• Saint, The: Seasons 1 & 2

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: October 13th, 2015.
    Director: Various
    Cast: Roger Moore
    Year: 1962 - 1963
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Although The Saint was created by Leslie Charteris way back in the late 1920s, the character remains best remembered for its run on British television in the 1960s where the role of modern day Robin Hood Simon Templar was played by a pre-James Bond Roger Moore. In a stroke of genius casting, the producers definitely lucked out with that choice. Moore embodies the role perfectly, handling himself with ease during the series’ many scenes of action and intrigue, but of course doing just as well the various female characters he would inevitably run into in any given episode.

    As a wealthy playboy type, Templar would travel the world to right wrongs and woo women. He did it with class, with style and often times with a fairly wicked sense of humor – so you can see why Moore would fit the part so well, it’s almost as if it were made for him. That said, Templar was more than just a handsome guy out to help those in need. There are times where his crime fighting seems almost obsessive and this comes into play when he often times has to bend the law in order to see that justice is served. Again, the Robin Hood comparisons are hard to ignore here. So too are the foreshadowing elements that would wind up coming into play once Moore replaced Sean Connery in the Bond films.

    The episodes that ran from 1962 until 1964 were made in black and white but after that the series shifted to full color and stayed that way until it went off the air in 1969. The production team very quickly showed that they knew exactly how to take advantage of that. The color episodes feel livelier where the black and white ones were maybe a bit more mysterious. Either way, the elements of mystery and action and humor that made the show fun from the start never fade. If The Saint is a little repetitive (as any long running show can easily become) it very definitely remains a fun watch to this day.

    Although Shout! Factory, through Timeless Media, released the complete series a few months ago, they’re now doing smaller (and less expensive) releases – the first of which is this collection, compiling the first two seasons of the show (all black and white episodes). The thirty-nine episodes here are spread across the ten discs in the collection as follows:


    Disc One: The Talented Husband / The Latin Touch / The Careful Terrorist / The Covetous Headsman

    Disc Two: The Loaded Tourist / The Pearls Of Peace / The Arrow Of God / The Element Of Doubt

    Disc Three: The Effete Angler / The Golden Journey / The Man Who Was Lucky / The Charitable Countess


    Disc Four: The Fellow Traveler / Starring The Saint / Judith / Theresa

    Disc Five: The Elusive Ellshaw / Marcia / The Work Of Art / Iris

    Disc Six: The King Of The Beggars / The Rough Diamonds / The Saint Plays With Fire / The Well Meaning Mayor

    Disc Seven: The Sporting Chance / The Bunco Artist / The Benevolent Burglary / The Wonderful War

    Disc Eight: The Noble Sportsman / The Romantic Matron / Luella / The Lawless Lady

    Disc Nine: The Good Medicine / The Invisible Millionaire / The High Fence / Sophia

    Disc Ten: The Gentle Ladies / The Ever Loving Spouse / The Saint Sees Through It

    Some of the fun guest stars in this early batch of episodes include Honor Blackman, Julie Christie, Oliver Reed and Shirley Eaton. All in all, this is very definitely a product of its time, a mix of Bond inspired spyjinks and pulp style adventure, but it works. Moore is easily able to carry it, he’s charming and fun to watch, while the female cast members of each and every episode are all plenty easy on the eyes. If the storylines get a little predictable after awhile, there are still enough stand out episodes and plots that delve headfirst into unexpected territory to make this a fun collection.


    These episodes were all composed for 1.33.1 television broadcast and that's how they're presented here. The episodes are in black and white and contrast varies a little bit in spots but overall it looks decent. While there is definitely a bit of print damage here and there, for the most part the picture is clean and clear enough that we can forgive the small blemishes that show up from time to time. Mpeg compression artifacts do pop up in a couple of darker spots though thankfully these are few and far between. Edge enhancement doesn't prove to be a problem though some aliasing and mild shimmering is fairly constant and none of the transfers are flagged for progressive scan playback.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono presentation isn't perfect by a long stretch and there are a few episodes where it isn't hard to pick up on some background hiss in spots. Thankfully, however, more of them than not things at least sound decent if not great. Dialogue can be a bit soft in some episodes but in others it can be quite clear. These are far from reference quality tracks but they do get the job done and they could have been a whole lot worse. There are no alternate language or subtitle options provided.

    Carried over from the past DVD collections are a few audio commentaries that were previously recorded. These tend to be pretty interesting, often with Moore looking back on the series with fondness and a sense of humor. Roy Ward Baker pops up in a few of them too, giving his two cents on what it was like working on the show. Dead air can be a problem now and again but if you’re a fan of the show and haven’t heard these before, they’re worth checking out.

    -The Talented Husband features Roger Moore, executive producer Robert S. Baker and associate producer Johnny Goodman
    -The Saint Plays With Fire features Roger Moore, executive producer Robert S. Baker and associate producer Johnny Goodman
    -Luella features director Roy Ward Baker and Sue Lloyd

    Menus and episode direction are included for each disc in the set. The reverse side of the insert cover art includes content breakdowns for each of the ten DVDs that make up this collection.

    The Final Word:

    The Saint is a blast. It’s slick, exciting, tense and often very funny and it shows Moore at the top of his game. If you don’t have the complete series collection and want to get your feet wet without dropping the cash needed for that massive set, this is a great way to do that – but you’ll probably be left wanting to complete the run.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      Shout missed the boat by not including Sybil Danning.