Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Thursday 5 November 1964

Tonight's episode of The Saint is set in South America (it doesn't get any more specific than that), where we first see Simon Templar watching a game of jai alai, which he refers to as South America's"national sport", showing a rather poor grasp of what a nation is. He claims the other "national sports" are bullfighting and revolutions, but before he can educate us further a man with a gun is requesting that he accompany him elsewhere.  Clive Cazes, playing the gun-wielding Esteban, has the most fascinating nose I've ever seen.  And the woman sat behind him looks pretty interesting too (sadly we don't see any more of her).

Once Esteban and his crony have driven Simon to his destination the Saint manages to disarm him, but by that time they're already in a busy hotel restaurant, where they're greeted by Esteban's boss, exuberant local police chief Captain Xavier (Eric Pohlmann).  Xavier claims to be a big fan of the Saint, and that he wants his help in investigating a beautiful mystery woman (Suzanne Lloyd) sat at another table.  He claims to know nothing about her except that she's attracted the attention of local crime bosses Pablo and Manuel Enriquez (Peter Arne and Michael Godfrey), who he believes are putting up the money for another of the area's regular revolutions.  The gluttonous Xavier appears disappointed to be called away from a sumptuous feast arranged for he and Simon to return to HQ, but it turns out to all be part of a master plan he's put in place to manoeuvre Simon and the woman, Doris Inkler (this is the second time Suzanne Lloyd's played a character called Doris in The Saint) together.

Doris calls up to her brother Sherm (yes, I know it's a strange name, but they're American).  He's played by Ed Bishop, who it always feels utterly wrong to see without a platinum blond fringe, and is being roughed up by a pair of heavies (Hal Gallili and Walter Randall), but claims everything is fine.

Doris leaves the hotel, and is directed toward a cab by a chap (Reginald Jessup) who turns out to be working for the Enriquez brothers, who whisk her off into the night.  Trailing behind, Simon follows after the henchman and roughs him up.  Taking him to the police station, Simon is informed by Xavier that the Inklers are in the country to sell guns.

Pablo and Manuel bring Doris to the same basement where Sherm is being held.  Also present is Alec Mango as the would-be dictator who the brothers are funding.  The Inklers are forced to agree to sell their wares to the Enriquezes for substantially less than their original asking price.

Simon's frantically calling up all the hotels in town in the hope of locating the Inklers, only for Doris, who's staying at the very same hotel as him, to sashay in and make herself comfortable.

Xavier's excessively pleased with himself for having drawn Simon's attention to the Inklers.  He has a way with a roast chicken that's pure sex.

Simon and Doris get chummy on the sofa, though he makes it clear he's opposed to her gun-running and intends to stop it.  He's taken by surprise by her pleased reaction: it turns out the Inklers aren't arms salesmen but con artists, planning to dupe the Enriquez brothers with crates full of iron bars.  Doris wants Simon to help out in exchange for a third of the proceeds, and he's far too polite to refuse

Simon's impressed with the Inklers' plans to con the crooks - Sherm, a psychology graduate, having worked out exactly the best way to get one over on them.  But Simon decides a few revisions are due - including his own entrance into the scheme as the Inklers' business partner Sebastian Tombs (it's his regular alias - still the ST initials, you see).

There's a tense scene as the brothers decide to examine the cargo, deliberately choosing to look at boxes other than the ones Sherm suggests - of course, all the ones they go for turn out to have guns in.  It's all very Derren Brown.

While Simon and Sherm satisfy their patrons, Doris is only saved from being indecently assaulted by the Enriquez' brutish henchman Vincente by his consternation when Pablo tries one of the guns out.

The brothers spring an awkward extra condition on the traders at the last minute - they have to drive the guns to their hideout in the mountains.  Grudgingly, they set off, accompanied by Vincente.  After one of the boxes falls off the back of a truck, Vincente discovers they're full of iron bars, and chucks one at Simon before legging it to call the brothers and inform them they've been duped.

He grabs hold of the unfortunate Doris too, but Simon manages to rescue her and disarm the fiend, forcing him at gunpoint to drive them to the mountains.

Sherm arrives some time before the others, and merrily counts the money, but is terrified that the brothers will start opening cases before the rest arrive.

But the scheme goes off without any more hitches, and with Vincente abandoned in the middle of nowhere, the con artists hurriedly abscond with their dough.  Making himself comfortable in the back seat with Doris, Simon suddenly finds that she's acquired his gun and is pointing it at him.  Instead of getting a third of the cash, he's being unceremoniously dumped.  And what's more it turns out that Sherm and Doris are actually husband and wife.

But, of course, Simon had anticipated this, and emptied his gun.  He makes short work of Sherm and drives off with the money, leaving Doris screaming after him in the wilderness.

As Simon prepares to leave the country with the money, he's approached by Xavier.  The police chief can't legally relieve him of the cash as it hasn't been reported stolen, but he's rather hoping the Saint might let him have some of it.  He's disappointed, though - Simon plans to give the whole lot (minus expenses) to UNICEF.  He's a nice man really.

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