Cast & Crew
While being pursued by a car full of thugs, London socialite Judy Fenton crashes her car into the Thames River and dies. Soon after, debonair private detective Simon Templar, an Englishman known as The Saint, arrives in London from New York. At his hotel, Simon reunites with his former valet, an ex-pickpocket named Hoppy Uniatz, and is shocked to learn that Judy is dead, as she had recently cabled him for help. Although the police have ruled Judy's death an accident, Simon suspects foul play, but refuses to tell Chief Inspector Teal, his old Scotland Yard nemesis, why he has returned to London. Teal assigns a man to tail Simon, but the clever sleuth soon eludes the detective and takes a train to the country estate of Judy's guardian, Col. Stafford. After Stafford admits that Judy had large gambling debts, Simon visits his old friend, counterfeiter Irish Cassidy and asks for a wad of phony cash. Simon then goes from nightclub to nightclub, looking for some backroom gambling, and finally meets socialite Lady Carol Denby, who agrees to drive him, blindfolded, to an illegal casino. Carol guides Simon into a river barge that has been converted into a casino and introduces him to Jarvis, the manager. While Simon plays the roulette wheel, Jarvis informs young Keith Merton that his I.O.U. has been refused and reminds him about his heavy debts. Racketeer Max Lennar and his thugs, Lopez and Dawes, spy on Simon from a backroom, and as soon as Lennar recognizes Simon as The Saint, he orders Jarvis to throw him out. Before departing, Simon grabs Keith's torn-up I.O.U. from an ashtray, then during the drive back, questions Carol about her involvement with Jarvis. Carol, who is also in debt to Lennar, refuses to admit anything and resists Simon's romancing. Back in his hotel room, Simon encounters one of Lennar's thugs and beats him into revealing that his "boss" frequents the Safari Club. With Hoppy in tow, Simon goes to the Safari and confronts Lennar, who tries to intimidate him with a beating. Simon and Hoppy outsmart Lennar, however, and cause the club to be raided by the police. Simon then returns to Irish's and, drawing a likeness of Lennar, asks his friend to identify the mobster. Irish names Lennar and states that he is second-in-command of the notorious River Mob gang, whose chief's identity is unknown. After obtaining Lennar's home address from Irish, Simon breaks into Lennar's apartment and begins searching the place, unaware that the mobster's girl friend Margie is there. While Margie phones Lennar, Simon finds a map of the Merton estate, then slips out the window just as Lennar and his men arrive. Simon climbs through the upstairs window and finds himself at a party hosted by the chatty Katie French. To Simon's surprise, Carol is there and agrees to meet him for dinner. Carol, however, is threatened by Lennar and calls Simon at the restaurant to break their date. Later, in his hotel room, Simon brainstorms with Hoppy about the casino's location, which Simon has concluded is somewhere on the Thames. After sending Hoppy to scour the riverside, Simon visits the Merton estate and meets Keith's father, Lord Merton. Merton invites Simon to attend a weekend party he is hosting, and Simon again runs into Katie and Carol. Convinced that Carol is the victim of extortion, Simon encourages her to join forces with him, but she refuses out of fear. Late that night, Keith disconnects the house alarm, then signals to Lopez and Dawes, who are waiting outside. Simon foils Lopez and Dawes's robbery, but they manage to escape. Although Simon convinces Keith to make a fresh start with his life, the young man is later found dead in his bed, an apparent suicide victim. After assuring Merton that his son was murdered, Simon returns to his hotel and is attacked by Lopez and Dawes, who have been sent by the "chief" to kill him. Instead, Simon shoots Dawes dead and chases off Lopez. Simon and Hoppy then leave to search for the casino, whose exact location Hoppy was unable to ascertain. At the same time, Carol reveals to Katie that she wants to help Simon and is horrified to learn that Katie is in cahoots with Lennar. The mobster forces Carol to phone Simon, who is just returning with Hoppy from the river. After Simon is told that Carol will die in two hours unless he leaves for New York, Teal shows up at Simon's door. Just as Teal inadvertently discovers Dawes's body, Simon, who has deduced that the casino is on a barge, not a boat, rushes out with Hoppy, promising the inspector that he will explain everything in an hour. Simon and Hoppy then go to Irish's and ask him to call Teal in an hour, while they head for the barge. There, Simon sneaks into the casino, knocks out Lopez and the cashier and confronts Katie and Lennar at gunpoint. When Irish appears at the barge, Hoppy, who is keeping watch, allows him inside, unaware that he is the mob's chief. Irish holds Simon and Carol at gunpoint, but is distracted when the revived cashier bursts in and Simon yells that Teal has arrived. After the confused Irish shoots the cashier, Simon jumps Irish, and a fight ensues. Eventually, Irish and his mob are subdued and arrested, and Simon and Carol head off for a romantic boat ride.
John "pinky" Green
The Saint's Girl Friday, the final film in RKO's "The Saint" series, was shot in Great Britain by American producer Julian Lesser's Royal Films company and English producer Anthony Hinds's Hammer Film company, also known as Exclusive Films, Ltd. The picture was released in Great Britain in September 1953 under the title The Saint's Return. The previous picture in the Saint series was the 1943 release The Saint Meets the Tiger, which was made by RKO's British production company and distributed by Republic (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50).
The Saint's Girl Friday marked Louis Hayward's second appearance as "Simon Templar." Hayward played the role in the very first "Saint" film, the 1938 RKO release The Saint in New York (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40). Exterior scenes for The Saint's Girl Friday were filmed in and around London, according to reviews, and interiors were filmed at Bray Studios. For more information about the series and other films and television programs featuring The Saint character, please see the entry for The Saint in New York.