Sunday 3 December 2023

The Saint in colour, part 2

A few selected episodes from the colour era of The Saint. I slightly prefer the black-and-white episodes but there was plenty of fun to be had in the colour seasons as well.

Locate and Destroy

Locate and Destroy (scripted by John Stanton and directed by Leslie Norman) went to air in December 1966.

Locate and Destroy begins with what seems to be an attempted hold-up in an art dealer’s shop in Lima, Peru. Simon Templar naturally just happens to be on hand and foils the robbery. Except that it wasn’t a robbery. This much is obvious to the Saint. He decides that he’d like to find out what was really going on. The fact that it’s none of his business is merely an added attraction. In fact what is really going on is a bit too obvious from the start, and the story relies on too many clumsy clich├ęd narrow escapes.

This one is a bit disappointing. It’s not terrible, it’s just very average.

The Better Mouse Trap

The Better Mouse Trap (scripted by Leigh Vance and directed by Gordon Flemyng) screened in November 1966.

The Saint is in Cannes and of course crime has followed him there, in the shape of a series of daring jewel robberies. Naturally the police assume Simon is the thief. They always do. 

And naturally this adventure involves a woman, a Canadian. The thieves are trying to cover their tracks by framing Simon.

As often happens in Simon’s adventures the woman is somewhat ambiguous. The viewer certainly has plenty of reason to suspect that she’s mixed up in the robberies.

This is very much a stock-standard Saint episode, enlivened by a comic turn by Ronnie Barker as a bumbling French policeman. There’s the usual stock footage to convince us we’re in the south of France.

Nothing special, but it’s executed competently.

Little Girl Lost

Little Girl Lost (scripted by Leigh Vance and directed by Roy Ward Baker) went to air in December 1966.

Simon is in Ireland where he rescues a young woman from a couple of thugs. The woman claims to be Hitler’s daughter! Simon is sure she’s either mad or lying but he likes a good story and she is pretty and it all sounds like it could be an amusing adventure.

There’s a millionaire mixed up in it and a couple of crooked private detectives, Simon and the girl get chased through the countryside and there’s young love thwarted and a matter of a hundred thousand pounds. And quite a bit of fisticuffs. 

Oh, and there’s a castle and a dungeon as well.

All in all this is a delightful light-hearted romp.

Paper Chase

Paper Chase (directed by Leslie Norman and written by Harry W. Junkin and Michael Cramoy) went to air in December 1966.

A chap named Redmond from the Foreign Office has defected to East Germany taking with him a vital file. Simon gets inveigled into working temporarily for British intelligence since he can identify the defector. But it’s not as simple as that. The East German spy who was Redmond’s contact wasn’t what he seemed to be. And Redmond finds he’s been conned.

There’s also a pretty girl (naturally). She’d like to go to London with Redmond. Or with Simon. Or with anybody who’ll take her.

This story gives Roger Moore a chance to do the James Bond thing which of course he does pretty well. There’s a lot more action than usual and some decent suspense.

All in all this is a pretty good spy thriller episode.

Flight Plan

Flight Plan (directed by Roy Ward Baker and scripted by Alfred Shaughnessy) went to air in December 1966.

Diana Gregory (Fiona Lewis) arrives in London to meet her brother Mike but a phoney nun tries to kidnap her. Luckily when a damsel is in distress you can be sure that Simon Templar will be at hand to rescue her. But then there’s another mystery - her brother, an R.A.F. pilot, is nowhere to be found.

Mike had been one of the pilots testing the new top-secret British fighter the Osprey (which appears to be the supersonic version of the Harrier that was planned at one stage) and it doesn’t take Simon long to figure out that there’s some kind of plot afoot involving that aircraft. Mike turns out to be a bit of a loose cannon, being a drunkard who passes bad cheques. Just the sort of person who get mixed up in an espionage plot.

This is a decent spy thriller episode with the added bonus of aerial adventure (although the aerial stuff is of course almost entirely stock footage). William Gaunt (from The Champions) plays Mike.

Final Thoughts

Five episodes, two of them a bit on the routine side but three of them very good.

4 comments:

  1. Although the series is heavily dependent on stock footage, I found this series to be more entertaining than you did. It's been a year or more since I watched it, but I remember a couple of these episodes. Yes, the plots are often routine, but Roger Moore just has so much style, and enough self-awareness to make this show a bit above all the others of its type

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    1. I think this review of mine came across as being more negative the I'd intended it to be. I I'm actually very fond of The Saint.

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    2. I thought that might be the case. I've never seen the black and white episodes, so the colour ones were new to me - I gather there was a fair amount of duplication with some of the plots lol

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    3. While I do have that slight preference for the b&w episodes there's absolutely nothing wrong with the colour seasons.

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