Sun 9 Sep 2012
THE SAINT’S VACATION. RKO Radio Pictures, US/UK, 1941. Hugh Sinclair, Sally Gray, Arthur Macrae, Cecil Parker, Leueen Macgrath, John Warwick. Based on the novel Getaway (1932), by Leslie Charteris (also a co-screenwriter). Director: Leslie Fenton.
Whenever a series character such as Simon Templar, known more familiarly as The Saint, decides to go on a vacation trip, say to Europe, you can bet your last bottom dollar that as soon as he and his companions check into their hotel, their paths will cross those of some evil ones.
Nazis, in this case, or so one suspects, as I do not believe they were ever identified as such – as well as an adventure involving several deaths and a mysterious music box that is the key to something – that something never revealed, of course, until way at the end of the movie, which by that time, we may not care any more.
Luckily the movie is just over 60 minutes long, as very little of what happens makes any logical sense, but as they say in France, it’s fun while it lasts. The was the first of two chances that British actor Hugh Sinclair had to impersonate The Saint, and if you’d like to know my impression, I think he was far too stiff and formal to be what I think of as the dashing and debonair hero I remember from the books.
Patricia Holm, Simon’s close companion who was in the book Getaway, does not show up in this filmed version. She’s replaced instead by a reporter named Mary Langdon who is played by husky-voiced Sally Gray, of whose vivacious performance I heartily approved – feminine but just brash enough to be a fitting replacement for Miss Holm, although in the movies it is a strictly separate bedrooms kind of arrangement. In the books you’re never quite sure, but somehow you just know.