DVD Review: The Saint (The Complete Series)

During the ’60s when the super spy genre dominated the media thanks to James Bond, three British imports found a foothold on American TV without having to be remade. The Avengers and Secret Agent (Dangerman)/The Prisoner were unconventional in their approach to the world of espionage. The Saint wasn’t quite about secret agents, but the series star transitioned into the most iconic spy of the ’70s. Roger Moore showed the world he looked good in a tuxedo when Simon Templar dressed formal. The Saint: The Complete Series contains all 118 episodes that were spread over six seasons that went from black and white to color.

Do you remember the Val Kilmer movie called The Saint where he played a mysterious thief whose elaborate disguises involved the names of Catholic saints? Well forget that set up since Moore’s Templar doesn’t mind people recognizing him in public. His nickname “The Saint” comes from his initials S.T. He’s not so much still a bit of a thief, but comes off as a rather rich guy with lots of connections and an innate talent to find trouble. He’s not a spy serving a secret organization. He knows royalty and petty thieves. He’s a freelancer with a license to do whatever he feels like doing. This keeps the episodes rather wide open for types of adventure instead of just mainly spy stuff. He can be investigating car wrecks, fake charities and people who might want to kill him. He doesn’t have to answer to overbearing bosses or get stuck with annoying sidekicks. The Saint is merely positively English.

“The Talented Husband” is a stunning tale of a man who had two wives die mysteriously and now he’s ready for a third try at love. The lucky gal is Shirley Eaton who’d go on to be a Bond Girl in Goldfinger. Another future Goldfinger and Avengers star Honor Blackman arrives on the crime scene of “The Arrow of God.” Who isn’t a suspect when a hated newspaper columnist turns up dead at a party. “Starring the Saint” guest stars future novelist Jackie Collins. “The King of the Beggars” rightfully pleads for us to watch Oliver Reed. “The Sporting Chance” lets us see Carol Cleveland before she became the woman in all the Monty Python sketches. “The Romantic Matron” makes a lady be a patsy on a major burglary. Patrick Troughton (Doctor Who 2) is part of the time. The first four seasons where made in black and white. Unlike other shows that changed tone when they went to hues, The Saint just allowed Moore to maintain his attitude in glorious color. “Interlude in Venice” adds an Italian spice to the views. Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny) and William Sylvester (2001) are part of a revenge plot on a lawyer. Interesting to see them before M brought them together. “The Gadget Lovers” has Burt Kwouk best known as Cato in the Pink Panther movies. Shirley Eaton returns to be in color with Templar for “Invitation to Danger.”

The Saint works completely from the cool of Roger Moore. He looks like a guy who naturally winds up in dangerous situations and doesn’t want to flee in terror. A lot of the attitude on this series translated easily to his future gig as James Bond. If you’re a fan of Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, The Saint: The Complete Series will almost seem like 007: The Early Years.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers look great. The black and white brings out the monochromatic nature of Templar’s gray nature. The color episodes bring just the right pop to the screen. The series was shot on 35mm so the image looks fine. The audio is Dolby Digital mono.

Audio Commentaries on Select Episodes include Roger Moore getting to recount his time on the set. He turned down the role of 007 twice during production. Luckily the role was open when he was finally ready to get his license to kill.
“The Talented Husband” – Roger Moore, Robert S. Baker (Executive Producer) and Johnny Goodman (Associate Producer)
“The Saint Plays With Fire” – Roger Moore, Robert S. Baker (Executive Producer) and Johnny Goodman (Associate Producer)
“Luella” – Director Roy Ward Backer and guest star Sue Lloyd
“The Saint Bids Diamonds” – Roger Moore, Robert S. Baker (Executive Producer) and guest star Eunice Gayson
“The Happy Suicide” – Jane Merrow (Guest Star)
“Escape Route” – Roger Moore, Robert S. Baker (Executive Producer) and Peter Manley (Production Supervisor)
“The House on Dragon’s Rock” – guest star Annette Andre
“The Ex-King Of Diamonds” – Roger Moore, Robert S. Baker (Executive Producer)
“Vendetta For The Saint” – Roger Moore, Robert S. Baker (Executive Producer), and Johnny Goodman (Associate Producer)

Behind the Scenes with Sir Roger Moore as Director let us know that he should have called the shots on more adventures.

The Saint: The Complete Series finally gathers together all the episodes of Roger Moore’s breakout show. He’s perfection as Simon Templar, a man who answers to no one. A great show that can now be appreciated properly like its other two great English imports.

Timeless Media Group presents The Saint: The Complete Series. Starring: Roger Moore. Boxset contents: 118 episodes on 33 DVDs. Released: May 26, 2015.

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