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The Saint in Palm Springs
Director: Jack Hively (Dir)
Release Date:   24 Jan 1941
Production Date:   mid Oct--11 Nov 1940
Duration (in mins):   65-66
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Cast:   George Sanders (Simon Templar, also known as The Saint)  
    Wendy Barrie (Elna Johnson)  
    Paul Guilfoyle (Clarence "Pearly" Gates)  
    Jonathan Hale (Inspector Henry Fernack)  
    Linda Hayes (Margaret Forbes)  
    Ferris Taylor (Mr. Evans)  
    Harry Shannon (Chief R. L. Graves)  
    Eddie Dunn (Detective Barker)  
    Gene Rizzi (Bartender)  
    Joey Ray (Hoodlum)  
    Jack Arnold (Hotel clerk)  
    Robert Carson (Mystery man)  
    Richard Crane (Whitey)  
    Chester Tallman (Guest)  
    Gayle Mellott (Guest)  
    Arthur Loft (Grady)  
    James Harrison (Bellhop)  
    Frank O'Connor (Brady)  
    Norman Mayes (Club car bartender)  
    Edmund Elton (Peter Johnson)  
    Charles Quigley (Mr. Fletcher)  
    Terry Belmont (Tommy)  
    Henry Roquemore (Mr. Flannery)  
    Chick Collins (Callahan)  
    Ed Thomas (Waiter)  
    Peter Lynn (Jimmy)  
    Mary MacLaren    
    Betty Farrington    

Summary: Simon Templar, the debonair sleuth known as "The Saint," becomes involved in murder when his friend, New York City police inspector Henry Fernack, asks him to act as bodyguard for Peter Johnson, the brother of an old friend who is carrying three rare stamps valued at $200,000. Johnson has smuggled the stamps, which represent his brother's life savings, out of Europe to present to his niece, Elna Johnson, a tennis pro at a resort in Palm Springs, California. Simon agrees to accompany Fernack's friend to Palm Springs, but as Peter withdraws the stamps from his hotel room safe, a gunshot shot rings out and he falls to the ground, dead. Simon strikes Peter's assailant in the face with his "Saint" ring, but the man escapes, leaving the stamps behind. Simon then boards the train to Palm Springs, where he meets Margaret Forbes, a fellow passenger who is also bound for the Twin Palms Lodge in Palm Springs. At the lodge, Simon meets his old friend, pickpocket Clarence "Pearly" Gates, who is working as the house detective while on probation from prison. When Simon is assaulted in his bungalow by a thief in search of the stamps, he informs Pearly that he has been followed from New York and asks for his help. The next day, Pearly introduces Simon to Elna, but when he presents her with the locket in which the stamps have been hidden, she discovers that the locket is empty. Simon asks Elna for twenty-four hours to find the stamps, and after obtaining a list of the hotel guests who had checked in the previous day, he asks Pearly to pick their pockets, hoping to find the stamps. As they examine their lot, Simon finds the stamps in a pillbox containing knock-out pills. When Pearly is unable to remember from whose pocket he procured the pillbox, Simon asks police chief R. L. Graves to help set a trap for the murderer. That night, the pickpocket victims are summoned to a room to reclaim their losses, but before the owner of the pillbox can be identified, a police officer is murdered and the box disappears. Soon after, an armed man reclaims the box from Simon, but the sleuth had already removed the stamps from the box. The next morning, Simon presents the stamps to Elna, who locks them in the hotel safe. That afternoon, Elna, Simon and Margaret go horseback riding and Simon advises Elna that the stamps would be safer in her possession. When she returns to the lodge, Elna withdraws the stamps from the safe, and that night, Pearly and Simon watch her bungalow in hopes of trapping the murderer. When Elna returns to her bungalow, Margaret demands the stamps at gunpoint, but after Margaret runs outside, a shot rings out and she falls to the ground, dead. Simon then shows Elna a telegram that he had received from Fernack, informing him that Margaret was a foreign agent in search of the stamps. Margaret's death leads Simon to conclude that they are now dealing with an organized gang, and he sets another trap for the murderer by sending a note to Elna instructing her to meet him at the Joshua tree at midnight. The murderer intercepts the note, and that night, as Pearly and Elna wait for Simon, Mr. Evans, a guest at the hotel, invites Simon for a drink and drugs him with knock-out pills. Failing to find the stamps in Simon's possession, Evans orders one of his men to guard Simon while he and the rest of the gang drive to the Joshua tree. At the tree, as Evans threatens Elna, Simon, who had substituted aspirin for the knock-out pills, rides up and tricks Evans into confessing to the murders. At that moment, Chief Graves and his men appear from the shadows, and when Simon reveals the scar that the blow from his ring inscribed upon Evans' face, the case is closed. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Jack Hively (Dir)
  William Dorfman (Asst dir)
Producer: Lee Marcus (Exec prod)
  Howard Benedict (Prod)
Writer: Jerry Cady (Scr)
  Leslie Charteris (Story)
Photography: Harry Wild (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase (Art dir)
  Carroll Clark (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: George Hively (Ed)
Costumes: Renie (Gowns)
Music: Roy Webb (Mus score)
Sound: Richard Van Hessen (Rec)
Special Effects: Vernon L. Walker (Spec eff)
Country: United States
Language: English
Series: The Saint

Source Text: Based on characters created by Leslie Charteris.
Authors: Leslie Charteris

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 24/1/1941 dd/mm/yyyy LP10267 Yes

PCA NO: 6789
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Detective
 
Subjects (Major): Hotels
  Murder
  Palm Springs (CA)
  Private detectives
  Pickpockets
  Postage-stamps--Collectors and collecting
 
Subjects (Minor): Bodyguards
  Drugging
  Foreign agents
  New York City
  Nieces
  Police
  Resorts
  Riding
  Rings
  Robbery
  Tennis and tennis players
  Traps

Note: Although the character played by Wendy Barrie is addressed as "Elna Johnson" in the dialogue, the Var and NYT reviews list her name as "Elna Massen". This was the fifth and final time that George Sanders played "Simon Templar," a role he took over from Louis Hayward in the 1939 RKO film The Saint Takes Over . It was also the last of "The Saint" series produced in the United States by RKO. The next film in the series, The Saint's Vacation (see below), was produced in England to utilize studio funds frozen by the British government during World War II and featured Hugh Sinclair in the title role. According to a Feb 1941 news item in HR , the studio decided to cast Sanders as a new mystery character in a series to be developed by writers Lynn Root and Frank Fenton. The new character that was finally developed for Sanders was that of "Gay Lawrence, The Falcon," a role so similiar to "The Saint" that according to modern sources, Leslie Charteris, the creator of "The Saint," sued the studio for stealing his character. The first film in the series was The Gay Falcon (see above), which featured Sanders and Wendy Barrie, his female lead in The Saint in Palm Springs and two other "Saint" films. For additional information about "The Saint," consult the Series Index and see entry for the 1938 film The Saint in New York in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.3879. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   4 Jan 1941.   
Daily Variety   31 Dec 1940.   
Film Daily   8 Jan 41   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Oct 40   pp. 12-13.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Nov 40   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   31 Dec 40   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Feb 41   p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald   4 Jan 1941.   
New York Times   31 Jan 41   p. 15.
Variety   8 Jan 41   p. 24.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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