Leslie Charteris’ florid pulp creation has been brought to life a number of times. Roger Moore is one of the best remembered. Indeed, Moore is arguably better as Simon Templar than as James Bond. Vendetta for the Saint was initially two episodes of the Saint television show in which Moore starred. The episodes, based on the novel of the same name, were spliced into a movie when was then released in cinemas.
The novel was ghostwritten by sci-fi novelist Harry Harrison, though Charteris edited Harrison’s manuscript significantly to put his own stamp on the final product. The movie is a more or less straightforward adaptation of Harrison’s story. The guest stars are not likely to impress anyone, nor are the action scenes.
But the Vendetta for the Saint has Moore. He exudes urbanity and devil-may-care wit. His shortcomings as an action hero are unsatisfactory to modern eyes accustomed to Jason Bourne or Daniel Craig as Bond. But if one does not like pulp escapism, one should not be watchingThe Saint (a fact that somehow eluded makers of the feature film starring Val Kilmer). The Saint was always a foppish but roguish pulp hero. With the possible exception of Vincent Price on the radio, no one has been better at portraying Simon Templar than Roger Moore.