Simon Templar. AKA the saint. Debonair and dashing adventurer, always fighting the good fight, most likely to be found driving at breakneck speed through the countryside with a beautiful blonde on his arm whilst evading the police and on his way to save a beautiful girl from a fate worse than death.
Probably best known for the Roger Moore tv version, but there have been attempts since, and he was also on film, and he started out in books back in the 1930's.
Speaking as someone who read a lot of saint novels when I was growing up decades back, that period was the best for the character. Afterwards he lost his supporting cast and went globe trotting, and was never quite as good. 1930's saint was the best, and here we have two radio dramatisations of Saint novels from the 1930's. These were made in 1995.
There are two discs here, with one story on each. They both run roughly fifty seven minutes. With no breaks in the middle other than chapter ones on the disc. There are minimal sleeve notes giving cast details and the dates of original broadcast, plus a short biography of the writer who created the Saint.
In the Saint overboard he comes to the aid of a lady insurance investigator off france who is on the hunt for buried treasure. In the Saint plays with fire an attempt to rescue a man from a fire at a country house leads him to dealing with a fascist organisation who are attempting to take over france.
Both are relatively simple adventure and crime plots typical of the time. And that time is the aforementioned 1930's. That's the strength of these plays in that they recapture the spirit of the time. From period music to characters who speak in authentic 1930's speech patterns, this gives them a delightful period feel.
Two nice bits of nostalgia for Saint fans, and two decent bits of period crime drama for anyone else. Worth a listen.
This was an interesting collection of 2 radio dramatisations, and had an authentic period feel. The voice talents were well-chosen, and the accents, whilst a bit over-the-top to modern ears, were nowhere near as plummy as the real accents of the time.
In story terms, these were true to period, and that means that they were also a bit dated by modern standards. I doubt that the adaptation was an easy job, because being faithful to the source meant being a bit old-fashioned. It's a case of been there, seen it, heard it - the plot was very cliched so many years after they were written, and the times very different to what we know and expect today. The police and servants all have the predictable rough low-class voices to distinguish them from the plummy upper class toffs, and the police aren't as smart as Templar, who is so smooth, he'd slide off any surface. The villains are also very obvious, and don't hide their true intentions. So it's not a drama for somebody who would have trouble with a Scooby Doo plot.
Given visuals, or placed on TV, it might have made for a decent Poirot, or other Agatha Christie. Don't expect the pacing to match the 1960s Roger Moore, or the later TV version.
In short, it was fun to listen to, but felt a bit to simplistic for my tastes. You need more than an hour to do a dramatised novel proper justice.
This is one of those wonderful old fashioned BBC plays, the ones my mother used to listen to in the 50's - although it is not made in the 50's, far from it, it is such a good take on how recordings used to be made. I loved it, great story, very well acted, as opposed to actors reading a script in front of a microphone, and easy to follow. I listen to these stories in the car, making long journies far more enjoyable.
The story itself, Simon Templar alis The Saint is nothing like the television series. In fact I must admit to being somewhat shocked by the behaviour of Simon Templar, occasionally not very saintlike. Mind you it did add a certain something to the story and, like I have already said, I really enjoyed it, so much so that I am almost ready to listen to it again.
on 27 June 2010
Having never read any of the Saint novels, and only catching snippets of Roger Moore on TV, I came to these two radio dramatisations without any preconceptions.
As we've come to expect from the BBC, the production quality is superb, and whilst they have a lovely nostalgic and old fashioned feel to them, which will no doubt please the hardcore Saint fans, I found the actual stories to be rather dull - not terrible, but certainly not anything which would warrant a second listen.
At about two hours in total, these are good value for money, and you could do far worse, but I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy any others in a hurry.
This product features two full-cast audio adaptations of the Leslie Charteris stories, originally published in 1936 and 1938. Neither Saint Overboard nor The Saint Plays With Fire has been updated. Paul Rhys makes an effective Simon Templar, and the rest of the cast ably support him. I particularly enjoyed John Hollis' performance as The Saint's valet Orace.
Some of the dialogue is cheesy, though entertaining. One character speculates: 'What is wealth without women?' Another tells The Saint, 'You're walking a tight rope Saint, watch out you don't slip!' The kissing and cuddling sound effects are unintentionally guffaw-inducing, but I guess it can be difficult to convey such action using sound alone.
Saint Overboard is the simpler story and is easy to follow, even when you're busy doing something else while listening. The Saint Plays With Fire has a bigger cast of characters to keep clear in your head. The ending of this story is rather rushed, but this didn't detract unduly from my enjoyment.
Overall this two-CD set, originally broadcast in 1995 on Radio 4, is of the usual high quality one expects from the BBC. While some of The Saint's attitudes are rather dated, he remains charming company. This stories are exciting and sedate. There is something reassuring about Simon Templar's adventures, which perhaps hints at his continued popularity.
A number of reviews point out the "old-fashioned" nature of these stories, and they would have a point. For me though, therein lies part of their charm. Whilst perhaps not coming close to the excellence of the Roger Moore television series, these adaptations are fun and eminently enjoyable.
I enjoyed disc 1, Saint Overboard, the best. Effortlessly charming, Paul Rhys makes an excellent Simon Templar and able backup is provided by Patsy Kensit. Disc 2, The Saint Plays with Fire was less successful to my ears, with Fiona Fullerton failing to impress in her role. Geoffrey Whitehead however is quite superb in this episode.
To a large extent you know what is coming in any Saint story, but that doesn't mean that the hour or so that it takes to get you there can't be enjoyable. Indeed, if you've an hour long drive coming up in the summer months (assuming we get any sun) you could do a lot worse than getting one of the CD's as something to accompany your journey. It sure will fly by. Just don't get into character too much and get caught by a speed camera!
Simon Templar, AKA the Saint, is a classic hero who has entertained us since the 1930's, and will hopefully be around for a lot longer yet. Thief, rogue and a gentleman, he is a character full of charm, wit and bravery whom it is hard not to like.
In these hour long radio adaptations of two of Leslie Charteris' stories, Paul Rhys takes on the role of Templar, following in the footsteps of George Saunders, Vincent Price, Roger Moore, Ian Ogilvy and Val Kilmer, to name a few. There are some big boots to fill there, but aided and abetted by a spirited cast who get right into the swing of it, and a typically good audio production from the BBC, he manages well, providing a Saint with the right amount of arrogance, wit and charm.
Geoffrey Whitehead pops up in each play, as two different villains, and does a grand job of the menacing, ruthless foreign criminal. Patsy Kensit co stars in `Saint Overboard', and brings a lot to her role. In all this is a charming two hours of high adventure and mystery. Almost as good as reading the books!
I didn't know who Paul Rhys was, but gave this a go. He hasn't quite got the suave, cool sexuality that Roger Moore had in the television series, but he makes a good fist of it. He does capture the era well, though the production is bang up to date. It's entertaining if not particularly exciting. It has the old fashioned charm of the 30s, when these stories are set, & Patsy Kensit & Fiona Fullerton fit brilliantly in to this. Their performances are perfectly pitched to complement these old-fashioned but compelling yarns. The production is sharp & clear, the stories almost innocent, but The Saint in this CD shows a side that wasn't really evident in the TV series...not quite as Saintly as you would have thought! I really enjoyed this CD: the retro, authentic feel to the stories; the uniformly excellent performances; the crisp, clear production. I had a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours listening to this, & would recommend it to folk who enjoy a good, well produced yarn.
If you were brought up on The Saint as I was, you have to rid your mind of Roger Moore playing Simon Templar. The character in this audio version is very different from Roger Moore's TV version. I actually listened to both stories twice, to see if I enjoyed them more once I was used to a different actor playing the main role. The second listening did help in that respect.
This audio version is a collection of 2 stories. Once past the very different feel of these from the TV series, I thought they were ok, but unfortunately no better than that. Yes, they had the feel of the 1930s, but the stories themselves were just not very exciting and they felt like they had been abridged (particularly The Saint Plays with Fire). I thought that The Saint Overboard was better than The Saint Plays with Fire, but neither was that great. So, they are just about ok (I know other reviewers rate them higher than I do), but they would not be top of my Wish List.
Never having read Leslie Charteris' Saint novels my only experience of the character was the British television series from many years ago. However, I still enjoyed listening to these BBC Radio 4 adaptations which were originally broadcast in 1995, and feature Paul Rhys in the title role. Both of novels featured in this two disc set last almost one hour apiece so obviously they must be truncated quite a lot, though you'd never guess it from listening as they work so well. They have also been well put together with background sounds, and as I sat in my garden listening to the two audiobooks I was transported into the world of Simon Templar with ease. Recommended.