THE SAINT IN PALM SPRINGS (1941) was George Sanders' final time to star as the Leslie Charteris crime solver, Simon Templar.
It's a middling film in the series, as Templar does a favor for Inspector Fernack (Jonathan Hale). Templar ends up in Palm Springs, where he needs to deliver expensive rare stamps to lovely Elna Johnson (Wendy Barrie).
It's very much a soundstage/back projection Palm Springs, with Templar golfing, bicycling, and horseback riding in front of back projection screens and inside a soundstage. The only horseback riders who actually filmed in the desert were doubles!
Further, one suspects that the resort swimming pool in the soundstage was only two or three feet deep. The movie thus doesn't present a very colorful depiction of the desert resort, although the ways the movie cut corners can be a bit amusing.
The story moves along at a pretty good clip, as villainess Linda Hayes and cohorts try to get the stamps themselves; after 66 minutes the movie ends almost abruptly as Templar says farewell to Elna and rides away, whistling.
Paul Guilfoyle, seen here last weekend in BEHIND THE HEADLINES (1937), reprises his character from THE SAINT TAKES OVER (1940).
It's interesting, as many of the same people worked on both series, but on the whole Sanders' Falcon Mysteries strike me as livelier and more engaging than the Saint films.
Jack Hively directed THE SAINT IN PALM SPRINGS, with black and white photography by Harry J. Wild.
THE SAINT IN PALM SPRINGS is available on DVD in the Warner Archive's George Sanders Saint Movies Collection. I've previously reviewed the other films in the set, THE SAINT STRIKES BACK (1939), THE SAINT IN LONDON (1939), THE SAINT'S DOUBLE TROUBLE (1940), and THE SAINT TAKES OVER (1940).
THE SAINT IN PALM SPRINGS is also out on a Region 2 DVD. Additionally, it was released on VHS as a "TCM Double Feature," paired with THE SAINT MEETS THE TIGER (1943), starring Hugh Sinclair as Templar.
In the future I'll be taking a look at Sinclair in THE SAINT MEETS THE TIGER and THE SAINT'S VACATION (1941), which are part of a Saint Double Feature from the Warner Archive.