Review THE PRISONER (1967)

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
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Must include this as the granddaddy of cult tv. What an incredible series, McGoohan was a genius giving us a seventeen episode video puzzle of enormous complexity and density , whilst making it entertaining
Made in the sixties but still relevant today as a commentary on the dehumanizing of the individual but still contained in a ITC spy/ adventure trope.
The last episode is infamous of course but episodes AB and C and The Schizoid Man are my favorites, in the former, The Prisoner has his dreams manipulated but wins out as he in turn manipulates his own dreams and triumphs in his sleep! Class!






 
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alpha128

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The last episode is infamous of course...
I bought this series on DVD some years ago so I could finally see the whole thing.

The beauty of early episodes like "Free for All" was that they could be interpreted two ways. They could be interpreted literally and they could be interpreted allegorically. "Free for All" holds together as a story of an ex-spy trapped in a mysterious village, but it also has much to say about democratic elections and the media's role in them.

But by the time you get to "Fall Out", you've got a story that can only be interpreted allegorically. It makes no literal sense whatsoever! So we're supposed to believe that all those times when No. 2 is talking to No. 1 on the phone, on the other end of the line was a clone of No. 6 dressed in a white hooded robe and gorilla mask?!? I'm surprised No. 2 never said, "Excuse me sir, would you please take off your gorilla mask? It's so difficult to hear you clearly when you've got it on."

I think that the alternate ending envisioned by George Markstein would have been far more successful than what we got. Although without that infuriating ending, The Prisoner might not be as well remembered as it is.
 

Doctor Omega

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The Prisoner is a 17-episode British television series[2] first broadcast in Canada beginning on 6 September 1967, then in the United Kingdom on 29 September 1967, and in the United States on 1 June 1968.[3] It stars and was co-created by Patrick McGoohan, and combines spy fiction with elements of science fiction, allegory and psychological drama.[2]

The series follows a British former secret agent who is abducted and imprisoned in a mysterious coastal village resort, where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. Although the show was sold as a thriller in the mould of the previous series starring McGoohan, Danger Man (1960–68; retitled as Secret Agent in the US), its combination of 1960s countercultural themes and surrealistic setting had a far-reaching influence on science fiction and fantasy TV programming, and on narrative popular culture in general.[4]

A TV miniseries remake aired on the US cable channel AMC between 15 and 17 November 2009.[5] This was followed by another remake as an audio drama in 2015 by Big Finish Productions.






Start watching the show here......

THE PRISONER: ARRIVAL - Episode 01

https://www.imdforums.com/threads/the-prisoner-arrival-episode-01.4587/
 
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Thanks for the link Alpha,
Yes an interesting ending that certainly would have caught people out but as you say the show wouldn't have had the kudos and enigmatic quality that has kept it in the forefront of cult tv for fifty years.
My understanding is that McGoohan was deeply angered by the shows cancellation and Fall Out is him sticking two fingers up at the Network. In a interview I saw back in the eighties he said the reason for the gorilla mask and number 6 being Number 1 , was the evil bestial side of ourselves being the ultimate enemy of mankind, hence the controlling force of The Village.
Lewis Grieffer who wrote The General ( under a pseudonym) stated that had Markstein got his way The Prisoner would have been a very very good spy show , but McGoohan transcended that format and imbued it with a magical quality.
 

alpha128

Member: Rank 3
My understanding is that McGoohan was deeply angered by the shows cancellation and Fall Out is him sticking two fingers up at the Network. In a interview I saw back in the eighties he said the reason for the gorilla mask and number 6 being Number 1 , was the evil bestial side of ourselves being the ultimate enemy of mankind, hence the controlling force of The Village.
Another example of what I meant when I said the finale made no literal sense.

Lewis Grieffer who wrote The General ( under a pseudonym) stated that had Markstein got his way The Prisoner would have been a very very good spy show , but McGoohan transcended that format and imbued it with a magical quality.
That's one way to look at it. I think it started out as a very very good spy/sci-fi show, but completely fell apart at the end.
 
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Doctor Omega

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“The Prisoner” Revived As A Comic Book


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Titan Comics is set to revive the cult TV series “The Prisoner” next year, through a new comic book series by writer Peter Milligan (“X-Statix,” “Hellblazer”) and storyboard artist Colin Lorimer (“The Hunt,” “Harvest”).

The series followed Patrick McGoohan’s unnamed former spy who was kidnapped and kept against his will in a mysterious village where everyone was assigned a number.

As “Number 6,” he continually butted heads with a variety of authority figures in the role of “Number 2,” each assigned to break his will and discover why he had quit being a secret agent.

The comic will be a new iteration of the Prisoner as we follow Number 6’s successor. The series will launch in 2018, in time for the 50th anniversary of the show’s U.S. debut.
 

johnnybear

Member: Rank 6
I've lent the series for my wife to watch as she's never really seen it and never understood it's following! Sadly though she only reached the third episode before giving up. Although she did tell me she would come back to it later..never..maybe..well...
JB
 

johnnybear

Member: Rank 6
I found the final episode of The Prisoner too bizarre to really enjoy and I found Alexis Kanner much better in the UFO episode The Cat With Ten lives to be honest!
JB
 

Doctor Omega

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Titan to publish long-lost The Prisoner comic book from Jack Kirby

As part of its celebrations for the 50th anniversary of The Prisoner, Titan Comics has announced the publication of an oversized artist edition of a long-lost Prisoner comic book classic by Jack Kirby, Gil Kane and Steve Englehart.


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This special oversized collectors edition will contain the entire 17 page Jack Kirby strip, the first six pages of which were inked and lettered by Mike Royer, as well as 18 pages of pencils drawn by legendary comic artist Gil Kane. In addition to reprinting these rare pages, this collection also features unmissable bonus archive material including facsimiles of the original script as written by Steve Englehart.

Meanwhile, Titan is also set to launch a brand new comic book series set in the world of The Prisoner by celebrated writer Peter Milligan (X-Statix, The Mummy) and artist Colin Lorimer (The Hunt, Harvest). Check out the cover artwork to the first issue here…


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Doctor Omega

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The Prisoner 50th Anniversary - Catherine McGoohan unveils Patrick McGoohan bust in Portmeirion


Special guest Catherine McGoohan unveils a bust of her father Patrick at Network's 'Fall in - The Prisoner at Fifty' 50th anniversary event in Portmeirion on 29/9/17, celebrating Patrick McGoohan's classic series, filmed by The Unmutual Website at http://www.theunmutual.co.uk.


 

johnnybear

Member: Rank 6
Well he did sort of put them on the map as it were! Odd though that the video cuts off before we get to see it in it's full glory...
JB
 
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Doc Omega, I notice you are probably going to go with the established episode order in your rewatch. This is okay of course, McGoohan chose this order for aesthetic reasons. He wanted a mix of studio bound episodes and locational episodes, so all the episodes recorded at Port Merion didn't appear together at the start, which is the way the recording went. However this order is problematic, nothing too serious, but we do have for instance ep.8 Dance of the Dead, where The Prisoner states he is new to the Village, and Chimes, episode 2 taking place several months after his arrival. I once wrote a piece for the Prisoner fan club magazine on this topic, as have many fans over the years. There is no definitive order, but I always use this order;
Arrival, Checkmate, Free for All, Dance of The Dead, Chimes of Big Ben, The Schizoid Man, It's Your Funeral, Many Happy Returns, A Change of Mind, The General , A,B,and C, Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, Hammer Into Anvil, Living in Harmony, Girl Who was Death, Once Upon A Time , and Fall Out.
This is reasonably close to the filming order but with modifications. Once upon a Time was recorded sixth but of course must be at 16. Many Happy Returns recorded 13th to close series 1 , but as series 2 never happened MHR was shown earlier. ABand C and The General were back to back episodes as is obvious when viewing them. In Prisoner fandom the episode order controversy is a hot topic, really there is no answer.
 
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Doctor Omega

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Ah, okay. I will go with your order, Michael, and link it up to THE CHIMES OF BIG BEN when the time comes. :emoji_alien:
 
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Ah, okay. I will go with your order, Michael, and link it up to THE CHIMES OF BIG BEN when the time comes. :emoji_alien:
How flattering! The established order is okay but I prefer the recording order where possible. I did give it a lot of thought right down to;
" well he was wrong to trust that girl in Arrival with her electropass, so his mistrust in Checkmate is understandable, so that's ep.2, which also was filmed 2nd"
and " totally betrayed in one episode and bitter and distrustful in the next one filmed, so they should follow each other"
Too spoilery to go into details, but enjoy your rewatch.
 
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