AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Saint Strikes Back
Alternate Title: The Saint Stikes Twice
Director: John Farrow (Dir)
Release Date:   10 Mar 1939
Production Date:   began early Dec 1938
Duration (in mins):   67
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Cast:   George Sanders (The Saint [Simon Templar])  
    Wendy Barrie (Val Travers)  
    Jerome Cowan (Cullis)  
    Jonathan Hale (Inspector [Henry] Fernack)  
    Neil Hamilton (Allen Breck)  
    Barry Fitzgerald (Zipper Dyson)  
    Robert Elliott (Webster)  
    Russell Hopton (Harry Donnell)  
    Edward Gargan (Pinky Budd)  
    Robert Strange (Commissioner)  
    Gilbert Emery (Martin Eastman)  
    James Burke (Secretary)  
    Nella Walker    

Summary: Private detective Simon Templar, known as "The Saint," becomes entangled in an investigation of a major San Franciscan crime ring headed by an elusive character known only to the police as Waldeman. When a gang murder occurs at the Colony Club on New Year's Eve, it triggers the flight of Val Travers, the daughter of a police inspector who committed suicide after his humiliating discharge on suspicion of being a member of Waldeman's gang. Val, who has organized a gang of second-rate hoodlums to ferret out the mysterious Waldeman and thus exonerate her father, runs into Templar as she tries to elude the police. When the San Francisco police department sends for Inspector Henry Fernack of the New York City police department to help with their investigation, Fernack forms an uneasy alliance with Templar. At police headquarters, Templar hypothesizes that Travers was framed by an inside man at the police department, but his theory is ridiculed by criminologist Cullis, who suggests that Templar is Waldeman. Learning that the murdered man was to have met Martin Eastman, a well-known philanthropist, Templar breaks into Eastman's safe, where he finds a stack of federal bank notes that have been stolen by Waldeman's gang. When Eastman fails to report the robbery but visits Cullis instead, Templar suspects that Cullis and Eastman are in league with Waldeman, but the police are unable to arrest them for fear of losing Waldeman. To flush out Waldeman, Val and Templar visit Eastman's house, where Templar has secretly returned the bank notes. Faced with the stolen notes, Eastman panics and runs from the house, where he is shot. Templar and Val next pay a visit to Cullis and confront him with the incriminating notes, forcing him to confess that he framed Val's father. Unknown to Cullis, the police have installed a dictaphone in his office and are listening to his confession. When Cullis accuses Templar of being Waldeman, the police commissioner announces that Templar has been working with the police from the begininng, and Cullis finally admits that Allen Breck, Val's meek legal advisor, is the elusive Waldeman. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: John Farrow (Dir)
  Edward Donahue (Asst dir)
Producer: Robert Sisk (Prod)
  Lee Marcus (Prod exec)
Writer: John Twist (Scr)
  A. C. Edington (Contr to trmt)
Photography: Frank Redman (Photog)
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase (Art dir)
  Albert D'Agostino (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: Jack Hively (Ed)
Costumes: Renie (Gowns)
Music: Roy Webb (Mus dir)
Sound: Earl A. Wolcott (Rec)
Country: United States
Language: English
Series: The Saint

Source Text: Based on the novel Angels of Doom by Leslie Charteris (New York, 1931).
Authors: Leslie Charteris

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 10/3/1939 dd/mm/yyyy LP8780

PCA NO: 4964
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Victor System

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Detective
 
Subjects (Major): Criminals
  Detectives
  Frame-ups
  Police
  San Francisco (CA)
 
Subjects (Minor): Criminologists
  False accusations
  Fathers and daughters
  Philanthropists
  Suicide
  Thieves

Note: The working title of this picture was The Saint Strikes Twice . It was the second in RKO's "The Saint" series, and marked George Sanders debut as the title character. For more information about the series, consult the Series Index and see entry above for The Saint in New York

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   9 Feb 39   p. 3.
Film Daily   1 Mar 39   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Dec 38   pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Feb 39   p. 2.
Motion Picture Daily   20 Feb 39   p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald   14 Jan 39   p. 36.
New York Times   9 Mar 39   p. 18.
Variety   1 Mar 39   p. 15.

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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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