Return of the Saint – Hot Run

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Simon is pretending to be a poor skier, purely so he can enjoy the attentions of the beautiful instructor Maria (Lorraine De Salle).  But just as things are hotting up on the slopes, the arrival of Maria’s brother Andre looks set to dash Simon’s plans.

Events then take a tragic turn – both Maria and Simon watch in horror as Andre is murdered (shot by a sniper in the trees).  He seemed to have lived a blameless life so who would have wanted to kill him?  One possible lead is an American called Diane Lang (Rula Lenska) who runs a ski display team.  As Simon investigates, he uncovers a plan to steal millions in bullion …..

We’re very much in James Bond territory here – indeed, the location of Cortina used in Hot Run would also feature in the 1981 Bond film For Your Eyes Only.  But the picturesque backdrop is very much the star, as it helps to lift what is, sadly, a rather humdrum story.

There are a few points of interest though.  This is another story where Ian Ogilvy has the chance to play the Saint as a morally dubious character.  Because he’s convinced that Diane killed Andre (and is also planning something else) he does his best to persuade her that he’s just as crooked as she is.  When she learns that he’s Simon Templar, she does comment that nobody ever knows which side he’s on.

Rula Lenska is, suitably, hard as ice – but her henchman are much less impressive and it’s their rather obvious villainous dialogue which does drag the story down.  It also doesn’t help that we have to travel quite a way into the episode before we learn Diane’s plan (and by then I have to confess my interest had waned somewhat).

Diane plans to rob a delivery of bullion by causing an avalanche (Simon is recruited to let off the explosion which causes it).  It seems to be an elaborate way to go about things, when they could have just as easily staged a car accident and flagged the lorry down.

Another strange piece of plotting is Andre’s murder.  Yes, it provides us with a very strong pre-credits hook, but it’s just bizarre.  We’re later told that Andre had second thoughts and wanted to pull out of the robbery – it’s understandable that Diane would want to silence him, but to do so in public?  Why not quietly kill him and then drop his body down one of the numerous ravines?  The snow would soon have covered him and he’d never have been found.

Take the picture-postcard images away and there’s not a lot else to recommend in Hot Run, so it only rates two halos out of five.

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