of radio and television delivered automatically to your kindle. 

DVD Review: The Saint, Set 1

The Saint, Set 1 collects six episodes from Roger Moore’s fifth’s season as the Saint, the first to actually be in color.

The Episodes glory in the Saint’s entry into the world of Color with one beautiful location after another. From Monte Carlo to Venice to Hamburg to Scotland, the series showcases the globetrotting nature of the Saint’s adventures, as well as the wide variety of forms they can take. In, “The Queen’s Ransom,” the Saint accompanies the American wife of an European king in returning a treasure to him and has to outwit a gang of International criminals in the process. In, “Interlude in Venice,” Simon helps out the naïve daughter of an American politician who is at risk of getting swept off her feet by a conman. In, “The Reluctant Revolution,” Simon is compelled to throw in with revolutionaries trying to overthrow a “Banana Republic.” In, “The Convenient Monster,” he encounters a woman who claims the Loch Ness monster is really out there in Scotland.

The variety of the Saint’s adventures is part of what makes the series a standout. The adventures range from straight up mysteries to spy and political thrillers. Through it all, future James Bond Roger Moore plays the Saint as smart, tough, and charming. He’s also joined by a solid guest casts in each and every story.

Overall, these episodes are marvelous and a great start to the Saint’s full color adventures.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

This post contains affiliate links, which means that items purchased from these links may result in a commission being paid to the author of this post at no extra cost to the purchaser..

If you enjoyed this post, you can have new posts about Detective stories and the golden age of radio and television delivered automatically to your Kindle.

Book Review: The Saint Bids Diamonds


The Saint is often called, “The Robin Hood of Modern Crime” but rarely has the phrase meant much. In the Saint movies and radio shows, as well as the most of the Saint TV episodes I’ve seen, he is effectively a crime fighter who fights with his own inimitable style. Of course, early in his career in fiction, the Saint was a bit of a thief, but when I read, The Saint vs. Scotland Yard,I found that early Saint robbing from rich ne’er do-wells but pretty much keeping the prize for himself.

Yet, in,The Saint Bids Diamonds, it all fits quite nicely. The Saint arrives in Spain determined to take on “the ungodly” in the form of a gang of jewel thieves. However, he finds some of the gang beating an old man . He and his thug of a sidekick, Happy, rescue the old man and his daughter. The old man is a jewel cutter that had been enticed by the gang leader to a life of crime and then double crossed and forced to continue to work as a jewel cutter. He escaped when he bought a lottery ticket that won the equivalent of $2 million, which the gang is determined to claim for its own, and it appears that they managed to swipe the lottery ticket from the old man.

The Saint goes undercover with the group to discover they officially don’t have the lottery ticket, the group is drowning in a safe full of jewels and plan to rob the American Ambassador’s wife to increase the pot. The Saint calls it a thieve’s Picnic. Yet, there’s trouble. The lottery ticket and its hope of big instant wealth has got the crooks all trying to double cross one another.

The story really does allow the reader to see the Saint as a mischievous angel against the unscrupulous ungodly, as he concocts one story after another to throw them completely off balance.

The story has some very funny moments. The only time the Saint gets in real trouble is when his self-confidence gets the better of him at the end of the book’s second act.

The Saint also shows his gallantry and sense of honor as he responds to the affections of the jewel cutter’s inexperienced daughter, Christina. Their final scene together is touching and nicely done.

Overall, the plot and characters are both enjoyable. The only weak spot is that much of the story relies on stereotypes about Spain and uses them frequently, as well as a term that has become a charged racial slur, though Charteres didn’t mean it that way at the time.

Despite this is a flaw, this is a fun read and a nice look at the Saint just before he became more like the hero we know him as today.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

If you enjoyed this post, you can have new posts about Detective stories and the golden age of radio and television delivered automatically to your Kindle.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that items purchased from these links may result in a commission being paid to the author of this post at no extra cost to the purchase

EP1683: The Saint: No, My Darling Daughter

Tom Conway
The Saint is hired by a wealthy woman to protect her wild daughter from a shady gambler she wants to marry.

Original Air Date: July 15, 1951

Support the show monthly at patreon.greatdetectives.net

Support the show on a one-time basis at http://support.greatdetectives.net.

Mail a donation to: Adam Graham, PO Box 15913, Boise, Idaho 83715
(more…)

EP1677: The Saint: Satan’s Angels

Tom Conway

Simon is called in to investigate the disappearance of a trombonist in all-female orchestra.

Original Air Date: July 8, 1951

Support the show monthly at patreon.greatdetectives.net

Support the show on a one-time basis at http://support.greatdetectives.net.

Mail a donation to: Adam Graham, PO Box 15913, Boise, Idaho 83715
(more…)