Saintly Diversions

  Over the holiday, I read Roger Moore's delightful memoir MY WORD IS MY BOND and I watched the documentary THE SAINT STEPS IN…TO TELEVISION. Both are a "must" for any fan of THE SAINT. But if I had to pick just one to recommend, it would be the book.

Moore's good humor and engaging personality comes through on every page of his memoir. Although the book is a fairly superficial skimming of his life and career, there's still plenty of amusing anecdotes and production details for die-hard MAVERICK, SAINT, PERSUADERS and Bond fans (the stories about THE PERSUADERS are particularly entertaining).  But readers looking for scandalous details about his love life, or those of other Hollywood personalities, will be disappointed.  Overall, it's a fast, informative, and fun read.7952968med

Many of the stories Moore tells about the Saint in his memoir are repeated in the documentary, only not as well. The documentary, narrated by Roger Moore and Ian Ogilvy, is bloated, plodding and unbelievably repetitive. That's not to say there isn't some real gold in there for SAINT fans and students of television in general…but you have to pan through a lot of  gravel to get to it.

I enjoyed the interviews with the SAINT writers (and interviews about the writers), the
discussions about script troubles, and the nasty script notes from author Leslie Charteris…but even that got extremely tiresome after
a while, since they basically kept repeating the same anecdotes, or
variations of the same anecdotes, over and over, long after the points were made. That's true of every subject the documentary tackles (it felt like an hour was spent just talking about what a nice guy Roger Moore is). And there's a long section about going from black-and-white to color episodes that can be marketed as a cure for insomnia.

The section on THE RETURN OF THE SAINT moves much more briskly, but the whole project feels needlessly padded … which, in fact, it was. The documentary is actually two shorter films made as "DVD extras" for the series boxed sets that were combined and expanded to fill a standalone release. I'll bet that the shorter versions play much, much better…and are every bit as informative.

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