The Saint

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The Saint is a 1997 film based on the character of Simon Templar created by Leslie Charteris in 1928 for a series of books published as "The Saint." Aside from the book series, which ran until 1983, the character has also featured in a series of Hollywood movies made between 1938 and 1954, a 1940s radio series starring Vincent Price (and others) as Templar, a popular British television series of the 1960s which starred Roger Moore, and a 1980s series starring Ian Ogilvy.

The film stars Val Kilmer, Elisabeth Shue, and Rade Šerbedžija. It was directed by Phillip Noyce and written by Jonathan Hensleigh and Wesley Strick.

In the movie, Templar is caught trying to steal a microchip from Ivan Tretiak, a, ex-communist-turned-billionaire who dominates the gas and oil market in Moscow. Tretiak hires Templar to steal the formula for cold fusion from an American scientist named Dr. Emma Russell in exchange for the $8 million needed for him to reach $50 million, the amount Templar needs in order to retire from thievery for life. Assuming the identity of Thomas More, Templar locates Dr. Russell and attempts to get close enough to steal the formula, but things get very complicated shortly after he realizes he is falling for her...

In this version, Kilmer's character does not claim to be the Simon Templar created by Charteris. He is, in fact, an orphan who chooses his name, Simon Templar--the first name from Simon Magus, and the last name from his childhood heroes, the Knights Templar. He refers to himself as Templar only during a flashback sequence at the start of the film.

Tropes used in The Saint include:

Original Saint Books and Stories:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: In "The Newdick Helicopter", a Con Man sells a mark plans for a 'helicopter' (actually a gyrocopter). When the mark assembles the helicopter, he discovers it cannot take off vertically as he expected it to. Assuming he had put it together wrong, he starts tinkering with it and ends up inventing a fully functioning helicopter. (Note that this story was published in 1933, several years before the first fully functioning helicopter was built.)
  • Go-To Alias: Sebastian Toombs
  • Knight in Shining Armour: In "The Last Hero", one of the earlier Saint novels (1931), Simon Templar takes backstage to his gallant and tragic associate Norman Kent, who falls in love hopelessly with Templar's girlfriend Patricia Holm (who hardly notices him) and at the end of the book sacrifices his life to let Templar and his other comrades-in-arms escape the current villain and fight again another day. A book called "Knights Errant of the Nineeteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries" by Caroline Whitehead and George Mc Leod says it all: "Norman Kent is an archetypal knight-errant. Though formally a man of 20th Century England, he lives (and dies) by the Code of Chivalry. He loves totally his Lady, Patricia Holm - who, like Don Quixote's Dulcinea, is not aware of that love. He is totally loyal to his Liege Lord, Simon Templar. Like Sir Gawain in "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", Norman Kent takes on the threats to his Lord. Not only physicial threats to life and limb, but also the sometimes inavoidable need to take dishourable acts which would have reflected badly on the reputation of King Arthur/Simon Templar is taken on, wholly and without reservation, by Sir Gawain/Norman Kent."
  • Long Running Book Series
  • Themed Aliases: Simon's aliases often use the initials 'S.T.'