The Saint (tv series and movies)

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  • Posts: 14,764
    Gerard wrote: »
    A few decades ago, a specialist in the works of Maurice Leblanc, Michel Lebrun, decided to list the ten commandments the perfect gentleman thief had t follow if he wanted to be a successor to the master of them all, Arsène Lupin. I read in a magazine the list, and the various gentlemen thieves, and how they fared (the best ones only managed to respect seven of them). However, one name was absent : Simon Templar, which surprised me, give,n how much an influence Lupin was to him. So, let's see if Templar respects these commandments (admittedly, I haven't read all his adventures, but enough to make some educated guesses).

    1) Gentleman toujours resteras, dimanche et fête mêmement. (Gentleman you shall always be, including on sundays and feast days)

    One can say that Templar respects that one.

    2) Escroc, cambrioleur seras, mais toujours sympathiquement. (Conman and burglar you will be, but always sympathetically)

    Yes, definitely.

    3) Bandits et canailles dépouilleras, mais jamais les honnêtes gens. (Crooks and scoundrels you will rob, but never honest people).

    One hit more. In all his career, Templar has robbed the Ungodly, but never honest, hardworking people.

    4) Tes forfaits signeras, d’un bristol très élégamment. (Your crimes you will sign, with a bristol, very elegantly)

    Well, the Mark of the Saint is one of the most famous calling card in the world.

    5) Veuve et orphelin défendras, au péril de ta vie souvent. (Widow and orphan you will defend, with your life frequently)

    Definitely. Templar always defended the innocent from the enterprises of the ungodly.

    6) Homicide point ne seras, sauf exceptionnellement.(Homicidal you'll never be, except rarely)

    On that point, Templar is a bit more murderous than his model. Just a bit, mind you, but still...

    7) En amour, toujours séduiras, mais souffriras conséquemment. (In love, You'll always seduce, but will suffer consequently).

    Doesn't seem like Templar suffers from love. He was, after all, faithful to Patricia Holmes in the earlier novels, and the various women he met after that didn't seem to have made him suffer iin any way.

    8) Xénophobe te montreras, ton chauvinisme l’exigeant. (Xenophobic you will show yourself to be, your jingoism demanding it).

    On that point, Templar doesn't seem to have a xenophobic bone in his body (and as for Lupin, let's remember the time at which the novels were written, some occuring during World War One).

    9) Désinvolte et gouailleur seras, jusque dans tes derniers moments. (Flippant and cheeky you will be, even in your last moments)

    Definitely, and how !

    10) En expert te maquilleras, pour mieux égarer les agents. (In expert you will disguise yourself, the better to fool the cops).

    I haven't seen Templar putting some make-up, false beards and/or moustaches, or other disguises.

    Well, seven out of ten isn't bad, I think. What do you think ?

    I think Templar is not always so "désinvolte ", from little I've read of him. But even Lupin can loose his cool sometimes, come to think of it, and more often than one would think. That said in many ways Templar is Lupin's bastard son.
  • Posts: 1,680
    SaintMark wrote: »
    Agent_99 wrote: »
    mtm wrote: »
    Maybe try a hairdryer? I’ve heard that can work.

    Thanks - I'll give that a try!

    I don't suppose the member who started this thread, @SaintMark, is still around? They should be able to change the title to make it more general. Or maybe a mod could do that for us.

    Your wish is my command,

    I am still around but the last 4 movies of the most recent 007 era and its leading man and his influence on the series were not so much my cup of tea. Hence less involvement but still hovering around.

    "hovering" is a good description. Lucky for us we now have a clean slate for Bond as we move forward. I'm looking forward to what they do with the new Saint movie.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    I've never had the chance to check the show out yet, but anyone wanting to watch the lovely Sir Roger in The Saint can find what appears to be the entire series on Shout Factory:

    https://www.shoutfactorytv.com/series/the-saint
  • Posts: 1,537
    Ludovico wrote: »
    mtm wrote: »
    Maybe try a hairdryer? I’ve heard that can work.
    There was also a solution to take off stamps from envelopes, but can't remember what it was. Might work for tags too. Any philatelists among you?

    I don't know why they use price tags for second-hand pulp novels. Surely you just need to put a price on the bookshelves and that's it.

    What does it matter if someone is from, or presently residing in Philadelphia ? Hmm...
  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe "I tolerate this century, but I don't enjoy it."Moderator
    Posts: 13,850
    In my experience, a hair dryer, on a low setting, is good for removing price stickers from books. I don't know of any other methods, but a hairdryer has worked for me in the past.
  • Posts: 1,537
    As for Bond's feelings on the subject, you know, there was this lady in Philadelphia...
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,640
    Since62 wrote: »
    Ludovico wrote: »
    mtm wrote: »
    Maybe try a hairdryer? I’ve heard that can work.
    There was also a solution to take off stamps from envelopes, but can't remember what it was. Might work for tags too. Any philatelists among you?

    I don't know why they use price tags for second-hand pulp novels. Surely you just need to put a price on the bookshelves and that's it.

    What does it matter if someone is from, or presently residing in Philadelphia ? Hmm...

    It's all philosophical.
  • Posts: 1,537
    Touche !
  • Posts: 2,879
    The Saint in Florida

    Leslie Charteris lives the life of his favorite character

    By Ian Glass (Tampa Bay Times, Feb. 9, 1964)

    The Saint sipped his dry martini on the rocks and eyed the characters lounging in the shadows of the Arcade Tap Room, the ritziest (and possibly only) hostelry boasting customers this hot Saturday afternoon in the little Florida East Coast town of Delray Beach.

    Outside, the main drag of Atlantic Avenue, whose trade seemed to be exclusively devoted to the fashion-conscious matrons now drifting down from the cold North for the season, was nearly deserted.

    The Saint, who wore a short-sleeved sports shirt, dark slacks and white sneakers (no socks) looked incredulously at the statue of a boy spouting water in the bar’s palm-fringed courtyard, hastily downed his martini and ordered another.


    Thus might start a story about that Robin Hood of modern crime and scourge of the underworld, Simon Templar, whose deeds of derring-do over the past 30 years have been chronicled in 36 books and translated into 15 languages.

    Inevitably it would unfold with the entrance while the Saint was downing his third martini, of a beautiful girl—with fear in her eyes.

    In fact, the suave, 6-foot, 2-inch gentleman at the bar was the creator of this most durable of rogues, 56-year-old Leslie Charteris, who is the embodiment of his hero right down to the engraving of the spindly Saint figure on the identification band of his wrist.

    The Saint was the first of a line of handsome, devil-may-care, sybaritic, fast-talking, tough-fisted, irreverent nemeses of evil, whose most popular representative now is probably James Bond, Agent 007 of the Ian Fleming novels.

    Mr. Charteris sipped that third martini and fell to musing on the changing public taste in mystery heroes (the girl with fear in her eyes had failed to make an entrance).

    “I read very few mystery novels,” he said. “There is always a danger the plot may stick in my subconscious and eventually turn up, embarrassing, in one of my own stories.

    “However, I thought I’d better catch up on this Fleming character who was supposedly setting the world on fire. Well, I read two chapters of Goldfinger and had to give up.

    “I couldn’t believe my eyes. The plot was ancient. I had read it before many years ago in one of Sapper’s Bulldog Drummond stories.

    “As for Dr. No…that, let’s face it, was just Fu Manchu in modern dress. Pure hokum. I really cannot understand his success.” He shook his head. “Very puzzling.”

    I mentioned I thought Sean Connery, who stars in the Bond movies, would have made an admirable Saint. Mr. Charteris looked pained. “Physically perhaps, yes,” he said. “But he just isn’t sophisticated enough. No culture, you know. Too many rough edges.”

    Few people, in fact, could play the part of Simon Templar better than his creator.

    The years have been kind to Mr. Charteris (born Leslie Charles Bowyer Yin of an English mother and a Chinese father, the descendant of emperors).

    He is still lithe, tanned, handsome and only slightly gray-haired, a fact attributable perhaps to a dislike of over-exertion and a penchant for sunshine (Florida, in the winter, Europe in the summer).

    These are luxuries he can well afford. Apart from royalties from his books, the sale of his Saint Mystery Magazine, residuals from old Saint movies that keep popping up on the TV late show and a weekly series of Saint TV adventures now showing in the United States assures him of a green future.

    The Saint made his [first] appearance in Charteris’ third detective novel. It was called Meet The Tiger. But the memory of those early days, when he turned out adventures one after another while simultaneously tooling around pre-war London in a slinky Lagonda with a monocle stuck in his eye, makes Mr. Charteris shudder almost as much as the vision of James Bond.

    “Those first books,” he said, leaning on the bar, “were awful, frankly.”

    “They were immature and shallow and I was at a silly age. What the hell did I know about life then? However, they did make money, which allowed me to indulge in the carefree life.

    “I can’t really think of a single novel I wrote I would care to seal in a capsule and leave to posterity. Well, perhaps one—a translation of the autobiography of the Spanish bullfighter Juan Belmonte. But heck, that made no money.

    “That’s why I gave up writing novels. I probably will never write another. I find the art of short-story writing much more exciting. The Saint appears only in short stories now.

    “Any fool can sit down and write and write and if he writes long enough he’ll come out with something. But it takes an artist to write a good short story. I have written, I believe, a few…”

    The first movie Saint was Louis Hayward. “This was a desperate move, actually. The film company had sat on the story for three years waiting for Fredric March to take the part. They finally would up with Hayward.

    “George Sanders starred in most of the others. He was even worse. I can’t imagine anyone who less fitted the description of the Saint and he turned in constipated performances.

    “My ideal, you know, was always Cary Grant. But we never could afford him.”

    Mr. Charteris professed he was pleased with the latest actor to tackle the part: British-born Roger Moore, who plays in the one-hour TV segments.

    “I never had to much success, you know, in choosing my screen characters. Hollywood doesn’t lean too heavily on the opinions of the original writers.”

    Mr. Charteris, now married to his fourth wife, became a U.S. citizen in 1946. They spend the summers touring Europe where he “gets things in proper perspective again” and also picks up locales for his plots.

    “We live in hotels. That is the ideal life. Everything is laid on. I am so untechnically minded I couldn’t replace a door knob.”

    It is a different world the Saint lives in now. He rarely kills anyone, rarely indulges even in brawls, relying instead on cerebration to solve the situation. (“I have also become extremely lazy,” Mr. Charteris said, by way of explanation).

    The Saint no longer smokes (“How could anyone ignore the overwhelming medical evidence?”), and he has long dropped his first love, the beautiful Patricia Holm (“After all, you know, she’d be about 50 now…”).

    And I discovered another sad note when we walked out into the Florida sunshine. Gone, too, are the days of the Hispano-Suiza and the Lagonda.

    Mr. Charteris drove off in a battered 1954 Ford station wagon.
  • Posts: 987
    I enjoyed that, thanks.

    I gather by the thread title, (TV and movies), that we're in danger of incurring the ever-vigilant moderators' wrath by discussing the literary Saint. I do hope it doesn't 'kick off'!
  • Agent_99Agent_99 enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 3,094
    Cary Grant as the Saint! My goodness...that could have worked.
  • Posts: 2,879

    The James Bond Phenomenon

    By Leslie Charteris (The Saint Magazine, March 1966)

    FOREWORD:

    The following article was specially commissioned by a new American magazine, Diplomat, and in it will be found all my reservations about the assignment and my reasons for finally accepting it.

    I have decided to reprint it in the British edition of the Saint Magazine [Dec. 1965] so that all the other English-speaking readers who are patient enough to listen to me may have the same opportunity of hearing my views on a subject which I have hitherto thought it more discreet to evade. And I may ultimately decide that I should have done better to remain discreet.

    But discretion can be carried to the point of dreariness, and I have finally felt it better to be true to my own obnoxious self.

    Otis L. Guernsey, jun., a former drama critic of the New York Herald Tribune, and now editor of the Arts department at Diplomat, wrote me when he received it: "I enjoyed the article hugely, it has exactly the arrogant good taste which makes it fun to read." I hope the rest of you will see it in the same light.

    L.C.

    For several years now, reporters in many places and different media have been asking me "What do you think of James Bond?" The gleam in their eyes telegraphs only too clearly that they are hoping for a headline, which of course means something disparaging, because nothing makes such good copy as a feud. And knowing that anything less than fulsome praise could be twisted or selectively misquoted to make me sound snide, petty or jealous, (the regrettable delight of a great many interviewers) I have always steadfastly declined to answer on the grounds that "I don't think an author ought to discuss his competitors." This of course was strictly a weasel out. But having been invited here more or less to write my own interview, I can at least be sure that anything that may be held against me will be something I did say.

    It would be nonsense to raise the question of "bad taste" in connection with my temerity in discussing James Bond. The crime-story reviewer of no less a paper than the New York Times, Anthony Boucher, is the author of a number of published mysteries. It could be argued that he seems these days largely to have retired from creative production (to my personal regret) but I have never heard any writer complain that a Boucher panning was influenced by Boucher's status as an author. In fact, it could logically be argued that the man best qualified to review a detective story is an established detective-story writer. At any rate he has demonstrated that he can practice what he preaches, and has indeed successfully done so. I wish I could disfranchise any dissenting nit-think by stating that I am really immune to "professional jealousy," that I love to see any writer make money with anything (there are so few who do), and that I feel that even in these days of television-whittled literacy there is still room for all of us.

    In a milieu even more enthralled by star-mania than the world of books, that Jack Lemmon may top the latest box-office poll does not mean that Gregory Peck should go out and shoot himself. Without any sickening false modesty, therefore, I must say at once that I am well aware that I, like Ian Fleming, am the creator of another successful continuing character with a world-wide following; a character who also became something of a household word and who inevitably would (and did) evoke comparisons that could hardly hope to avoid a taint of rivalry. I realize that I must probably be talking to the wind when I try to say now that I have outgrown any feeling of competitiveness in my profession; that the racket has been extraordinarily good to me and I need not begrudge anyone else anything they can get out of it; that the fame and fortune of Mr. Fleming never had any more impact on my life than those of Mr. Onassis or the Beatles, so that I can come out and talk like anybody else with what might be termed impartial professional judgment.

    When I accepted the invitation of this space I probably knew less about James bond than practically anybody. The reason is that for many years I have avoided reading anything whatsoever that approaches my own line of country, out of a somewhat fanatical desire to avoid the risk of unconscious imitation. I had still never read one of the Bond books when the movie Dr. No came out. I went to see it, attracted more by the physique of Ursula Andress than by the fact that it was a James Bond picture. Later, believing that it would not be fair for me to hold an opinion of James Bond based solely on a movie version, I made a point of reading the first Ian Fleming novel I came across, which happened to be Goldfinger. When I accepted the present assignment I had to do a crash course of reading, which, through trying, may have had the advantage of concentrating my impressions in a way that could never have happened if I had been assimilating the books as they came out, at the calendrical rate of one a year. As my notes rapidly accumulated, I discovered that, as a perhaps tedious perfectionist about my own details, I was collecting a list of accusations against Fleming as a sloppy writer of English and an ignoramus about a number of subjects, in some of which he tried to present himself as an authority.

    Fortunately my conscientious research also led to the discovery that the James Bond fad had already generated a (to me) bizarre literature of its own, ranging from The James Bond Dossier, by Kingsley Amis, himself a British novelist of some distinction, to paperbacked 007 James Bond, a Report, by O. F. Snelling, and For Bond Lovers Only, a complication of shorter magazine and newspaper effusions by various commentators. Among them, they pinpricked nearly all the technical errors which I had red-pencilled, and made up for the others by throwing in another crop which I had missed. So now I am free to say, without being called personally picayune, that for all his pretensions of thoroughness Fleming indeed spattered his books with boners which have been documented by other students before me. I mean the type of clanger which has a sailor talk about "getting to leeward of the stink" when he means he wants to get away from it; not knowing the medical difference between a fracture and a dislocation, and saying that a Swiss bank would readily confirm whether a certain person had an account with it. Mr. Amis had even beaten me to the dissection of a majestic passage which I had tucked away as a potential grenade: "As a woman, he wanted to sleep with her..." (Casino Royale).

    I could multiply these examples, but the job has already been down on a much more comprehensive scale than we have room for here, by experts who also profess to be admirers. But the great and increasingly fascinating question, to me, is: how and why did this Bond character, whose best friends seem to delight in tearing him down, achieve this incontrovertible eminence which he has lately enjoyed?

    With an almost fevered desire to find good reasons without truckling to a cult, I have performed spine-cracking backbends in the effort to find something laudable. And I have to confess failure. I cannot with honesty rate James Bond as anything but a tiresome slob. I will acquit him of responsibility for all the environmental errors with which Fleming has burdened him, but for his personal picture we can only refer to Fleming because this is the only text. And this portrait is not one which I can personally admire from any angle. Despite Fleming's own publicized experience in war-time Intelligence, and his plausible preoccupation with the minutiae of the British Secret Service (about which I know precious little), the agent whom he depicts would surely have flunked out of the OSS. For example, this unenlightened clot goes to bed with a pistol under his pillow (the silliest place to keep it, I recall being taught). In the broader plan, he habitually commits tactical blunders which can hardly be diagrammed in much less space than Fleming took to work them out, but which must regularly have his brighter audiences squirming for him. To be sure, no matter what bloopers he makes, he has only the simpletons of SMERSH or SPECTRE or whatever to worry about. In this he is unlike other operators in the field who have had to cope with jeopardy from the Law as well; operators such as the Four Just Men, Bulldog Drummond (with whom Amis and Snelling both persist quite irrelevantly in comparing Bond), or even, if I dare mention him, the Saint.

    Is he, then, endearing? Not, apparently, to the devoted commentators who have taken time out from their own work to study him with such profundity. They concede that his material snobberies, the lists of capitalized product and purveyors which make some pages of the books read like thinly disguised radio commercials, may begin to grate on sensitive ears. They admit, not without pride, that "he treats women badly," this being a modern symbol of masculinity and independence, but his selfishness is forgivable because he does physically belt them in the chops, like some of his cruder predecessors.

    There is a perilous temptation to theorize from incidental data. The first book of what was to become a sequence of hardy Bond annuals appeared in 1953, and lit no candles in the sky. Nor did the next two, although their sales maintained a reassuring growth. It was in 1957 or '58, as best I can determine from the bibliographies, that the reprints began to accelerate. Then, in 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States, and amid the mass of obiter dicta attributed to him was the statement that his favorite author was Ian Fleming. Immediately the James Bond sales charts rocketed into the upper margin.

    This may have been sheer coincidence. President Eisenhower, in his time, was reported to be an avid reader of Westerns, which did nothing perceptible to resuscitate the long declining sale of Westerns in reading (as distinct from movie or television) form. It would be illogical to claim that the Kennedy seal of approval transformed a moderate success, overnight, into a global best-seller.

    There is no doubt that the movies triggered and continued to power Bond's second great leap forward. To skillful assemblages of Technicolored hokum, starring an excellent and personable actor, they added a visualization of Bond's women which is still a monument of inspired casting, and which undoubtedly brought the books to the attention of many million people who would otherwise have never opened one. I feel that most of those new-found readers should have been disappointed when they discovered that Fleming's literary style was neither as suspenseful nor as sexy as the technique of the film photographers, yet the book sales suggest that an awe-inspiring percentage of them stayed on to become addicts of the original books. How, then, can we rationally assess the global hysteria which has taken up this Bond cult and given him the biggest sale of any fictional character of our time, a popularity reaching from presidents to peasants, and made him a household word even in countries and cultures utterly alien to everything he stands for?

    He is not likeable as a personality (I repeat, I am talking about the James Bond of the books, not Sean Connery) and even the women who are supposed to keel over before his virility never get fond enough in their most passionate moments to call him anything more familiar than "James." His Epicurean veneer still leaves him a Mike Hammer in an Old Etonian tie. He is not clever, he makes the most amateurish mistakes and falls into the oldest and most obvious traps. Finally, he has no sense of humor.

    I think the contrast I must make, much as I should have preferred to keep the Saint out of it, is that I have more than once called Simon Templar "a man born out of his time," whereas James Bond is unmistakably and rigidly a man of his time. Ian Fleming was actually a year younger than I, but he did not give birth to Bond until he was 45, long after World War II and even after the Korean sequel. I wrote the first Saint a full generation, 25 years, earlier, when I was under 21. I began in an era when I could be unreservedly fired by the swashbuckling zest of a picture like Douglas Fairbanks' The Three Musketeers, and wished that I would have lived in such a colorful world or that some of its spirit (as interpreted by Fairbanks) could be brought back. Fleming started in middle age, after he must have outgrown any daydreams of that kind. He seems to have shared the disillusion and pragmatism of that decade. The Saint was a deliberate attempt to create a hero in the antique heroic sense: James Bond is the calculated contemporary non-hero, just as the Beatles are non-music--and he is enjoying the same vogue.

    Raymond Chandler, a literary landmark in his own right, has called Ian Fleming "the best thriller writer since Eric Ambler"; yet to me Ambler always seemed to preserve some of the romantic glitter which Fleming did his best to extirpate. Fleming set his sights and welded them in place on the last page of his first book (Casino Royale) when, after spending the last third of the book developing the tender side of an affair between Bond and the girl, he has her write what to my old-fashioned sentimentality was a moving confession that she has always been a double agent, but for love of Bond she can't go on, and the only way out for her is the overdose of sleeping pills which she takes. Fleming, irrevocably riding the nouvelle vague which he has adopted for his own, has James Bond speak the most brutal epitaph I have ever read, reporting the incident to his boss: "The bitch is dead now."

    This is to me the quintessence of Fleming's contribution to the literature of escape. Instead of using his talents to try in some small way to stem a murky and joyless tide, he dove deep into it. And he shut the escape hatch.
  • Agent_99Agent_99 enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 3,094
    Revelator wrote: »
    I think the contrast I must make, much as I should have preferred to keep the Saint out of it, is that I have more than once called Simon Templar "a man born out of his time," whereas James Bond is unmistakably and rigidly a man of his time.

    That's an excellent comparison! He's also dead set against nostalgia and fantasy - for his childhood, for fairytales, for the war, for villains who think they're some kind of old-school king or samurai - though sometimes he can't help indulging himself in it a little.

    Though I think Bond is more self-aware (and has more of a sense of humour) than Charteris allows; when he meets Tracy there's a 'here we go again' about his assessment of her as a bird with a wing down who needs saving.

    I love Charteris's prose - he has a longwinded, humorous style that's very English and reminds me of Wodehouse and Dorothy L. Sayers - but I think he's wrong to criticise Fleming's style. I can't speak for the errors but I think his use of language and choice of words is bang on. People sometimes ask me what I think of Fleming's writing, and my convenient answer is that if it wasn't good, I wouldn't like the books so much.
  • Posts: 2,879
    Well said! One of the major differences between their prose styles is that Fleming was\ influenced by Hemingway (and Chandler) and Charteris wasn't.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 14,794
    Thanks for sharing this article, looking forward to a read later.
  • Posts: 611
    It's weird to see Charteris describing Templar as a hero with "swashbuckling zest" from a more innocent time, when he sometimes wrote the character as a gleefully homicidal vigilante (particularly in The Saint in New York). I like Charteris's writing and the Saint books, but there is something clearly "off" about the protagonist that I find more cynical and disturbing than Bond.
  • edited June 2022 Posts: 2,879
    There were a lot of moments in "The Bond Phenomenon" when I called BS on poor old Charteris.
    And knowing that anything less than fulsome praise could be twisted or selectively misquoted to make me sound snide, petty or jealous...I have always steadfastly declined to answer

    A wise rule unwisely disregarded. This article doesn't need any misquoting to make him sound snide, petty, and jealous.
    I wish I could disfranchise any dissenting nit-think by stating that I am really immune to "professional jealousy"

    To quote Monty Python, "oooh, what a giveaway!"
    I must say at once that I am well aware that I, like Ian Fleming, am the creator of another successful continuing character with a world-wide following; a character who also became something of a household word and who inevitably would (and did) evoke comparisons that could hardly hope to avoid a taint of rivalry. I realize that I must probably be talking to the wind when I try to say now that I have outgrown any feeling of competitiveness in my profession

    Not just talking to the wind but beating around the bush. It's never a good sign when someone engages in so much throat-clearing. Why doesn't he just come right out and say Bond is enjoying more success on screen and on the best-seller lists than the Saint? The article would be so much better if he just admitted to feeling jealousy and exploring why.

    It's understandable that Charteris would be bitter. He'd created and been writing about a gentleman-tough guy hero decades before Fleming, but the movies treated the Saint with much less respect. 1940s Hollywood relegated him to B-movies and programmers, while two decades later Bond was given something close to A treatment. While Bond was ruling the box office the Saint was confined to the less prestigious medium of television. While Charteris was getting burnt out on writing fiction Fleming was selling millions.
    When I accepted the present assignment I had to do a crash course of reading...As my notes rapidly accumulated, I discovered that...I was collecting a list of accusations against Fleming as a sloppy writer of English and an ignoramus about a number of subjects, in some of which he tried to present himself as an authority....Fortunately my conscientious research also led to the discovery that the James Bond fad had already generated a (to me) bizarre literature of its own, ranging from The James Bond Dossier...007 James Bond, a Report...and For Bond Lovers Only...Among them, they pinpricked nearly all the technical errors which I had red-pencilled, and made up for the others by throwing in another crop which I had missed.

    I find this hilarious. First Charteris says he's embarked on a "crash course" of reading and assembling a damning list of nitpicks, then he decides to read three books about Bond instead and finds they've done all his work for him! And the result? Three boners. That's the damning evidence of Fleming as a sloppy writer of English and an ignoramus. Not impressive when spread across 14 books, but Charteris tells us "he could multiply these examples." More likely his second-hand reading could. Charteris doesn't give any evidence of having read beyond Casino Royale and the sliver of Goldfinger he mentioned in the interview upthread. He claimed to have deduced the latter's plot after reading two chapters...which is frankly impossible.
    how and why did this Bond character, whose best friends seem to delight in tearing him down, achieve this incontrovertible eminence which he has lately enjoyed?

    Good-naturedly pointing out a few errors is not the same as tearing down, but the difference probably isn't clear to a jealous writer grasping at straws.
    I cannot with honesty rate James Bond as anything but a tiresome slob..[he] would surely have flunked out of the OSS. For example, this unenlightened clot goes to bed with a pistol under his pillow...In the broader plan, he habitually commits tactical blunders...no matter what bloopers he makes, he has only the simpletons of SMERSH or SPECTRE or whatever to worry about...He is not likeable as a personality...His Epicurean veneer still leaves him a Mike Hammer in an Old Etonian tie. He is not clever, he makes the most amateurish mistakes and falls into the oldest and most obvious traps. Finally, he has no sense of humor.

    This is what the Romans used to call vituperation, the process of trashing your opponent with the most vividly abusive language you can find, no matter if it contains little criticism of substance. Bond make mistakes! He sleeps with gun under his pillow! How can anyone like him when the Saint is so much better?! AAARRRRGHHHH!!!!!! [Shakes fist at God and Sean Connery.]
    ...the devoted commentators...admit, not without pride, that "he treats women badly," ...but his selfishness is forgivable because he does physically belt them in the chops, like some of his cruder predecessors

    Fleming's Bond never does this, though movie Bond does. Charteris's crash course plows into reality once again.
    I began in an era when I could be unreservedly fired by the swashbuckling zest of a picture like Douglas Fairbanks' The Three Musketeers, and wished that I would have lived in such a colorful world...Fleming started in middle age, after he must have outgrown any daydreams of that kind.

    And yet Fleming reference Fairbanks in You Only Live Twice. Putting this aside, if your idea of hero is from a period silent film made in 1921, why act bitter if the public prefers something less antique?
    James Bond is the calculated contemporary non-hero, just as the Beatles are non-music

    I guess Connery's Bond and Charteris can agree on something, even if it's one of the dumbest opinions imaginable. Yet again the Saint's creator does a great job of not sounding at all like an old fart.
    Ambler always seemed to preserve some of the romantic glitter which Fleming did his best to extirpate. Fleming set his sights and welded them in place on the last page of his first book (Casino Royale) when...[he] has James Bond speak the most brutal epitaph I have ever read...Instead of using his talents to try in some small way to stem a murky and joyless tide, he dove deep into it. And he shut the escape hatch.

    Perhaps this would sound like a tenable opinion if your crash course consisted of no more than Casino Royale (despite its ending not being representative of the series) and two chapters of Goldfinger. But faulting Fleming for lacking romantic glitter is the bizarre opposite of the usual criticism from everyone else, which faults Fleming for having too much glamour and romantic glitter compared to "serious" writers like Ambler and Le Carre. So again, Charteris is talking balls and sounding like a jealous competitor. His ghost is probably still raging.
  • Posts: 14,764
    Great analysis @Revelator !
    Questions for everyone: why did Bond succeed where Templar felt short? I have a few answers myself: mainly Fleming is a superior writer and Bond is unique in himself, if that makes sense. For all his qualities, I found the Saint to be a poor man's Arsene Lupin.
  • Posts: 2,879
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Great analysis @Revelator !
    Questions for everyone: why did Bond succeed where Templar felt short? I have a few answers myself: mainly Fleming is a superior writer and Bond is unique in himself, if that makes sense. For all his qualities, I found the Saint to be a poor man's Arsene Lupin.

    Thanks! Bond came along at the perfect time. Postwar prosperity meant people were willing to accept more sex and consumerism in fiction. Travel was also becoming more in reach of more people. All this meant that the public was more ready for Bond than any other time in history. Additionally, whereas the Saint had to settle for B-movie treatment in the 40s, Bond came along right when he could score A (or A-, B+) treatment onscreen. Bond thus had greater fantasy appeal. There also seems to have been room for only one major gentleman-tough-guy hero in the public's mind. The Saint could occupy a section of TV, but Bond ruled at the box office. It's almost as if the archetype could have only one avatar.
  • Posts: 14,764
    Revelator wrote: »
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Great analysis @Revelator !
    Questions for everyone: why did Bond succeed where Templar felt short? I have a few answers myself: mainly Fleming is a superior writer and Bond is unique in himself, if that makes sense. For all his qualities, I found the Saint to be a poor man's Arsene Lupin.

    Thanks! Bond came along at the perfect time. Postwar prosperity meant people were willing to accept more sex and consumerism in fiction. Travel was also becoming more in reach of more people. All this meant that the public was more ready for Bond than any other time in history. Additionally, whereas the Saint had to settle for B-movie treatment in the 40s, Bond came along right when he could score A (or A-, B+) treatment onscreen. Bond thus had greater fantasy appeal. There also seems to have been room for only one major gentleman-tough-guy hero in the public's mind. The Saint could occupy a section of TV, but Bond ruled at the box office. It's almost as if the archetype could have only one avatar.

    I'd also say that these are two different archetypes, or at least that their differences put Bond at an advantage. The Saint is in many ways a slightly modernised Arsene Lupin, which by the time Templar came to be had already started to be dated. Bond is more relatable: he's more middle class, he's a civil servant, he works for Queen and Country, not for his own gain, etc. Bond may have expensive tastes, but he definitely has tastes and preferences: we know what he likes to drink and eat. Templar? Not really, at least from what I have read.
  • Posts: 2,879
    Yes, good point. The Saint stems from the gentleman-thief tradition of Lupin and Raffles, whereas Bond is a company man who nevertheless has an exiting job and whose tastes entice the reader. The Saint drives a made-up car called the Hirondel, whereas Bond drives Bentleys and Astron Martins that are described in mouth-watering detail.
  • edited July 2022 Posts: 611
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Great analysis @Revelator !
    Questions for everyone: why did Bond succeed where Templar felt short? I have a few answers myself: mainly Fleming is a superior writer and Bond is unique in himself, if that makes sense. For all his qualities, I found the Saint to be a poor man's Arsene Lupin.

    I've only read a few of Charteris's books, but enough to know that I don't agree.

    The Saint in New York is absolutely riveting and one of the best crime thrillers I've ever read -- and certainly (I think) equal to the best of the Bonds. Although not as focused, She Was a Lady a.k.a. The Saint Meets His Match is gripping in its off-kilter, episodic approach.

    The problem is, the books did get to be a bit formulaic once Charteris decided to tone down the character -- Templar is basically a homicidal maniac in The Saint in New York -- so Saint Overboard, for example, while very well-written, has less of an interesting edge to it.

    I always thought Tarantino would've done a solid adaptation of The Saint in New York, and he's clearly a fan of the book because a paperback copy makes an appearance in Inglorious Basterds. The Louis Hayward movie is good but abbreviated (The '40s RKO movies, by the way, have charm and flair, and anything with George Sanders is automatically worth watching.)
  • Posts: 2,879
    Escalus5 wrote: »
    anything with George Sanders is automatically worth watching.)

    Can't disagree there. Sanders is always captivating. I have a couple of Saint books that I've been shamefully tardy in getting around to; if The Saint in New York isn't among them I'll have to purchase it.
  • Posts: 14,764
    Escalus5 wrote: »
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Great analysis @Revelator !
    Questions for everyone: why did Bond succeed where Templar felt short? I have a few answers myself: mainly Fleming is a superior writer and Bond is unique in himself, if that makes sense. For all his qualities, I found the Saint to be a poor man's Arsene Lupin.

    I've only read a few of Charteris's books, but enough to know that I don't agree.

    The Saint in New York is absolutely riveting and one of the best crime thrillers I've ever read -- and certainly (I think) equal to the best of the Bonds. Although not as focused, She Was a Lady a.k.a. The Saint Meets His Match is gripping in its off-kilter, episodic approach.

    The problem is, the books did get to be a bit formulaic once Charteris decided to tone down the character -- Templar is basically a homicidal maniac in The Saint in New York -- so Saint Overboard, for example, while very well-written, has less of an interesting edge to it.

    I always thought Tarantino would've done a solid adaptation of The Saint in New York, and he's clearly a fan of the book because a paperback copy makes an appearance in Inglorious Basterds. The Louis Hayward movie is good but abbreviated (The '40s RKO movies, by the way, have charm and flair, and anything with George Sanders is automatically worth watching.)

    Well I haven't read many to compare, but we're talking about the body of work, not a specific novel. From what I read, prose for prose, I'd take Fleming any day. And you said yourself that Charteris toned down his character and ended up writing formulaic books.
  • Fire_and_Ice_ReturnsFire_and_Ice_Returns I am trying to get away from this mountan!
    Posts: 22,848
    I have been rewatching The Return of the Saint its a shame its run was cut short. Ian Ogilvy was no Roger Moore though he is IMO the second best Simon Templer. Ian does remind me of Moore on occasion, not sure if that was deliberate. I always felt not showing the star of the show in the opening credits was a bad move.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,843
    Among the differences between Fleming and Charteris, there is quality over quantity. But Leslie Charteris did come first.

    Maybe mentioned already, of course Fleming married a Charteris.

  • Posts: 14,764
    I have been rewatching The Return of the Saint its a shame its run was cut short. Ian Ogilvy was no Roger Moore though he is IMO the second best Simon Templer. Ian does remind me of Moore on occasion, not sure if that was deliberate. I always felt not showing the star of the show in the opening credits was a bad move.

    In the "new" Saint movie, Ian Ogilvy seems to be the only actor having genuine fun.
  • Fire_and_Ice_ReturnsFire_and_Ice_Returns I am trying to get away from this mountan!
    edited February 2023 Posts: 22,848
    Ludovico wrote: »
    I have been rewatching The Return of the Saint its a shame its run was cut short. Ian Ogilvy was no Roger Moore though he is IMO the second best Simon Templer. Ian does remind me of Moore on occasion, not sure if that was deliberate. I always felt not showing the star of the show in the opening credits was a bad move.

    In the "new" Saint movie, Ian Ogilvy seems to be the only actor having genuine fun.

    The Adam Rayner film yes Ian is certainly enthusiastic despite the film suffering from TV movie syndrome. Just watching the film now, Ian gets to say 'Well I have got all the time in the world' I recall he was considered for Bond briefly.

    I read Ian did not take the cancellation of The Return of the Saint well so its good to see him return for the movie in a prominent role.
  • Fire_and_Ice_ReturnsFire_and_Ice_Returns I am trying to get away from this mountan!
    edited November 2023 Posts: 22,848
    Creasy47 wrote: »

    Could be a good fit, I am a fan of Liman ( The Bourne Identity the best film in the series for me), and I think Regé-Jean Page is more suited to play Templar than Bond.
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