Posted: 07/24/2004

 

Vendetta for the Saint

(1969)

by Del Harvey



MPI Home Video releases this film from the long-running series starring Roger Moore. Visit MPI’s site here.


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In Vendetta For The Saint, Roger Moore stars as Simon Templar, a.k.a. The Saint — stylish, sophisticated and seemingly wealthy, yet his past is shrouded in mystery. Based upon mystery author Leslie Charteris’ book of the same name, Vendetta for The Saint involves Templar in a deadly case of mistaken identity. While in Italy, Templar witnesses an encounter between a casual acquaintance at the bar and a well-to-d- passerby with three bodyguards. This is Alessandro Destamio (well-known British character actor, Ian Hendry), who claims he’s from an aristocratic Italian family, yet the casual acquaintance, a bank manager, believes Destamio to be Dino Cardelli, a former bank clerk. When the bank manager is found murdered, The Saint is determined to discover Destamio’s true identity.

Templar befriends Destamio’s terrified girlfriend, Lily (Aimi Macdonald) and soon lands in jail on false charges. A local investigator, Marco Ponti (George Pastell), orders his release and warns him he’s come up against the Sicilian mafia. Turns out it’s a critical time for the crime family—Don Pasquale (Finlay Currie) is dying and Destamio/Cardelli wants the job.

Simon Templar risks his life to prove that Destamio is really Cardelli, and in so doing survives multiple assassination attempts, plants a seed of doubt about Destamio in Don Pasquale’s mind, and enlists beautiful women to help him solve the case.

The film originally appeared in two parts of the long-running television series from Granada Television, who do a bang up job of shooting Sicilian locations on an English backlot. DVD extras include audio commentary with Roger Moore.

This is not the same Simon Templar you may have seen in the 1997 film starring Val Kilmer. Roger Moore’s Saint was a true knight in shining armor who rarely performed any of the book character’s robberies or heists. Moore’s Saint is more wealthy playboy, better suited for Sixties television and the hunky young Moore, who looks for all the world as though he is in preparation for his most sought after role as James Bond.

Vendetta For The Saint is missing the signature title theme. Other than that, the DVD presents the show just as remembered. For Moore fans, or diehard fans of The Saint, this is one to own.

Del Harvey teaches screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago, and is probably one of the few people who liked Val Kilmer in the ‘97 film.



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