The Saint Strikes Back (1939) starring George Sanders, Wendy Barrie, Jonathan Hale, Jerome Cowan, Barry Fitzgerald, Neil Hamilton directed by John Farrow - movie review on The Movie Scene

The Saint Strikes Back (1939)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Jonathan Hale and George Sanders in The Saint Strikes Back (1939)

Return of the Saint

It's New Years Eve in San Francisco's "The Colony Club" and revelry is high as midnight edges ever closer but when the lights dim someone shoots a killer who was taking aim at another man. As Val Travers (Wendy Barrie) leaves she is met by a mysterious man who covers for her when the police try to stop her. The mystery man is Simon Templar, the Saint (George Sanders - The Quiller Memorandum), and Val intrigues him due to what happened to her father. Templar's appearance doesn't go unnoticed and soon his acquaintance, Inspector Henry Fernack (Jonathan Hale) of New York is summoned to San Francisco to find out if Templar is involved in a series of murders which the police believe Val is involved with. Of course The Saint is a slippery fellow with a quick but cool response what ever situation he finds himself in and he finds himself in a few here.

I tell you now I am going to pretty much ignore the actual storyline to "The Saint Strikes Back" as whilst a reasonably entertaining crime drama it is nothing special. In fact watched with too much attention to what is unfolding and the holes start to form and there are a few. So if you choose to watch "The Saint Strikes Back" just sit back and go with the flow of crime and drama.

Wendy Barrie in The Saint Strikes Back (1939)

But what I will say is that "The Saint Strikes Back" works because it is a lot more playful than the previous movie. There is the playful confidence of The Saint himself as he always seems to be thinking two steps of everyone and ready with a smart response. But there is also the visual playfulness with a wonderful scene where he tricks Inspector Fernack to get off of an airplane and then we watch him board another one behind his back with a smug smile lighting up his face. There are many more of these wonderful playful moments which makes "The Saint Strikes Back" a lot of fun.

There is also the fact that Louis Hayward has been replaced by George Sanders and Sanders very English accent works a treat when it comes to delivering the confidence and the charm of The Saint. And that is the most important thing as Sanders scoots through "The Saint Strikes Back" in full control of the character and embracing every ounce of it. It means that whilst there is also the delightful Wendy Barrie and the reliable Jonathan Hale in supporting roles it is Sanders who owns the movie from start to finish.

What this all boils down to is that "The Saint Strikes Back" is a very good follow up to the first "The Saint" movie with a wonderful playful tone which comes alive thanks to George Sanders who is well cast in the lead role.


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