Bela Lugosi's much-too-brief supporting performance aside, there's little to recommend about The Saint's Double Trouble. The novelty of having George Sanders play the double role of look-alike hero and villain might have worked had at least one of the characterizations included the sort of sharply sneering charm that Sanders brought to his best work. Looking more cynical and bored than erudite and nonchalant, this was one of ten films released in 1940 in which Sanders appeared. Throughout his prolific career, Sanders tended to act up or down to the material and save his best work for the best directors. Compare this by-the-numbers performance to his superbly subtle 1940 appearance in Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, for example. The fourth-billed Lugosi excepted, the supporting cast is uniformly pedestrian. Female lead Helene Whitney is particularly wooden, reciting her lines as if she's at a first-time read-through of an amateur play. The screenplay, by former Vaudeville comic Ben Holmes, is dominated by the sort of mistaken identity setups that are often found in lower grade comedies. Only in the film's final escape sequence does Sanders appear to be enjoying himself with the sort of self-aware droll wit that the role requires.
by Richard Gilliam review