Nineteen actors have portrayed Simon Templar, the gentleman adventurer created by Leslie Charteris in 1928. Among the most memorable incarnations were George Sanders (in a series of 1930s films) and Vincent Price (who voic... more »ed the character on radio in the 1940s). But for baby boomers, there is only one Simon: Roger Moore, who starred in this classic 1960s British TV series. Moore makes a better Templar than he did a Bond (and he is certainly better than Val Kilmer, who stared in the 1997 feature film). This eagerly awaited boxed set contains three entertaining episodes, beginning with the gem "The Queen's Ransom," which launched the series' 1966 season and was the first episode in color. "The infamous Simon Templar" (who is also called "arrogant, smug, self-important, and impertinent") teaches a queen (Dawn Addams, who starred in Charlie Chaplin's last film, A King in New York) honesty and dignity as he accompanies her on a mission to sell her jewels to finance her deposed husband's coup. In the 1967 color episode "Interlude in Venice," Simon comes to the aid of an American heiress who becomes a pawn in a blackmail plot. Lois Maxwell (better known as James Bond's Miss Moneypenny) costars as her (wicked?) stepmother. In the 1966 color episode "The Russian Prisoner," Simon comes to the aid of a Russian scientist who has had "an attack of revisionism" and whom the KGB will stop at nothing to keep from defecting. Except for the gadgets, The Saint has all the pleasures of the Bond films: a real international man of mystery, exotic locations, cold war intrigue, sparkling bons mots, and beautiful (albeit chaste) women. --Donald Liebenson« less
"As I was introduced to "The Saint" via the 60's TV program, I will always associate Roger Moore with the character. He was absolutely perfect for the role, being the right age, and possessing the requisite class, charm, and athleticism. But beyond that, Moore had an air of irreverence that is so essential to the character. "The Saint" was never comfortable with accepting authority. Rules were for others. His life was about living on the edge, taking on all the excitement life had to offer.The character, the literary creation of Leslie Charteris, has a somewhat nebulous origin. It is said that Simon Templar, motivated by his own sense of justice, took whatever action he deemed necessary, to correct what he perceived were injustices in the world. This usually involved one of the "ungodly" being robbed, or somehow taught a lesson. Somewhere the victim would usually find a note, containing a short message warning them to learn their lesson. Instead of a signature, there would be a drawing of a stick man figure with a halo, the familiar finger pointing "Saint" logo. While Templar was suspected of committing these acts, his guilt was apparently never proved. In eluding his victims and all manner of law enforcement, he achieved a notorious reputation, and the nickname of "The Saint"."The Saint's" image was cleaned up for television, where he appeared as basically a virtuous character. While his questionable past is often alluded to, specific reference to any criminal activity was avoided. He is presented as a noble figure, to whom committing a criminal act for mere personal financial gain would be simply unthinkable. And crime must not be seen to pay."The Saint" does not fit nicely into any particular category, blending the qualities of an adventurer, a detective, and a secret agent. Without a fixed setting, or any regular supporting cast, it falls squarely on Roger Moore to capture and hold the viewers' interest. And he comes through with flying colors, almost single handedly carrying each episode, and maintaining the continuity of the character, no matter what the location, or the situation he finds himself in. This is actually quite an achievement, and one that is easy to overlook, because Moore does it so smoothly.DVD Set 1 contains the program's first color episodes, supposedly presented in the order they were originally broadcast. This collection is a good representation of typical "Saintly" adventures. We find Simon Templar cavorting throughout Europe, and also appearing in Latin America. Being such an adaptable fellow, he becomes involved in adventure in a variety of ways. Part of the fun, is trying to figure out exactly what kind of trouble old Simon has gotten himself into this time.Favorite episodes from Set 1, are "The Russian Prisoner", with Simon involved in intrigue, matching wits with the KGB. Then "The Queen"s Ransom" where "The Saint" must keep one step ahead of thieves chasing the royal jewels. And "The Convenient Monster", where "Nessie" figures in the conclusion of a story of involving murder and deception. If you are not familiar with this series, you may not find it to be your cup of tea, for "The Saint", like "The Avengers", is something of an acquired taste. If you are a fan, then this set and Set 2, should be part of your collection. While they may not the best "Saint" episodes, they are the first available on DVD. Picture quality is excellent, colors are true to the original quality, and the images are sharp. A TV series set in a different location each week presents special challenges, and production values are pretty good considering this. The difference between location and studio shots are obvious, but typical for the times. The audio level however, could stand to be cranked up a bit, to match the music level. One negative is the lack of substantial bonus materials. No printed matter, not even a booklet with a detailed series retrospective. All you get are episode previews, and a few stills. Not much, considering the premium price. This is basically the same minimalist treatment given to "The Avengers". Lacking extensive bonus material, I wish A&E would maximize the medium and package at least four episodes per disc, instead of just three. The studios should remember that the predominant audience for these collections, are the dedicated fans of the program. This is often a niche market, and the faithful really do deserve their best effort. Finally, one oddity is that actor Ivor Dean, who was wonderful as "Inspector Teal", is listed as being part of the "regular cast", but does not appear in any of the episodes. Hope to see old "Claude Eustace" in future releases."
Templar, Simon Templar
Jeanne Tassotto | Trapped in the Midwest | 01/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Roger Moore IS the Saint first and foremost his appearances both before and after only bracket this role. There had been others who played the roles before Moore and after but they are only imitators for those of us who grew up watching this series. Each week we watched waiting for the magical moment when the halo and the lilting theme appeared. With that much nostalgia involved I was a little concerned that this set could not possibly live up to my memories. I was wrong, they are just as good as I remembered. Yes the special effects are not up to today's standards, the 'exotic' locations I remembered as a child are now very obviously stock footage tacked onto scenes shot elsewhere but that doesn't even matter. Once Moore takes the stage he is the Saint, we are in those locations and delighting as he makes fools of the police, foils the villians and saves the day, all withough mussing his perfectly coifed hair.This set includes the first six color episodes of the series. The episodes are: The Queen's Ransom - set in Monte Carlo; Interlude In Venice - set in Venice (featuring Lois Maxwell - Moneypenny in the Bond films); The Russian Prisoner - set in Geneva; The Reluctant Revolution - set in San Paul, Brazil; The Helpful Pirate - set in Hamburg and the Convenient Monster - set in Scotland.In spite of the shortcomings mentioned above the shows are enjoyable to those who do not have fond memories of the original airings. What was lacking in special effects what made up for in writing and acting. The stories all have an O'Henry like twist, just when you think it's over or you have solved the problem something else pops up and changes everything. In addition many actors who appeared here went on to other larger roles, so there is the bonus of seeing them 'when'. I think that anyone who remembers enjoying these shows when they ran on broadcast TV will enjoy they again those who are much younger, ie under 25, may not get so much out of it.One additional note - these hour long episodes are just over 50 minutes long, not today's 42!"
Roger Moore before he became Bond
Cathy Brice | Southern California, USA | 08/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a fan of Roger Moores since I was in grade school and saw him in the tv series "Ivonhoe" followed by "The Alaskans" and then "Maverick" when he replaced James Garner and finally "The SAINT" I all fairness to those who came before and after Moore, RM was the best saint...just as he was the best Bond. Moore portrayed a coolness along with the comic cockiness of the character-Simon Templar. The theme song was also outstanding. Although these are in color and very good, a lot of the story and adventure is missing from the original b&w series. Every episode, Templar is in a different part of the world, beating up and outwitting the bad guys while rescuing the damsel in distress. Roger Moore is outstanding in this role. He was one of Ian Flemings original choices for the role of Bond along with Richard Burton, John Wayne,David Niven, Sean Connery and Steve Reeves. Moores contract with the British producers of "The Saint" may have been the reason he didn't start the series off. In any event, "The Saint" is a great series. The dvd quality is good and I a looking forward to seeing the origial b&w episodes come out. They were the best.And Roger Moore, if you read this, why not come back one final time as the dashing, debonir, cool and witty Simon Templar. If James Garner can still do Rockford Files episodes (and a fine job), you can still play the Saint. Nobody does it better."
Even Moore Saintly Than 007
Paul A. Fucito | Washington, DC | 01/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As much as Roger Moore was a fantastic James Bond, he was an even better Saint. In fact, he was the best. Moore took the pulp hero, created by Leslie Charteris, to new heights in the 1960's and this DVD collection is a perfect collection for both longtime fans and newcomers.Roger Moore's portrayl of "Simon Templar" was suave, debonair, and comedic at times (much like The Saint was in the books). In fact, his sarcastic humour with Inspector Teal and other policeman is spot on with the novels. He loved to walk a tightrope between law and crime, but always had an alibi. Moore captures his buccaneering attitude deliciously. Upon watching these episodes, you can see how much of The Saint he put into his Bond role. While he may never have been as violent or ruthless as he was in the books, you really get a sense of the Saint's carefree, adventurous nature. Finally available in America and in series order (based on when the episodes appeared on American television that is). These collections contain the episodes filmed in color, and they look fantastic. As the series continues to see new releases, perhaps they will include the earlier black and white episodes as well.Edwin Astley's loungey score has never sounded clearer. As part of the bonus material, you get the original U.S. trailers for each episode and a nice photo gallery. "The History of The Saint" section, is just some text, and hardly a bonus. You'd be better off picking up the Saint film collection (Turner Classic Movies) with a nice 30 minute Saint history documentary if you really want to learn about the famous "Simon Templar." Better yet, go to (website) and learn everything there is to know.This collection is a must have for any Moore fan. Keep buying them up so that they will release more in America."
Why so expensive??
Abraham Phaur | New York, USA | 02/14/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I love the Saint and I enjoyed watching the episodes contained on Set 1 of the Saint. However, I was terribly disappointed when I found out that Set 1 only contains 6 episodes. Effectively, the price for Set 1, is the same as an entire season of many other great shows. I think that this is a real rip off! I'm certainly not going to buy more Saint DVDs until the producer brings down the price to a more reasonable range."