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Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Welcome To Blood City

    The Prisoner episode Living In Harmony had the ordianry towns people, the Judge, the Kid, Cathy, and the Judges boys. Fist fights, gun fights, the Sliver Dollar Saloon, and both Cathy and No.22 strangled to death by the Kid-No.8. "Fill him with hallucinatory drugs" said No.2 "Put him in a dangerous environment. Talk to him through microphones. Give him love, take it away. Isolate him. Make him kill. then face him with death. He'll crack, break him even in his mind, and the rest will be easy." "It's always worked, and it would have worked this time" says No.8 defending both himself and his process. If only the participants in the office of the Green Dome had controlled themselves, and not allowed themselves to become involved!
     That was back in 1967. A decade on and we have the film Welcome To Blood City, starring Jack Palance and Barry Morse. Like Living In Harmony which has personnel as No.2, No.8 and No.22 controlling matters in the Green Dome. Welcome To Blood City has a Chief Technician, and a No.2 style character in a sinister Control Room which is refelctive of the laboratory in A B & C, with a couch upon which reclines a patient, with electrodes attached, and having first having been brainwashed and in which the action in Blood City is taking place in his or her mind!
   At the beginning of Welcome To Blood City there is traffic, and a traffic cop blowing his whistle and pointing his white truncheon at Michael Lewis sat behind the steering wheel of his car. But soon the view changes to a barren terrain, a territory where Lewis, along with three other companions - three men and a girl - find themselves. None of them know each other. Where are they, why, or by whom they have been brought there. There is initial violence as one man is shot by someone of another group, and the girl is dragged off into the bushed and violently raped by a couple of woodsman. Then along rides a Marshal, Marshal Frendlander {Jack Palance} who wears the regular five pointed silver star on his chest, and the more unusual, a silver cross on the back of his shirt, whom we later discover is an 'immortal.'
    Frendlander leads the four companions to Blood City, and takes them to the Arrival room, where they will wait pending selection on Choosing day. Once picked, they will be slaves, unless they can kill a man and earn their freedom, though such a feat is difficult as everyone but the newcomers is wearing a gun!
    The population of Blood City comprises of the ordinary Towns people, bar-room girls and citizens of the most unfriendly type, and Bosses. The latter being black shirted thugs of both sexes who support Marshal Frendlander, some of whom envy and desire to kill Fendlander, thus making them immortal!
    The plot can be almost dismissed as one gunfight after another, as the body count rises rapidly. The main theme is to kill 20 men, the total of which makes one Immortal, and the killer gets to own those possessions of the man he has killed. And so it is not surprising that Lewis, who began life in Blood City as a pacifist and now given the title of Number 9, takes himself a gun and begins to kill, and is soon on his way to achieving that number of 20.
   As with Living In Harmony the trick is not to let oneself get involved. Yet in Welcome To Blood City Chief Technician-Katherine does just that, and more, she tries to manipulate the situation in Blood City, not only in Lewis' favour, but also to attain her own ends by entering his subconscious. She has designs on Lewis and creates a relationship with him. But later jealousy and hatred wells up within her, as the Chief Technician realises that Lewis wants to escape with the girl Martine who arrived with the original group.
   The rejected Chief Technician creates a scene in which the girl Martine is shot dead and then arranges for her new prey to be persued by the manic Marshal Frendlander. And with a few click of buttons on her control panel in the laboratory, the Cheif Technician arranges for Frendlander to follow Lewis wherever he runs, to out him wherever Lewis hides.
    In the end Frendlander commits suicide by his own gun and the scheme goes horribly wrong for the lab femme fatale, Katherine, who some would have believe is the same as Cathy in Living In Harmony, although Cathy is spelt with a 'C' and not 'K' as Katherine places herself in the plot as a Saloon girl.
   Finally Lewis wakes up in the laboratory and realises what's been happening to him as No.6 did in the laboratory of A B & C. Lewis discovers that his colleagues have been rendered mad and insane, and are being held in a caged room. As for Lewis, it seems that the world has gone mad, the experiment  he has undergone is designed to find natural killers, those who can go out into the real world and keep law and order, but who would be prepared to kill if necessary.
    Lewis rejects this, he upsets instruments in the laboratory and puts in motion the programme he has been undergoing, knowing that capture and living under control in this modern civilised society unbearable. He much prefers to fight it out in the old Wild West. As the leader and his aide burst through the doors into the laboratory, they find Lewis unconscious  forever, electrodes self-applied to his head, now riding out as an 'Immortal' with a silver star pinned to his black shirted chest, and a silver cross on his back.
   There is no doubt that there are Prisoneresque aspects within Welcome To Blood City, to those in Living In Harmony. But the viewer will have to judge for themselevs.
Be seeing you


  1. The death scene of The Kid is a replay of the one in "Vera Cruz". David Tomblin almost uses the same camera angles and Kanner certainly dies the same....except he doesn't talk so much as Lancaster does...... :-D
    Check it out:

  2. Hello Moor Larkin,
    Good to hear from you. I've got the film 'Vera Cruz' on video somewhere abouts. I've watched it a few times, looks like I'll be taking a closer look at that particular scene. Thanks

  3. Thanks for the video clip, I can see the similarity. I must watch the whole film again sometime.