The Saint – ‘The Saint plays with Fire’ (1963): introducing Roger Moore’s greatest non-Bond role

8 JANUARY 2024

JBC rating: ****

James Bond Connections (5):

  • Starring Roger Moore (James Bond 1973 – 1985) as Simon Templar, a.k.a The Saint.
  • Featuring Joseph Furst (Professor Doctor Metz in Diamonds Are Forever) as chief villain Kane Luker.
  • Featuring Robert Brown (M, 1983 – 1989) as Howard Jackman.
  • Featuring Joe Robinson (Peter Franks in Diamonds Are Forever) as henchman Austin.
  • Featuring John Hollis (uncredited as ‘Blofeld’ in For Your Eyes Only) as henchman West.

Veteran English producers Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman achieved international success with their classic action-adventure television series The Saint (1962-69), an adaptation of author Leslie Charteris’ long-running series of novels and short stories following the adventures of smooth crime fighting playboy Simon Templar. Baker and Berman were essentially a small screen version of James Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, making similar successful creative choices. Just as Sean Connery would be the vital element differentiating Dr No (1962) from the 1954 U.S TV play, ‘Casino Royale’, Baker and Berman’s series eclipsed several lacklustre 1940s American-made Saint B-movies by casting the skilled and charismatic Roger Moore as the dynamic lead character. Though Templar was a freelance crime fighter / adventurer in contrast to the state employed Bond, the characters share obvious parallels, and few can have been surprised by Moore’s eventual casting as Connery’s successor in 1973.

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