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4.7 out of 5 stars75
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 12 January 2010
So suave, tall and handsome he didn't have a boring proper job like all the other men I knew. He didn't seem to work at all, had plenty of money, lived in a swish mews apartment, drove a flash foreign sports car, invariably had a gorgeous girl on his arm, could fight like a Trojan and always did 'the right thing'. What more could a six-year-old boy aspire to? Roger Moore as Simon Templar was brilliant and these early black and white episodes are equally so, in every parameter: scripts, characters, acting and technical quality. They've done a fantastic job on the re-mastering. Honestly!

But the bit I loved most was at the beginning of each episode when the camera zoomed in and 'Simon' addressed 'the viewer' - like he was taking him/her into his confidence. I felt he was talking only to me. Then one of the characters would say something like, 'But everybody knows the famous Simon Templar.' The little white halo would appear above his head, and Ted Astley's memorable theme music would start. Ivor Dean as inspector Claude Teale was also brilliant, as were the many other famous names that appeared throughout the series - great actors and actresses never to be forgotten.

I really cannot recommend this set highly enough.
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on 13 July 2010
The 71 episodes contained in the COMPLETE MONOCHROME SERIES take an awful lot of commitment of your time to get through (and if you want more there are a further 47 featured in the COMPLETE COLOUR SERIES box) and as to whether you can really be bothered to will rather depend on quite how much you love the series.

THE SAINT is one of those rather frustrating series that can be both a little bit brilliant and a little bit awful at the same time but is always at the very least entertaining and when it's good, it's very good indeed. Personally I think that the Black and White episodes are generally stronger than the later colour ones, but that might just be because they seem more atmospheric and the shortcomings of things like back projection can be more easily ignored. The monochrome era also differs from the colour era by having Simon Templar address the audience directly at the start of the show which is an unusual technique but went a long way towards engaging the audience with the character. Of course, the series dates from simpler times, so the storytelling is usually pretty straightforward as it comes from the days before ongoing story arcs became so popular in television action dramas, so every story is pretty self-contained and can stand alone if you're just in the mood for (just under) an hour of thrills and adventure, but of course this means that every episode has to stand or fall on its individual merits and some are obviously better than others.

The ITC stable gave us many fine action/adventure series of a type no longer really made for modern audiences, but THE SAINT was pretty much the pick of the bunch. Of course, certain aspects of the show have seriously dated. The roles of women and foreigners are fairly typical of that era and may grate to modern sensibilities, and the world of the rich and wealthy that Mr Templar breezes through is probably lost forever (if it ever really existed at all) and every businessman seems to keep a revolver in his desk drawer. There is the occasional tendency towards the smug or the glib, and the fact that Simon Templar is so "famous" does tend to be glossed over when the story requires him not to be recognised but overall there's a real sense of charm if you look for it.

The production is all on film and despite a lot of it being studio based there's a fair amount of location work too, although the extensive use of stock footage to represent the foreign locations does have to be glossed over in order to enjoy the stories fully, but, if you approach these episodes with an open mind, you'll find a lot to enjoy here.

Roger Moore can be a very underrated actor, but he was almost born to play Simon Templar, and, as the other actors who have tried to follow in his footsteps have shown, nailed it completely, and played it absolutely pitch perfect, despite being quite far removed from the character in the books. Anyone who might have an attempt at playing Templar nowadays should really just try and be Roger Moore because, like Patrick MacNee as John Steed, it's just perfect casting that really can't be bettered.

There's a whole galaxy of guest stars forming pretty much a cross section of the cream of British acting talent from the early 1960s, including some of the most iconic actors and actresses there have ever been, sometimes in very early roles. Occasionally they turn up again playing different roles a mere handful of episodes apart. Anyone who was anyone back than, it seems, appeared in THE SAINT. Ivor Dean eventually becomes the default and definitive Inspector Claud Eustace Teal after a couple of tryouts with other actors and forms a very engaging rapport with the thorn in his side that Templar seems to be. There are also early outings for directors who went on to greater things, like Peter Yates who takes his cameras out onto the gritty mean streets of post-war London to trial some of the car chase techniques he would later use so effectively in BULLITT.

Extras include some excellent booklets, a shortish documentary which continues across other SAINT releases, and commentaries on some key episodes as well as a collection of other bits and pieces in a rather exhaustive and well produced release.
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This is a great release of the classic ITC series The Saint. This first DVD set contains all the black and white episodes. And although there is a further set in colour, this set is better.
The Saint is a long running TV series starring Roger Moore as Simon Templar. The character, Simon Templar is a sort of Robin Hood like adventurer. He has wealth that enables him to travel the world helping people out of difficult situations. He is handsome and suave. His initials are ST, which is also an abbreviation for "Saint".
Simon Templar often uses a disguise and sometimes used the name Sebastian Toombs.
The series was based on the books by Leslie Charteris. This is particularly true of the first few episodes. The version of the story for this series was created by the series scriptwriters. The original books had been written in the 1920s and they had been adapted for film before.

The stories in these black and white series are really good. There are some strong plot lines and the production style and acting is fabulous. There are many guest stars. Some were well established at the time and others became more famous after the time of The Saint. There are a few regular characters. Most notably Ivor Dean as Templar's nemesis/reluctant ally, Inspector Teal.
Simon Templar usually works alone but occasionally joins forces with other characters.
Later the series was made in colour and they changed a few things. But one thing that distinguishes these early episodes is that Simon Templar speaks to the audience at the start of every episode. (With the switch to colour this gimmick was replaced by simple narration) This gives a feeling of closeness to the character as he is talking to us. Then we are drawn into the background activity which will conclude in the pre credits when someone refers to the Saint as "the famous Simon Templar", at which point an animated halo appears above Templar's head as the actor usually looked at the camera or directly at the halo. Some episodes such as "Iris" broke away from this formula and had Templar address the audience for the entire pre-credits sequence, setting up the story that followed.
The music soundtrack by composer Edwin Astley is fabulous.
This is one of the best series from ITC and it is really entertaining. The series has style and originality and still gives pleasure despite being in black and white and nearly fifty years old. It is highly recommended.
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on 27 September 2006
at long last, every black and white episode from "the saint" is released in one boxset for the first time on d.v.d.

this is the series that really started the "cult t.v" craze in my opinion. i can't think of another british programme that is as popular as this one, except maybe "the prisoner" or "the avengers."

the black and white programmes ran from 1962 until 1965 and amount to 71 in total.

only roger moore could bring leslie charteris's creation of simon templar to life, as he has easily made the character his own. i have noticed attempts by other actors to play the part; george sanders being one of the better ones.

there is an interesting documentary on the making of the early series, but should have been on for longer than it is.

despite the fact that very little was done in the way of location shooting, the script, acting and direction more than compensate.

in each episode you will notice quite a few familiar faces in the supporting cast; derren nesbitt, patrick troughton, anthony booth, nigel davenport, john carson, dudley sutton, oliver reed, honor blackman, shirley eaton plus many others.

also included are a few audio commentaries which are good at explaining what went on during the making of an episode.

the company who released this should hopefully be doing the same with other similar programmes. let's hope so.
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on 16 May 2010
I missed most of The Saint the first time round as I was out having fun - it was the 60's! So now I am in my 60's I treated myself to these DVD's. I am enjoying them immensely. The quality is far better than it would have been on the old 405 lines TV sets and to see a lot of actors when they were young is great. The stories are very good and despite the strange accents in some episodes I still really enjoy the nostalgia. To see how England was in the 60's, the cars, etc is just what I like. Roger Moore looks so good, unlike today's unshaven stars! I would recommend this DVD set to anyone.
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on 5 September 2009
I don't need to add to the comments which are all good, except to say that the video quality is so far excellent. Looks like they have been remastered. Many of the classic sixties series, not just the Saint, must have been written by masters of their craft. The plots, characters and dialogue are for the most part top-notch and believable and written by worldy-wise people who understood the psychology of behaviour. Even though everything is repackaged into an entertainment format with the inevitable cliches, stock characters and standard plots, it's all done with a sure hand and is written by adults for adults - unlike many modern series which are written by morons for morons with characters which are just plain silly. I think these earlier series are actually better than the colour series. Everything about these early Saint episodes is fresh and enjoyable - and I've never seen them before. I've only watched a few so far so I can't comment yet as to whether the standard is maintained!
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on 4 February 2010
Having bought The Complete Saint Series One set some time ago I eagerly anticipated the same with series two and so on. Instead, Network decided to release 2 complete box sets (both B/W and colour) giving the ardent Saint fan the opportunity to own the lot.For me, the B/W episodes were the best and to have them all, along with a documentary on the making of the Saint, plus more, makes this an essential purchase.It comes in attractive packaging including booklets and, of course 18 discs
with all 71 B/W episodes.This is Classic 60's British TV - I never would have imagined that as a young lad watching these back then, that I would have them all on my DVD shelf to play at my own leisure. I highly recommend this - at a great price too!

Steve
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on 9 March 2012
Not much to add to the glowing reviews already submitted. I am really impressed with the quality, the picture and sound are both great - they've been re-mastered to a very high standard.

Only seen 3 discs so far so can't comment on the whole set but what I have seen has been really good. I was only a few months old when the show started so don't remember it at all.

I'm loving.....
- Simon's introduction to each show (omitted from the later colour episodes),
- Seeing the same old faces (only a few episodes in and Shirley Eaton has popped up twice so far!!)
- Simon's accent which has, on occasion, an odd American twang to it
- His hair barely moving.... even after a good scrap - have you ever noticed that in most shows from this era anyone who gets a chop across the shoulder is always knocked out??, brilliant :-)
- The fashions and all the old cars (the roads seem virtually empty at times)
- Even the obvious studio sets (when it's supposed to be an exotic location) don't detract from the story

You don't have to worry about the kids watching it.............. no sex, no swearing and any violent scenes are over pretty quickly with very little carnage or bloodshed. It's good, clean escapism to a bygone era of TV.

A must for all fans of the Saint and anyone feeling just a little bit nostalgic.
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on 26 December 2012
I reside in America, and being a fairly devoted fan of The Saint TV program, had purchased all the Region 1 DVD sets released by A&E. Unfortunately, although all 47 of the color episodes were released, only 28 of the 71 black and white episodes were made available on Region 1 DVD, and no further releases from A&E have occurred since 2005.

Thankfully, The Saint Complete Monochrome Series has provided the opportunity for me to complete my collection of The Saint series. The dashing Roger Moore is absolutely fabulous as Simon Templar, a man with a notorious reputation, who lives his life motivated by a unique set of ethics that often gets him involved in adventure and intrigue.

The Saint was the literary creation of Leslie Charteris, whose stories are the basis for the 71 episodes in this impressive 18 disc set released by Network. This set constitutes the first four seasons of The Saint, from 1962 through 1965. Extras include a pair of "episode guides", image galleries on every disc, commentary tracks, and a retrospective documentary. Image quality of the episodes is soft in places, but quite good for a program fifty years old, with little signs of dirt or deterioration.

Leslie Charteris may have had his differences with the way his stories were adapted, however making allowances for the medium of television, these episodes are fairly faithful to the source material, and do a good job of capturing the essence of Simon Templar. With Edwin Astley providing the music, The Saint is one of the greatest of the many fine programs produced by ITC Entertainment during the 1960's.

Simon Templar's travels take him all over Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as his native Great Britain. Roger Moore has the presence, charisma, and physical stamina to carry the series, and the program's guest cast includes many of Britain's best actors of the era, including of course many beautiful women. Ivor Dean assumes the role of the droll Inspector Claud Eustace Teal in Episode 28, and is one of the few reoccurring characters in the series.

A region free DVD player is required to view these discs, however they can be had for less than $50. Providing a gateway to enjoying so many films and television programs that are not yet available in North America, the investment is it is well worth the cost. Fans of The Saint may also be interested in Edwin Astley's four CD soundtrack for The Saint, which is usually available at Amazon UK, as well as The Saint The Complete Colour Series.
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on 21 November 2009
These are great quality DVD's. There are very few special features but they are terrific digital transfers and look and sound great. Te Saint was a great series and these are a must have for any fan of the Saint. You can see where the idea for shows like White Collar and Burn Notice come from when you watch these episodes.
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