3 May 2013 | csteidler
Louis Hayward returns as hard-nosed Simon Templar
This final picture in the Saint series is connected to the early 1940s RKO entries only by the presence of Louis Hayward, the original Simon Templar in 1938's The Saint in New York.
This time around, the Saint seeks information about a girlfriend who cabled him for help—and then crashed her car into the river before his arrival on the scene. The police call it an accident, but
Hayward is a smooth-talking Saint whose smirk is alternately insolent and charming; caught red-handed snooping through an apartment, he merely removes the cigar from his mouth and asks politely, "Pardon me
do you have a match?" He can play rough, however, as well—he does not hesitate to slap around a crook who has sneaked into his own room and doesn't want to tell who sent him.
The Saint is assisted by right-hand man Hoppy (Thomas Gallagher), a reformed pickpocket (of course) who doubles as valet and bodyguard. The "girl Friday" of the title is a woman named Carol (Naomi Chance), whose help Templar enlists in tracking the mob that killed his girlfriend and is threatening and manipulating Carol over gambling debts.
The plot is okay but nothing extraordinary, although the identity of the secret mob "chief" did surprise me at the end. The mood is rather darker than that of the fairly breezy comedy-mysteries of a decade earlier; however, Louis Hayward's confident performance, a fair amount of droll humor, and some atmospheric London underworld settings combine for an entertaining and still essentially light-hearted adventure.