Jan 26, 2012

Tradecraft: RKO Attempts New Saint Movies

Following the frustrating collapse (yet again) of the latest attempt to bring Simon Templar back to the small screen, Variety reports that RKO will attempt a big screen revival for Leslie Charteris' famous modern-day Robin Hood. According to the trade, the studio has signed Eagle Eye co-writer Travis Wright to pen a remake of one of the 1930s or 40s RKO Saint films (exactly which one is unclear) for producer Rick Porras (The Lord of the Rings) with an eye toward a trilogy of Templar tentpoles. But according to all-around Saint expert Ian Dickerson (author of The Saint on TV and erstwhile co-producer of the stalled television revival), Wright will have his work cut out for him. "RKO have the rights to remake their old B&W films but they cannot change the dialogue and they cannot change the length of the picture," Dickerson posted on the CommanderBond.net forums, where he has been updating fans for some time on his own Saintly efforts. He adds that RKO's rights apply to movies only, not to television. Does this really mean that an RKO remake would have to be 69 minutes long with all the same lines spoken by Louis Hayward or George Sanders? Maybe... but maybe not. Remember, Kevin McClory was actually able to get pretty creative in Never Say Never Again, even though his rights were strictly limited to an exact remake of Thunderball. Granted, the individual cases could be quite different, and I'm certainly no expert on copyright law, but I'm betting RKO have some experts on their legal team working hard to find loopholes. But the prospect of a fairly faithful, period-set remake of The Saint in New York actually quite appeals to me! While I'm very eager for Dickerson and his colleagues to get a new TV Saint up and running, I'd be curious to see what RKO can come up with as well. The more Saintly irons in the fire the better, as far as I'm concerned. It just increases the odds of one of them actually coming to fruition, right? Fingers crossed, but (to paraphrase a CBn poster) breath not held.

Hayward, Sanders and Hugh Sinclair all played Simon Templar for RKO; in later movies he was played by Felix Marten, Jean Marais (who gets a bad rap, but I quite liked in the role) and Val Kilmer (who deserves his bad rap). Vincent Price was among the actors to voice the Saint on the radio, and on TV he's been played by Ian Ogilvy, Simon Dutton, Andrew Clarke and, most famously, of course, Roger Moore.


dfordoom said...

I'd love to see a Saint movie with the same settings as the early novels, early 30s Britain.

Delmo said...

Competing Saint projects? Could this be 1983 all over again with Octopussy & NSNA coming out the same year? Doubt it but, you never know. Funny how RKO can still exist even though they have no actual studio. Desi & Lucy bought the studio for Desilu, which was later bought by Paramount.