The Prisoner Video Companion (1990)

Video   |    |  Documentary

The Prisoner Video Companion (1990) Poster

A look at the creation and cultural significance of the British cult classic The Prisoner (1967), starring Patrick McGoohan.


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6 November 2009 | nephihaha
| Interesting, but inaccurate
This documentary makes some interesting connections, but there are some real howlers in it. While some are minor, e.g. the Prisoner's London home is given as "No 1, Buckingham Palace", when it should be "No 1, Buckingham Place" or "Ezekiel" being spelt "Ezekial", there are others which are much more fundamental, such as the idea that No 6 fails in his "mission" in every episode. The idea that the Butler represents the "little man", and is a reference to Thoreau's life of "quiet desperation" is ludicrous. Likewise, the Vietnam references are a long shot, and probably aimed at an American audience, but less resonant with the rest of us.

There's also a lot left out of here, that could have been included, such as McGoohan's opposition to totalitarianism - Maoist style self-criticism is included in one episode, for example - or the series' comments on psychiatry. And is the Penny Farthing logo used in the series a visual pun on the hammer and sickle, or is the resemblance coincidental? On the other hand, it does have some plus points. The companion includes some good clips from "Dangerman" and "Secret Agent", for example, and even a bit of information for heavy metal fans.

Don't watch this until you've seen the whole series at least once - it will give you an overview, but after one's seen the series a few times, most people ought to be able to pick out at least a few of the errors.

The new Blu-Ray edition of "The Prisoner" is supposed to have a brand new documentary on it. Hopefully this will supersede this, although I'm never going to fork out for a Blu-Ray system (DVDs are already old technology - downloads are the future.)

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