The Saint's Return

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The Saint's Return
The Saint's Girl Friday FilmPoster.jpeg
US film poster with the US title
Directed by Seymour Friedman
Written by Allan MacKinnon
Produced by Anthony Hinds
Julian Lesser
Starring Louis Hayward
Naomi Chance
Cinematography Walter J. Harvey
Edited by James Needs
Distributed by Exclusive Films (UK
RKO Radio Pictures (US)
Release date
  • 15 April 1954 (1954-04-15)(US) [1]
Running time
73 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Saint's Return (released in the US as The Saint's Girl Friday) is a British crime thriller film from 1953, produced by Hammer Film Productions in London.


It premiered in London under the original title on 12 October 1953 [2] and was distributed in the UK by Hammer Films own distribution company, Exclusive Films. It was released in the US by RKO under the US title on 15 April 1954. [2] The Saint's Return saw Louis Hayward, who had been the first actor to play Simon Templar in The Saint in New York in 1938, fifteen years earlier, return to the role one last time.


A female friend asks the Saint for help and winds up dead. The Saint sets about investigating and discovers the involvement of the River Mob, a gangster organisation involved with a gambling barge. The Saint is helped by Carol Denby, who is being used by the gangster.



Although based upon Charteris' character, the film was an original work by British screenwriter Allan MacKinnon and not based directly on any of Charteris' stories. Charteris, however, had a percentage in the film. [3] It is the first filmed Saint production to feature the character of Hoppy Uniatz, Templar's assistant in the 1940s-era Saint books. Percy Herbert later played the character in at least one episode of the 1960s TV series.

Hayward's casting was announced in January 1953. He was originally going to England to make No Escape but that film wound up being made in Hollywood. [4] It was Hayward's first film in England since The Lady and the Bandit. [5]

In March 1953 as filming was being completed the title was changed from The Saint's Queen to The Saint's Return. [6]

It was the second film Dors made for Hammer after The Last Page. [7] In September 1953 producer Julian Lesser had signed Dors to make two more movies. [8]


Critical reception

The Los Angeles Times said it had "unusually good suspense elements with Hayward competently leading the way". [9]

Derek Winnert called it "a very watchable British stab at reviving the series", adding that "with its neat plot and decent sly sense of humour, it is entirely entertaining, if only mildly". Of the actors, he wrote: "An ideal Hayward is aloofly smooth and suitably chilly in a role he created in the original film", concluding that "there’s a really good true Brit cast to support him". [10]

Box office

This was the first Saint film to be released in ten years, following RKO's The Saint series 1938-1943, and Hammer Films had hopes to revive the series, but this did not occur. In 1960, a French-Italian film entitled Le Saint mène la danse, with Felix Marten playing The Saint, was released with very limited success. It was not until 1962 and the TV series The Saint , starring Roger Moore, that the character achieved lasting success beyond the literary world. The next English-language cinema film featuring the character wouldn't be released until 1997, with Val Kilmer playing the character in The Saint .

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  1. "The Saint's Girl Friday: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  2. 1 2 The Saint in Movies and Films Retrieved 2012-07-25
  3. p. 105 Barer, Burl The Saint: A Complete History in Print, Radio, Film and Television of Leslie Charteris' Robin Hood of Modern Crime, Simon Templar 1928-1992 McFarland, 2003
  4. Rita Hayworth to Enact Magdalen; Hayward Will Do 'Saint;' Nolan Pilot Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]21 Jan 1953: B9.
  5. Laurel to Premier 'Passion for Life' Los Angeles Times 25 Jan 1953: D3.
  6. Vittorio Gassman Will Costar With Stanwyck; LeRoy May Guide Lanza Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 2 Mar 1953: B9.
  7. Vagg, Stephen (7 September 2020). "A Tale of Two Blondes: Diana Dors and Belinda Lee". Filmink.
  8. Warners, Metro Slate African Subjects; Jimmy Wakely Back in Cinema Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]16 Sep 1953: B9.
  9. 'Carnival Story' Top Mob Teaser Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 22 Apr 1954: B8.
  10. "The Saint's Return [The Saint's Girl Friday] *** (1953, Louis Hayward, Naomi Chance, Sydney Tafler, Charles Victor, Harold Lang, Diana Dors, Jane Carr) – Classic Movie Review 3228 - Derek Winnert".