The Prisoner

..and why not?
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Goat Boy
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The Prisoner

Postby Goat Boy » 27 Feb 2017, 10:30

The search function appears to be knackered so I’m starting my own thread.

I watched this again recently. It’s better (and occasionally worse) than I remembered. Most of the episodes are very good/great. A handful are poor. It fades quite a bit towards the end (I used the 6 of 1 order) with Living In Harmony, Girl Who was Death and Do Not Foresake Me. You get the feeling they were running out of ideas and ended up playing around a bit for a laugh. The twist in The Girl Who Was Death is cool though but there are moments where it’s close to jumping the shark. In a way they prepare you for Fall Out though as they grow increasingly absurd and experimental.

The final episode is wonderful and a fitting end. It’s so weird and it’s rare that something so purely allegorical is ever made for the telly. There is something really quite radical here. The music is great and moving too. All that jaunty music at the end when they are running about London. Sniff. Great stuff.

Is number 48 the only one who really makes it? Number 6 will resign again and repeat. Number 2 has gone back to his old job at Westminster. Only 48, trying to hitch a lift, looks “free”.

What are you favourite eps? What's your take on Fall Out? Is the opening sequence the best in telly history?
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby inside-out fox » 27 Feb 2017, 11:22

Yes to the last question.

I watched it when Channel 4 showed it in the early 80s, but I was too young to really appreciate it beyond enjoying the groovy 60s-ness of the whole thing. One of these days I'll get around to watching it again - quite possibly this year.
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Goat Boy
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Goat Boy » 27 Feb 2017, 11:52

You really should. It's entertaining as hell. The final episode is maybe the most 60s thing ever. It's really a genius move by McGoohan and one that taps into the artier side of 60s films. I find it hard to believe he conceived this all at the last minute mind.
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Muskrat wrote:I'm undemonstrative during shows; no matter how much I enjoy them. People who get up and move around ("dance," if they will) strike me as show-offs

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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Neige » 02 Mar 2017, 11:08

I had loved the series whe I saw them on TV in the seventies, sort of idealising it ever since.

I never got the chance to watch it again until I recently found it ultracheap on DVD.

Well, it is of course very much of its time and has its charm, but what has changed for me since then (and kept me from persevering after Episode 4 or 5) is that McGoohan comes across as a really unpleasant person.
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Phil T » 02 Mar 2017, 13:53

Goat Boy wrote:Living In Harmony, Girl Who was Death and Do Not Foresake Me.


Those are also my favourite episodes, along with Schizoid Man and A,B and C.

I suppose you already know that The Girl Who Was Death was originally written as a Danger Man script, possibly for the truncated final series and stylistically - the tacked on Prisoner ending aside - I think it shows. Very enjoyable, anyway.
:)

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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Phil T » 02 Mar 2017, 13:58

I was around during the original transmission and after Fall Out aired and there really was a general "what the f**k was that about?" feeling amongst the public.
:)

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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Goat Boy » 02 Mar 2017, 14:06

Phil T wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:Living In Harmony, Girl Who was Death and Do Not Foresake Me.


Those are also my favourite episodes, along with Schizoid Man and A,B and C.

I suppose you already know that The Girl Who Was Death was originally written as a Danger Man script, possibly for the truncated final series and stylistically - the tacked on Prisoner ending aside - I think it shows. Very enjoyable, anyway.
:)



It looks to me that they’d run out of ideas for more Village based stories so they end up playing with the form with mixed results. I think Living In Harmony is close to shark jumping territory . The Girl who was death has a nice twist and is a fun diversion but it’s a bit naff. Do Not Forsake Me would have been better if Nigel Stock had managed to properly capture the feel of number 6.

It’s not a surprise the final episode pissed so many people off. It’s pretty out there. It makes a lot more sense second time round though.
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Muskrat wrote:I'm undemonstrative during shows; no matter how much I enjoy them. People who get up and move around ("dance," if they will) strike me as show-offs

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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Scally Mcgrew » 02 Mar 2017, 17:54

I have loved 'The Prisoner' since its first showing, and I answered questions on it on one of my Mastermind appearances.

I may come back to this on the subject of favourite episodes but, in the meantime, I will say that I believe the opening sequence IS the best ever.
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Quaco » 08 Mar 2017, 18:42

Goat Boy wrote:The final episode is wonderful and a fitting end. It’s so weird and it’s rare that something so purely allegorical is ever made for the telly. There is something really quite radical here. The music is great and moving too. All that jaunty music at the end when they are running about London. Sniff. Great stuff.

It is. That part always stuck with me from the first time I saw it in the '80s when I was a kid. Something about the genericness of the music, I think, but also finally seeing real England. You get almost the same feeling in "Many Happy Returns".

Goat Boy wrote:Is number 48 the only one who really makes it? Number 6 will resign again and repeat. Number 2 has gone back to his old job at Westminster. Only 48, trying to hitch a lift, looks “free”.

I take issue with the idea that Number 6 will resign again per se, in that I don't think there is a Groundhog Day thing happening -- reality repeating itself. Just that even though he thinks he is free, the world all around him is constantly trying to get him to succumb, there are forces all around, to become a cog, a number. But basically I agree with what you've said: the carefree youth is perhaps the freest we can be, and that attitude is the only way we can keep away from the clutches of the established systems.
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Quaco » 08 Mar 2017, 19:09

Goat Boy wrote:What are you favourite eps?

My personal favorite is "Many Happy Returns" largely because the whole thing is so full of space. The first half of it has little or no dialogue. The scenes where he is on his makeshift raft are miraculous somehow.

Rough ranking from best to worst...

GREAT
Chimes of Big Ben (so well-made, great editing, so much happens so effortlessly)
Dance of the Dead (one of the most thought-provoking)
Checkmate
Many Happy Returns
Free for All (the most 'McGoohanesque', the first section is the best writing, but it fades halfway through into weird symbolism)
Hammer into Anvil (very satisfying to win one once in a while)
Schizoid Man

GOOD
Arrival (solid introduction to the aesthetic)
Once Upon a Time (absolutely unique TV)
Fall Out (but incredible in its way)
It's Your Funeral
A B and C (great dream scenes)

OK / POOR / HARD TO SAY
The General
Change of Mind (very dark but strangely boring too)
Living in Harmony
The Girl Who Was Death (though contains much great location footage)
Do Not Forsake Me O My Darling (odd)
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Quaco » 08 Mar 2017, 19:25

I've posted this before, but this is a fascinating interview and absolutely essential viewing, I feel.

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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Goat Boy » 09 Mar 2017, 10:13

Quacoan wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:The final episode is wonderful and a fitting end. It’s so weird and it’s rare that something so purely allegorical is ever made for the telly. There is something really quite radical here. The music is great and moving too. All that jaunty music at the end when they are running about London. Sniff. Great stuff.

It is. That part always stuck with me from the first time I saw it in the '80s when I was a kid. Something about the genericness of the music, I think, but also finally seeing real England. You get almost the same feeling in "Many Happy Returns".


I love the scene where Number 6 and his butler are running down the street to catch a bus. There's a real "60s optimism" thing going on and it's such a funny image anyway. The speed of the butlers legs as he tries to keep up! :)

Quaco wrote:I take issue with the idea that Number 6 will resign again per se, in that I don't think there is a Groundhog Day thing happening -- reality repeating itself. Just that even though he thinks he is free, the world all around him is constantly trying to get him to succumb, there are forces all around, to become a cog, a number. But basically I agree with what you've said: the carefree youth is perhaps the freest we can be, and that attitude is the only way we can keep away from the clutches of the established systems.


Number 6 may finally be free one day but he's certainly doomed to repeat it was my reading. Duality of man n all that: man yearns to be free but when offered freedom or power he will choose power thereby enslaving himself. I know some people find it a bit of a bummer of an ending but there is hope there.
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Quaco » 09 Mar 2017, 15:02

Totally agree with that. My point was so minor and you put it so well.
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Quaco » 09 Mar 2017, 15:05

Regarding the last episode, lest we forget the beginning. You've been through this while mindfuck of a series, and the previous, penultimate episode is the mindfuckiest of them all. You're finally going to see the answer. And the answer is The Beatles.
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby pcqgod » 04 Apr 2017, 15:43

I've started watching this series again for the first time in over ten years. They sure like their parades over in The Village.
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby fire and fueryIre » 13 Jun 2017, 11:06

Just finished rewatching all 17 episodes (my fourth or fifth viewing since it first ran) on some channel called True Entertainment on Sky. Aside from a few clunkers near the end, I think it generally holds up really, really well.

Wonder if it would have done so without Port Merion as a backgound? Also wonder if there'll be any kind of song and dance when the 50th anniversary of its first screening rolls around in September?

FWIW, Neige seems to be right about P McG being something of an arsehole. According to Rupert Booth's Not A Number, he became increasingly unhinged as the pressure involved in controlling nearly every aspect of the show started to get to him.

Agree with above poster about the mindfuckery of the penulimate episode.

At one point RB writes that the crew apparently had to pull P McG off Leo McKern's No. 2 as they were genuinely fearful McGoohan (quite a big man) would do the latter some serious damage. Seems P McG also had a very, very odd attitude when it came to filming any kind of romantic scenes with female actors.

The whole series is up on YT for those of us who've (imexplicably) never seen it or would (understandably) like to see it again

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPBX6o_ ... yz5lzqG-Xw

There's also a great doc up on YT (sorry forgotten name) for anyone who is interested
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Sneelock » 13 Jun 2017, 20:44

"Free for All" & "Schizoid Man" are my firm favorites.

"Schizoid Man", I think is especially clever. He forcefully asserts that he IS Number 6 in that one. :lol:
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Quaco » 14 Jun 2017, 12:40

Neige wrote:I had loved the series whe I saw them on TV in the seventies, sort of idealising it ever since.

I never got the chance to watch it again until I recently found it ultracheap on DVD.

Well, it is of course very much of its time and has its charm, but what has changed for me since then (and kept me from persevering after Episode 4 or 5) is that McGoohan comes across as a really unpleasant person.

You might be interested in Danger Man. Just as good a series, I feel, though obviously very normal and commercial. Even in that series PM has a bit of a strange feeling to him. But rather than unpleasant, I think he is just prickly. The interview I posted above shows he is very humane and capable of humor, it's just he has a brusque and prickly nature. Same with John Lennon, I wouldn't have it any other way.
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Re: The Prisoner

Postby Sneelock » 14 Jun 2017, 19:22

I love him as a personality. I would find the Danger Man / Secret Agent Man shows deadly dull if I didn't find P.McG so much fun to watch.
I must have watched "Ice Station Zebra" several dozen times and he is at least half of the reason.
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