The Saint-Volume 1 (1962)

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Released 20-Nov-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Introduction-Roger Moore
Episode Introductions-Roger Moore, Episode 1 - The Talented Husband
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers and Roger Moore - Episode 1
Booklet-Original ITC Publicity Booklet
Biographies-Cast & Crew-Saints And Sinners
Gallery-Photo-Photographic Evidence
Notes-The Saint At The Movies
Production Notes
Notes-Original ITC Pressbook
Isolated Musical Score-Music And Effects Track - The Element Of Doubt
Interviews-Cast-Original 1963 And 2003 Interviews With Roger Moore
Isolated Musical Score-Music And Effects Track - The Ever-Loving Spouse
Notes-ATV Television Show Book
Gallery-USA Paperback Gallery
Credits-Textless Opening And Closing Credits
Filmographies-Roger Moore
Trailer-The Prisoner, Danger Man, Man In A Suitcase, The Baron
Trailer-Strange Report, Randall & Hopkirk Deceased, And Many More...
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1962
Running Time 1170:58 (Case: 1200)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By John Ainsworth
Robert Asher
Ray Austin
Robert S. Baker
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Roger Moore
Case Slip Case
RPI $119.95 Music Chris Andrews
Edwin T. Astley
Leslie Charteris


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Pan Am gets a good plug
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Before James Bond was ever conceived, another suave English gentleman was travelling the world and keeping the forces of evil at bay. Reformed super-criminal Simon Templar (known as The Saint due to his initials - S.T.) uses all his ability and wealth to help the helpless and bring down the murderers, embezzlers, liars, and cheats in the world - all with enough time left over for romancing the ladies. Beginning as a series of short stories written by Singaporean-born author Leslie Charteris, by 1960 The Saint had appeared in radio dramas, feature films, and even a French film adaptation. The only medium The Saint had yet to conquer was television.

    In 1962 The Saint finally found his way there, and with Roger Moore in the title role - a piece of casting so perfect that it virtually guaranteed the series' success (although it almost didn't happen, with Moore well down the list of preferred choices). The Saint is excellent television - great stories, good action, and a super-hero for his times at the centre. Each episode starts in the same way - Moore looks directly into the camera and confides his opinions on his current location or circumstance. He then enters into conversation with someone in which they either say his name, or ask him to - in either case, once his name is said, a halo appears above his head and the opening titles roll.

    Dressed in suits, driving a Volvo P1800 sports coupe, and fighting evil across the world, Simon Templar is one of the 20th century's greatest heroes, and makes The Saint one of the most enjoyable television series of all time. This six disc set presents almost 20 hours of Saint action, comprising 24 episodes as follows:

    This series is must-see TV. While modern series like Alias may have the edge over The Saint when it comes to action, the far superior stories and more visceral escapism of the latter holds it in good stead as a stand-out mystery/adventure series. Oh, and all you James Bond fans (well, those that liked the Roger Moore ones anyway) should buy this now, no questions asked - you'll love it. Well, look at that - an entire review for The Saint, and I haven't even mentioned Val Kilmer...

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Okay, let's set some parameters prior to embarking on this technical analysis - these discs contain made-for-TV product dating from the early 1960s, so the expectations are somewhat lower than they would be for a recent movie blockbuster. With that in mind, this is a stellar presentation and is a pleasure to watch.

    Presented at the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (you know, back from when a widescreen TV meant jumping on it until it flattened), this transfer is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The image quality is really a tale of two sources - material shot in the studio (the majority) and material shot on location (mostly small inserts). The studio footage is very sharp, with plenty of fine detail and little grain. The shadow detail in the studio sets is good with the image having a nice amount of depth. The location footage (which incidentally almost never features any of the principal cast...and if you read the production notes is for the most part stock footage) is almost the complete opposite - soft, little detail, and large helpings of grain. Examples of this are too numerous to mention, but for reference, it can be seen from 0:24 to 0:47 in Episode 2 (The Latin Touch) and from 0:19 to 1:10 in Episode 7 (The Arrow Of God). Fortunately the location footage is used only to set up where the Saint is going to be dishing out his own brand of justice this time around, and never includes any important plot points, making its poor quality easier to bear. There does not appear to be any low level noise present.

    Given the era of the production, it is in black and white (probably an advantage, as the degradation of many early colour TV programs has been quite marked). For the most part, grey scales are smooth and present an image that is easy to discern and is not difficult on the eye. The only real problem is with Episode 20 (The Fellow Traveller) which is too "hot" with the lighter tones being more vibrant than they should be and presenting an image that is not easy to watch.

    The only compression artefact on this disc is some light pixelization that occurs on some of the heavier periods of grain. Aliasing is, however, a much larger problem. While individual items cause problems from time to time, such as the phone line at 43:49 in Episode 16 (The Ever-Loving Spouse) or the window shutters from 14:56 to 15:14 in Episode 9 (The Effete Angler), and virtually everything that is straight in Episode 8 (The Element Of Doubt), it is one of the Saint's favourite jackets that causes the most problems. It is a cross-hatched suit jacket that shimmers every time he moves, and it shows up in almost half the episodes - very frustrating. Film artefacts are also quite common, but like the grain, are far more prevalent in the location footage - but for a TV show around forty years old, it is better than expected.

    There are no subtitles present on these discs.

    These are Dual Layered discs, formatted with two episodes on each layer (that is - there are no layer changes within the episodes).

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Similar to the video transfer, this audio transfer is extremely good within the expectations for an early '60s TV series.

    For all but a few episodes, there is one audio track - the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (at 224Kbps). On the first episode (The Talented Husband) there is also an English audio commentary track presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 (probably mono again, at 224Kbps), while on the 8th and 16th episodes (The Element of Doubt and The Ever-Loving Spouse) there are isolated music and effects tracks also in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (at 224Kps).

    Dialogue is generally clear and easy to understand, although there are a few occasions where some of the accents could be difficult for those not used to them. There are a couple of problems that are isolated to individual episodes. Episodes 9 (The Effete Angler) and 23 (Judith) both suffer from some audio distortion, as if the soundtrack was being stressed, or overloaded. Episode 21 (Marcia) contains a relatively constant hum, which becomes quite annoying at times. Audio sync is mostly accurate, but there are a number of occasions where it does go out, such as from 13:36 in the first episode (The Talented Husband) and between 14:38 and 14:56 in Episode 5 (The Loaded Tourist). The instances are not all that common, and make up for only a small amount of the nearly 20 hours of material.

    The music, including the famous theme, is the work of Edwin Astley. As with many TV series even today, there is quite a bit of use of stock music cues (the fight theme is rather obvious, and pops up often enough to be easily recognised), despite the fact that this was one of the first series to have a new score composed for each episode. The slight repetitiveness aside, the music is excellent and really helps set the tone for the show.

    This being a mono soundtrack the surround channels (unsurprisingly) have nothing to do. Likewise, the subwoofer relies on re-directed bass, and there isn't much of that to be found in this forty year old soundtrack. Neither of these is at all an issue however, as there is only so much you can do based on your source material.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There is a swathe of extras on these discs. While most are text based, the effort is still excellent, and representative of this series as a true classic.

Menu

    The menus are animated, not 16x9 enhanced (obviously...), and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Audio Commentary - Sir Roger Moore (Actor), Robert S. Baker (Producer), Johnny Goodman (Production Supervisor), Jaz Wiseman (Commentary Moderator)

    This is a moderated commentary, with all three participants plus the moderator recorded in the one studio. This is an excellent commentary - there should be more moderated commentaries, as it focuses the comments rather effectively. This is easily one of the best commentaries I have had the pleasure of listening to, the only downside being it is only 50 minutes out of almost twelve hundred.

Saints And Sinners (Biographies/Filmographies)

    Found under the heading Saints And Sinners on each disc, relatively extensive biographies are provided for:

Photographic Evidence

    Available on each disc, this section presents a combination of production and behind the scenes still from the episodes on that disc. Somewhat interesting, although your mileage will vary depending on your enthusiasm for stills.

The Saint At The Movies

    A 14 page text feature on disc 1, this gives short plot synopses and cast/crew information for early movies based on The Saint.

Umbrella Propaganda

    Available on each disc, these sections feature trailers for the following Umbrella products:

Original ITC Pressbook

    Both an insert with Disc 1 (abridged), and a 13-page text feature on disc 2 (full), this is the press book released to promote the first series of The Saint. The insert is only a sampler and does not contain the full text - hence the text feature with the missing information.

1963 Roger Moore Interview (5:01)

    Contained on Disc 3, this is a TV interview with Roger Moore about his motivations for playing Simon Templar. Amusingly he smokes throughout (and mentions how happy about it he is...) - something you would be quite unlikely to see these days. The video quality is quite bad, but the footage is interesting enough to warrant viewing. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio.

Memorabilia

    Presented on disc 4, this section contains an excerpt from the 1962 ATV Television Show Book article about The Saint, and the photos of the US paper-back releases of The Saint novels made to tie-in with the TV series.

Isolated Music and Effects Tracks

    Episodes 8 and 16 (The Element of Doubt and The Ever-Loving Spouse) both feature isolated music and effects tracks. While the score is actually quite good, it isn't that good - this is for the purists only, although it is nice to see the effort put in.

Textless Credits (1:18)

    This section should probably have been entitled "Textless Credit Sequences", as it presents the opening and closing "credits" without any words (that is, the background cards only, set to music). This was done so international (non English-speaking) markets could replace the standard English credits with ones their viewers would understand. Rather dark and hard to make out, this is quite a strange little inclusion on disc 5. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio.

2003 Roger Moore Interview (9:33)

    Available on disc 6, this is a modern-day interview with Roger Moore, featuring his reflections on the series. Fascinating, and a disappointment that it is only 10 minutes long. Unsurprisingly, he doesn't smoke through this one. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio (presumably mono). In addition to this interview, Roger Moore introduces each disc (or more accurately, the same introduction is played on each disc) and the first episode.

Production Notes

    On the inside slick of each disc are detail production notes, covering many aspects of production. Fascinating, and well worth the read.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This one's easy - buy it here. This first series of The Saint is not available at all in Region 1 (their releases start from Series 5 - the first colour series), and is only available piecemeal in Region 2 UK, with 14 of the 24 episodes available across 4 separate discs (at a cost roughly equivalent to that of our full 24 episode series here). Both Region 1 and Region 2 releases of The Saint (inasmuch as they do exist) are largely bereft of extras. Saint fans here in the land of Oz have it good - so support it now, and hopefully we'll see the remaining 94 episodes released on disc.

Summary

    The Saint is some of the best TV ever made - and is far, far better than the rather more recent Val Kilmer movie. If you saw that movie and hated it, then don't let that put you off this series - this is for those who like their TV episodes, well, episodic (none of that 22-episode character arc foolishness that abounds on TV today), and their characters determined. Simon Templar would do for Sydney Bristow or Jack Bauer any day! (Oh, and fans of the Roger Moore Bonds will love this).

    The video is far better than could be expected from a 1962 TV series - the image is mostly crisp, the film artefacts are relatively unobtrusive, and it is generally a pleasure to watch.

    The audio is about as you would expect - mono, a little distorted from time-to-time, and totally serviceable. Why do we need 5.1 surround sound again?

    The wealth of extras presented here is very pleasing - this is an excellent presentation of a classic series. If you've only ever caught a couple of episodes, do yourself a favour - splash out and get the rest, because it's worth it.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Monday, January 19, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-555K, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersRochester Audio Animato Series (2xSAF-02, SAC-02, 3xSAB-01) + 12" Sub (150WRMS)

Other Reviews
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Comments (Add)
Saint Season 2 -
Fans of Moore Bond - CatonaPC© (read my bio)
Snooty Bond fans ... - Cassidy (The bionic man) REPLY POSTED
Re: Snooty Bond fans - CatonaPC© (read my bio)
Great review.. -
Yeah but ... - Evil Jimi