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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Eric Mival’s – Cutting Edge My Life In Films And Television

   In late November I was sent a complimentary copy of Eric Mival’s book ‘Cutting Edge My Life In Film And Television,’ by the publisher Quoit Media Limited. Having now read the book, I was asked to express my thoughts, which are as follows.

    The book is nicely presented, and has a very professional look. Of course being a fan of ‘the Prisoner’ is was quite natural that I should turn to the five chapters dealing with the series first. I was thoroughly absorbed for a couple of hours by those chapters, and found two or things out I didn’t know before, and I enjoyed Eric Mival’s insight into ‘the Prisoner’ from a music and film editor’s perspective. The Prisoner left many unanswered questions, and its interesting that even after almost 50 years it remains unclear whether it was Patrick McGoohan or George Markstein who came up with the original idea. For my money it was Patrick McGoohhan, and I know there are those who would strongly argue that point. However I found it interesting in what Eric Mival had to say on that particular topic, and may well have the right of it. I found his outline ‘Friend or Foe’ interesting, but was more fascinated by ‘Ticket To Eternity.’ Its strange that so many good ideas for scripts for ‘the Prisoner’ were rejected, and that begs the question why did they stuck with ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ or ‘Face Unknown’ as it was originally. And I’m with Eric, as I also prefer the title ‘Face Unknown.’ I also agree with Eric that ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ is unique for its quality of music, the best in the series, as I have always said.
    I can see the book being handy for a budding film maker or editor. In fact I wish the book had been available back in 1999 as I would have got the film editor for ‘Village Day’ to read it first!
  I enjoyed Eric’s anecdotes, especially about wanting the Beatles to sign his record album ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ the fact that it was the “roadies” who signed it, a great disappointment! And Mr. Cubb {Michael Palin} who thought everything in and around his house was dirty, but as it turned out it was his spectacles which were dirty!
    I was delighted to see photographs of back lots at
MGM, some of which I had not seen before.
   The book is well written, the text well constructed, although I have to admit that many of the film titles for schools, information etcetera which Eric worked on went straight over my head, and didn’t mean anything to me having never heard of any of them.
   Eric’s remembrances of his trips behind the Iron Curtain ‘Red Reflections’ are a social reminder of the way things were, interesting that he found West Berlin more oppressive than in the East.  
   On the whole I found the book an easy and interesting read.
   Eric Mival mentions a few times in his book, and is quite right, when he writes “The Prisoner has never left me,” I can heartily concur with that sentiment, as indeed can many other enthusiasts. It would seem Patrick McGoohan made prisoners of us all!

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Caught On Camera!

   Soon after Mrs Butterworth moved into No.1 Buckingham Place she made a few changes. Gone are the three “spy” or Vanity Prints once on that back wall. They have been replaced by three works of art…just a minute, is that a Gauguin? He painted ballet dancers, and there’s one in a yellow tutu, but that’s not the same painting here. But it appears to be in the style of Gauguin. But what would Mrs Butterworth be doing with an original Gauguin? It’s probably a Woollies {Woolworths} repro and put in a nice looking frame!

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Mrs. Butterworth

    You are in a unique position, not only are you an agent working for The Village, but we discover that you have been seconded to The Village as Number 2! More than that, you are the only Number 2 whose name we know, albeit only your surname. We also know that you are a widow, that your husband was in the Royal Navy. Granted it’s not much, and it is difficult to know whether or not it’s a cover. That you are not Mrs. Butterworth, that you’re not a widow, and weren’t married to a Royal Navy man. However it’s all we have, and for one I am quite prepared to take you on face value, which means we know more about you than we do of any of your predecessors. In fact we know more of you than we do any Number 2 period!
    You must have been in on this plan to allow Number 6 to escape The Village and return to his home in
London, but not as Number 2. At the outset of the episode Number 2 is a man. So he must have overseen Number 6’s escape from The Village, and you had been moved into Number 6’s London house, under a bogus lease as well as bogus estate Agents! You were given his car to use, that’s a bit of a cheek isn’t it? But I guess your occupancy of the house and ownership of the car demonstrates that Number 6’s former life has been taken away from him. So it’s effectively as you said, he’s a now nameless exile, with no home and no status.
   After you had lent Number 6 his own car, you hung around No.1 Buckingham Place just long enough for Special Branch to come calling, which you knew it would, so that you could collaborate Number 6’s story as far as you are concerned. When did you leave for The Village? My guess would be as soon as you had given your statement to Special Branch. After all you had to get to The Village before Number 6 was returned there, in time to be on hand to welcome him and present him with that cake you promised to bake him if he came back……he came back! But just how long had you been in The Village before Number 6 arrived? Not long would be my guess, because you hadn’t had time to change out of that harlequin patterned dress of yours. What’s more you are the only Number 2 to wear a negative badge. I say negative, I mean a white canopied Penny Farthing on a black background and curiously with a white numeral 2 instead of the more usual red!
   So what happened the day after Number 6 arrived back in The Village of ‘Many happy Returns?’ That would be ‘Dance of The Dead,’ but what happened to you? If you had been brought to The Village simply to welcome Number 6 back to The Village, to present him with a cake, that seems an awful lot of trouble to go to. I don’t mean baking a cake, but to bring you all the way to The Village, when Number 2 could have welcomed him back instead. Unless of course you were to be the new Number 2 all along. That would in turn suggest that there was an episode in ‘the Prisoner’ to which the television viewer is not privy. It’s just a pity you were not retained in The Village for that episode, as it would have given the series some little continuity between the episodes!

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There Is No Escape!

    The Village is a place where people turn up, abducted from all they have known, to a place where there is no hope, a place beyond all hope. There is no escape not from this physical place, this picturesque, charming Village. No! This prison, this Interment Camp, this place of physical pain, and mental torture, and despair. There is no escape from that one person responsible for your being where you are, that person responsible for all the pain and torment brought upon you, he or she is your own worst enemy, that person is you! Try as much as you will, you cannot escape yourself!

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The 2017 50th Anniversary Prisoner Calendar

    Many Happy Returns Number 6 on your 50th anniversary!
    Please feel free to save and print with my compliments.

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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Quote For The Day

    “What’s it all about?”
                                 {The Prisoner- Arrival}

    Yes what is it all about? It’s about a man in isolation. Well not really, because if he was in isolation he would be all on his own, but as it is he’s in The Village isolated from the rest of the world. He says his life is his own. Well that maybe so, but they seem to know a good deal about it, the only thing they don’t seem to know is the reason behind the Prisoner’s resignation. The Prisoner protested that he would not be pushed, filed, stamped, briefed, de-briefed or numbered, but the thing is, he was.
    There’s something special about Number 6, no extreme measures are to be used against him. Well the 17 episode ordeal looks pretty extreme to me, if it isn’t extreme to take away a man’s identity, to condition him to believe he’s someone else. Fill him full of hallucinatory drugs, put him in a dangerous environment, then I don’t know what it. Unless of course what they did to Number 6 was “everyday” that there are far worse extreme measures which they did not use, because as we know they didn’t want to damage him permanently.  Because this Number 6 is seen to have a future in The Village, what, as a prisoner? That’s pretty obvious. What happened to the former Number 6, or is Number 6 the first Number 6? If he is then The Village hasn’t been going that long at all! He might be given a position of authority, well he was, and we know what he did when he got it!
    So how long has The Village been going? Before the war, since the war, which war? According to Number 240, who was Number 6’s observer at the time, The Village had been going a long time. And that’s the crux of the matter. No-one knows just how long The Village has been going. If it’s a physical place, or a place to be found in the deepest recesses of the subconscious, or a mixture of both. Certainly it was conjured up in the mind of one man, or possibly two, depending on who you believe. Personally I like to think that Patrick McGoohan had the original idea, and then he and George Markstein {script editor for the Prisoner} worked together in order to fill in the fine detail. They used scriptwriters to expand the original idea. Because no matter who had the original idea, to produce ‘the Prisoner’ was by no means a one man band affair, it took a large team to create and evolve ‘the Prisoner.’ And Number 6 wasn’t always Patrick McGoohan, on many occasions Number 6 was Frank Maher, even Nigel Stock got to play, not Number 6 exactly, but in his former life as ZM73. But even then the Colonel felt happier as himself, because he wasn’t back in London five minutes before he had discarded the black polo shirt, the charcoal grey suit, and elastic-sided boot {they go all the way back to Victorian times those elastic-sided boots} for his own suit of clothes, the white shirt, double breasted blazer. After all he was living in ZM73’s house, which only confirms Mrs. Butterworth’s story about her having a ten year lease for
No.1 Buckingham Place as being a complete fabrication, because ZM73 still had occupancy. But by the time of ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ wouldn’t the lease have run out anyway? Perhaps, if that was the case, the authority behind The Village gained temporary occupancy of ZM73’s former home. And so that the Colonel felt happier as himself, they moved some of his clothes into the house. But then if that was the case, its not the Colonel who should be feeling happier as himself, dressed in his own clothes, it should have been the Prisoner, seeing as its his mind that occupies the Colonel’s body! Ah I have it, perhaps it was actor Nigel Stock who felt happier as himself, preferring not to go about dressed like Patrick McGoohan!
   So what’s it all about? It’s whatever you believe it to be!

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Exhibition of Arts And Crafts

                          “Nutty As A Fruitcake!”
                                   {There’s the irony!}