The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio The great ones are back in action.

6Jun/150

Telefilm Review: The Brazilian Connection

In the 1980s, the Saint returned to television with a series of TV movies starring Simon Dutton. “The Brazilian Connection” originally aired in 1989. In it, the Saint takes a hand to investigate when a baby is kidnapped in broad daylight.

The best thing about this updated Saint story is that Simon Dutton isn’t Val Kilmer. The second best thing about it is everything that doesn’t have much to do with the main mystery. There’s the early scene which has the Saint robbing a couple of criminals and getting away in style and then busting up an art fraud ring. Inspector Teal’s got a new boss who believes the Saint needs to be brought to heel, despite Teel’s support of Templar.

There’s lovely location shooting in London as well as some nice effects.

As a leading man, Dutton isn’t in the same league as the great Saint Actors: George Sanders, Roger Moore, or Vincent Price. He’s more like Hugh Sinclair, who played the role in two films in the 1940s. He’s certainly adequate, looks up to the part, and can be charming when the script lets him be. The problem is, far too often, the script doesn’t.

While this is better than the 1996 movie by a country mile, it seems the creative team doesn’t really understand the Saint and thus we’re given a story that could feature any 1980s Detective/Action hero.

The big failing of, “The Brazilian Connection” is it’s mystery story. It’s told with little style or real intrigue, and it’s hard to buy into the plot.

You could applaud the story for being years ahead of its time by its discussion of human trafficking, but the way the movie addresses the issue is unbelievable.

I’m not spoiling anything to explain the couple who kidnapped the baby in London worked for a black market baby ring that kidnapped babies from Brazil, particularly rural areas, taking advantage of local corruption to kidnap babies and smuggle them out of the country. The mystery is who the boss is.

So these kidnappers who have this Brazilian deal set up where due to their connections, they can easily smuggle babies out of the countries. So they are walking down the street, see a stroller, and do an impromptu kidnapping in the middle of London where they have none of the advantages they do in Brazil. Why? They figured they could pick up some extra bucks.

The story also does a disservice to adoptive parents who are concerned with overly strict regulations that made it difficult for them to adopt by tying people who support their cause to a baby smuggling ring.

Overall, the story isn’t awful, but it’s not great, either, and it didn’t leave me at all curious to see future episodes of this incarnation of the Saint.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

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6Jun/150

EP1592: Dragnet: The Big Key

Jack Webb
Friday and Romero investigate a brutal Christmas eve murder where the only clue is a single.

Original Air Date: May 25, 1950

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5Jun/150

EP1591: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Durango Laramie Matter

Bob Bailey
Johnny is called in when an eccentric oil millionaire disappears on his way to Hartford to pay his insurance policy.

Original Air Date: February 23, 1958

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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4Jun/150

EP1590: Nick Carter: The Case of the Boy Who Got Lost

Lon Clark
The older brother of a sixteen year old boy calls Nick  in to investigate when his brother appears to be mixed up in a murder.

Original Air Date: February 29, 1948

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3Jun/150

EP1589: Philip Marlowe: The Covered Bridge

Gerald Mohr

Marlowe is taken by gunpoint to drive three people to Mexico and he's determined to find out what the score is.

Original Air Date: January 14, 1950

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2Jun/150

EP1588: Ellery Queen: Adventure of the Circus Train

Carleton Young

A long-time circus owner is murdered on a train.

Original Air Date: March 27, 1943

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1Jun/150

EP1587: The Saint: The Big Swindle

Vincent Price

A man shows up with a bag of money and claims to have amnesia.

Original Air Date: February 25, 1951

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30May/150

Book Review: The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon is rightly considered one of the landmark books in detective fiction. The tale was also immortalized on the screen in one of the greatest films of all time.

The book works so well because of its characters. Joel Cairo, Wilmer, and Brigid O’Shaughnessy are incredibly rich and fascinating characters who would be copied and recreated by lesser writers. Spade himself is perhaps the most fascinating character of them all.

As a person, he has many detestable qualities. At times, he’s coldly sociopathic, he uses people, and his own moral code is far more questionable than Philip Marlowe's is. Yet, this allows the reader to wonder where exactly Spade stands. That question is probably the most intriguing mystery in the book.

The language of the book is fascinating. Hammett uses so many rich, active words. For example, Spade doesn’t light a cigarette. He ignites it or he sets it on fire.

Probably one of the big differences (although relatively minor) between the movie and the novel is the movie doesn’t include Guttman’s daughter. It’s understandable why the film didn’t include her as there would have been issues with the production code and it also would have overcrowded the film. However, she does serve two purposes in the book. We do get a clearer picture of Spade’s humane side, as well as an idea of how ruthless Guttman could be.

The book does deal with some adult themes, but in a tasteful way, as was required by the times.

Overall, the book is a classic and worth reading as an example of great writing and characterization, even if you don’t care for the type of protagonist Spade represents or the type of protagonists that the book has inspired.

Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

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30May/150

EP1586: Dragnet: The Big Pug

Jack Webb
Friday and Romero look for a duo who robbed a grocery store and assaulted its elderly owner.

Original Air Date: May 18, 1950

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29May/150

EP1585: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Time and Tide Matter

Bob Bailey
Johnny goes to the Caribbean after a wealthy insured person fails to make a key appointment and Johnny finds the man's life is in danger, but from who?

Original Air Date: February 16, 1958

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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