In the spring of 1966, ITC started production of The Saint and, briefly, Danger Man, in color. The result here looks a little threadbare, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s overdue for a really nice restoration, because The Prisoner began filming a few months after this and has always looked so colorful and gorgeous. I’m not sure in which order these were actually made, but they started with a block of 30 episodes and the first 27 of them became “season five,” led by “The Queen’s Ransom” in most of the ITV regions. I remember reading that it was also chosen to launch the first season on NBC in the summer of 1967, but I can’t confirm that presently.
I’m still not sure that moving to color was the right move for this series, in part because it always looked so right in black and white, but our son certainly enjoyed this one a lot. Simon pulls a great switcheroo on the bad guys that had him laughing out loud, and the whole thing is one fisticuff-fueled cat-and-mouse game with criminals while Simon brings some snobbish Nosuchlandia royalty back down to Earth. Bits of it are very reminiscent of one of the most entertaining black and white episodes, “The Golden Journey.” Dawn Addams, who our son predictably did not recognize despite seeing her twice in the last month, plays the snobby queen, with support by George Pastell and John Woodvine.
But I didn’t pick “The Queen’s Ransom” for its guest stars, actually. I picked it for the ITC white Jaguar going off a cliff again, and the darn kid didn’t realize what was happening until it was on its way to launching. “I didn’t realize it was a Jaguar,” he protested. They picked a brilliant, amazingly twisty road to shoot on, and Avengerland tells me that it’s a road on the Llyn Stwlan Reservoir in Wales. The road was also used in a Persuaders! four years later, as well as, weirdly, another Saint that we’re going to watch soon, in which the other stock ITC crash, with the Red Renault, is used. I honestly didn’t plan this. I swear I picked it for its guest stars, not its car crash.