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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Prisoner And Me - Me And The Prisoner



video

    I once followed in the footsteps of Patrick McGoohan, not only acting, writing, editing. Was the Executive Producer, director, and to the point of actually sweeper-upper on set. I bet Patrick McGoohan didn't sweep the floor! That was for my art-house film Village Day which was produced in 1998. By the time the film was finished I certainly knew what Patrick McGoohan must have felt like by the end of producing the Prisoner.
   I never set out to have overall control of the film no not at all. When the idea of producing a film based on the Prisoner was suggested, I saw my involvement as being the guy playing the role of the Prisoner, and nothing more than that. But that's not the way it turned out, the guy whose idea it was bailed out and I was left holding the baby so to speak. And of course once I assumed responsibility for the project, well there was no going back.
    Village Day was a very ambitious film project, and run on a tight shoestring budget. Yet having said that, it is the first film to have a life-size interior set of the Green Dome since the original series was produced, with working steel doors and wall screen.
   We filmed at the same London locations as in the Prisoner series, as well as Portmeirion where we had a week to film. Filming at Portmeirion commenced at 7am on a Saturday morning, and over the following week, and was not completed until the following Friday evening at 5pm.
   The production was not without it's many problems. But then there were a number of great achievements, the construction of the interior of the Green Dome, the music to the film is completely original, composed and produed by Australian musician Bruce Stringer. We even made a successful controlled crash of KAR 120C on a long and deserted highway in the county of Berkshire, or at least it was until we commenced filming. Then the world and his wife came driving along that road, I couldn't believe it! Anyway, after we had crashed the car, I was slumped over the steering wheel with blood flowing from an open wound. Suddenly a white van drew up, the driver asking if everyone was okay, and did we need an ambulance? Well I was both gratified and delighted. Because if we could fool a memeber of the general public, then the car crash was as authentic as we were ever likely to get it.
   For myself, and on a personal level. When we were busy filming at Portmeirion, members of the general public actually thought that Patrick McGoohan had returned to Portmeirion and was making another series. One woman visited the Priosner shop and asked if she paid twenty pounds could she go and stand next to the man himself......meaning me, and meaning me as Patrick McGoohan looks in the Prisoner series, not as he was then in 1998. But I was flattered nonetheless for that. Members of the general public we taking photographs and filming us filming scenes, and some even asked if they could be involved as extras. Well I thought why not, as long as they were dressed in Village costume. Well they were delighted. the only trouble was, that when I called for extras for a scene to be filmed down on the lawn of the hotel {Old people's Home} only two people came forward. I suppose no-one was going to admit they were old enough to actually be in the Village's Old people's Home. But I didn't see why it should have been a problem, as in the Prisoner series there are middle aged citizens sitting at tables on the lawn of the Old People's Home. Anyway, we got round it in the end.....we filmed in another location at Portmeirion!

I'll be seeing you

7 comments:

  1. Hello David

    I see by your post you had thrust upon you what is now known as the "Capra Maxim': "One Man One Film" coined by director Frank Capra. Simply put someone has to step up to the plate and take charge.

    "We might have gone on with 'Secret Agent' he said, "but the American network took so long to make up its mind we decided to close it down. I had a lot of help on that series but as star and producer and even writer of some of the scripts of 'The Prisoner' I'll have only myself to blame if it's a lousy show.

    "And that's the way I like it." (Patrick McGoohan July 1966)

    As an aside Mr. McGoohan did indeed 'sweep the floors' as a theater manager... thus making a more complete connection for you.

    Sincerely

    Mr. Anonymous

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Mister Anonymous,

    Originally the idea was to run the film production via a ten person committee, democratic it might have been, but nothing would ever have got done, I could see that. So as soon as I was left holding the baby so to speak, I got rid of any idea of making a film via committee. In fact that idea was on it's way out when the perosn who suggested the film in the first place {who wanted to Produce a film via committee} met with Roger parkes at a Prisoner convention. Parkes said "You're not making a film by committe are you? You'll never get anything done that way!" That's when he saw the error of his ways, and soon after that I was left with the films production.

    Ah yes of course. I had been thinking of McGoohan not having swept the floor of a set on 'the Prisoner,' I was forgetting his time working behind the scenes and as a theatre Manager. Yes, the connection is complete.

    Regards
    David
    BCNU

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello David

    You obviously have an eye for a dramatic image:

    http://david-stimpson.blogspot.com/2012/02/arts-and-crafts.html#comment-form

    Have you thought of taking various individual 'panels' from 'Village Day', 'photo shopping' them to intensify the graphics and create a Graphic Novel. Much like Shattered Visage.

    http://www.mister8.com/the-illustrated-prisoner/

    You could go through 'The Prisoner' series and find various images that might add to or create whole new scenes or subplots. You might even adapt the unused images from the 'alt' Chimes of Big Ben and the cut 'long walk' scene from Fall Out.

    Perhaps some 'limited edition' or a slide show as was used at the TP'09 website.

    Sincerely

    Mr. Anonymous

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello David

    The Prisoner '09 Graphic Novel:

    http://www.amctv.com/the-prisoner-graphic-novel/


    Sincerely

    Mr. Anonymous

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Mister Anonymous,

    Thank you, I like to think I have a good eye for a dramtic image. And it has to be said that that's an excellent idea about a 'Village Day' graphic novel, and one I had not considered, but it's certainly an entertaining idea, and one to get the imagination working. Yes, I see what you mean.

    I had intended to post the opening sequence of 'Village Day' with the above piece of blog, but I had problems uploading it, an error message kept appearing each time I tried. I've a feeling the sequence is too long, so I'll go back and cut it, pity really.
    One of these days, and I've been saying this for some time, I'm going to produce a directors cut of 'Village day.' I was never happy the way the film was editied together, well I had to rely upon another person to see to that. Close-ups were left out of certain scenes. I also want to edit some scenes that are too long, and edit in others. That's a long, long task, and one for the future, as I've no spare time at present.

    Yes, I'll give serious thought to a graphic novel of 'Village Day.' Thank you for the suggestion.

    Kind Regards
    David
    Be seeing you

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello David

    You might find the editing task made easier with today's digital technology such as Mac's Imovie program.

    Sincerely

    Mr. Anonymous

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello Mister Anonymous,

    I shall remember that, thank you.

    Regards
    David
    BCNU

    ReplyDelete