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RKO borrowed Louis Hayward for this production, which was the first in a series of nine films adapted from Leslie Charteris' popular collection of "The Saint" mysteries. Hayward played The Saint only once, and was replaced in the 1939 RKO film The Saint Strikes Back by George Sanders. Sanders played the role in four other RKO films, then was replaced in 1941 by Hugh Sinclair, who played the character in two additional British-made films, which were distributed by RKO. In a 1954 release, Hayward revived his portrayal of The Saint in a British co-production called The Saint's Girl Friday, which was distributed in America by RKO.
An August 1936 Hollywood Reporter news item states that RKO "closed a one-picture deal with Fredric March to play" the title role in The Saint in New York. John Cromwell was signed to direct March, and Anthony Veiller, who is credited by Screen Achievements Bulletin as contributing to the treatment, was hired to write the screenplay. In a 1938 Hollywood Reporter news item, Joan Fontaine was announced as the female lead of the film. According to production charts, as well as Motion Picture Herald's "In the Cutting Room" and early submissions to the Screen Achievements Bulletin, Irwin Shaw worked on the project as a co-screenwriter with Kaufman. His actual contribution to the film, if any, is not known, however. A Hollywood Reporter news item adds Murray Alper to the cast, and Motion Picture Herald's "In the Cutting Room" includes Eduardo Ciannelli and Paul Fix to the cast list. Their participation in the final production has not been confirmed. Other films and television series based on the Charteris character include the popular British television series featuring Roger Moore as "The Saint," which ran from 1967 through 1969, another British television series starring Ian Ogilvie, that was televised from 1985 to 1987, and an American-made feature film starring Roger Moore that was produced in 1992. The Saint, also based on the Charteris characters, was released by Paramount Pictures in 1997. That film was directed by Phillip Noyce, starred Val Kilmer as the title character and co-starred Elizabeth Shue. that film was directed by Phillip For additional information on the RKO series, consult the Series Index.