AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Saint in London
Director: John Paddy Carstairs (Dir)
Release Date:   30 Jun 1939
Production Date:   completed May 1939
Duration (in mins):   70, 72 or 77
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Cast:   George Sanders (Simon Templar, also known as "The Saint")  
    Sally Gray (Penelope Parker)  
    David Burns (Dugan)  
    Gordon McLeod (Inspector Claud Teal)  
    Henry Oscar (Bruno Lang)  
    Athene Seyler (Mrs. Buckley)  
    John Abbott (Count Stephen Duni)  
    Ralph Truman (Kussella)  
    Charles Carson (Mr. Morgan)  
    Carl Jaffe (Stengler)  
    Norah Howard (Mrs. Morgan)  
    Ballard Berkeley (Richard Blake)  
    Charles Paton (Tobacconist)  
    Ben Williams (Wilkins)  
    Hugh McDermott (Tim)  

Summary: At a dinner party at her aunt Edith's, Penelope "Penny" Parker makes the acquaintance of debonair Simon Templar. While attracted to her, Simon is more interested in the actions of another guest, Bruno Lang. As the party breaks up, Lang finds a note in his car from "The Saint," a detective well-known on both sides of the Atlantic. Penny, suspecting that Simon is The Saint, follows him to Lang's home, where Simon steals a document out of Lang's safe. As Simon and Penny escape together, they discover a beaten man stumbling along the road. After getting the man medical attention, Simon learns that he is Count Stephen Duni, who was kidnapped and forced to print £1,000,000 worth of counterfeit bills. Duni names his kidnapper as Kussella, a business associate of Lang's. Simon leaves Duni under the name of Claud Teal in a hotel run by Mrs. Buckley. The real Teal, an inspector at Scotland Yard, suspects Simon of the robbery at Lang's house. Penny amateurishly trails Kussella to a tobacco shop, where she, in turn, is kidnapped. Kussella offers Simon to trade Penny for Duni. Simon agrees, but with the help of his valet, Dugan, manages to release Penny from Kussella's clutches before the trade. The group goes to Mrs. Buckley's hotel, where they learn that Duni has been killed by an unknown assassin. Teal arrests Simon for the murder, but only as an act to confuse the real killers. Simon goes to Duni's embassy, where he impersonates Teal and meets Stengler, Duni's killer. Simon and Penny then go back to the tobacco shop, only to discover that the crooks have left. Simon calls Dugan, who tells him that he has captured Stengler and Lang at Lang's home. No sooner does Dugan hang up the phone, however, then Kussella arrives and turns the tables on the valet. Simon and Penny arrive at Lang's home, and are immediately captured. Lang gives Simon one hour to return his stolen document, or he will kill Penny and Dugan. At his car, Simon pulls out a hidden knife, stabs Lang and hides his body in the trunk. Simon goes into the basement to rescue Penny and Dugan, then captures Kussella and Stengler. The chauffeur arrives and accidentally shoots and kills Kussella instead of Simon. Teal arrives next, and Stengler claims that Simon killed Kussella after kidnapping Lang and stealing one million pounds. At Scotland Yard, Stengler is brought into Teal's office, where he is confronted by Simon, Peggy, Dugan and Blake, a member of the Secret Service. Lang is then brought into the office, having been arrested for espionage and murder, and he tells Simon that he finally met a man smarter than himself. Simon takes Peggy back to her aunt, fearful of becoming a brow-beaten husband like Teal. As the two leave, Dugan says, "I thought she had him." Teal, so used to listening to his wife, replies "Yes, dear." 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: John Paddy Carstairs (Dir)
Producer: William Sistrom (Prod)
  Lee Marcus (Prod exec)
Writer: Lynn Root (Scr)
  Frank Fenton (Scr)
Photography: Claude Friese-Greene (Photog)
Art Direction: C. Wilfred Arnold (Art dir)
Film Editor: Douglas Robertson (Ed)
Music: Harry Acres (Mus dir)
Sound: Cecil Thornton (Rec)
Country: Great Britain and United States
Language: English
Series: The Saint

Source Text: Based on the short story "The Million Pound Day" by Leslie Charteris in his The Holy Terror (London, 1932).
Authors: Leslie Charteris

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 30/6/1939 dd/mm/yyyy LP8960

PCA NO: 5439
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Victor System

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Detective
 
Subjects (Major): Counterfeiters and counterfeiting
  Detectives
  Espionage
  London (England)
  Money
  Murder
  Scotland Yard (London, England)
 
Subjects (Minor): Aunts
  Chauffeurs
  Escapes
  False accusations
  Gambling
  Hotels
  Impersonation and imposture
  Kidnapping
  Knives
  Marriage
  Police inspectors
  Physicians
  Rescues
  Safes
  Socialites
  Tobacconists
  Valets

Note: This was the third film in RKO's "The Saint" series, and the first filmed in Great Britain. For more information on this series, see the entry below for The Saint in New York and consult the Series Index. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   1-Jul-39   
Daily Variety   22 Jun 39   p. 3.
Film Daily   19 Jul 39   p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Jun 39   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   27 Jun 39   p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald   1 Jul 39   p. 44.
New York Times   19 Jul 39   p. 23.
Variety   12 Jul 39   p. 13.

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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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