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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Prismatic Reflection

   "He told us a blessed fairytale!” said Number 2. But of course it wasn’t only to Number 2 the Prisoner-Patrick McGoohan was telling the fairytale. He told it to you, me, the chap down the street, and thousands like us. We lapped the story up, it was fifty minutes of light relief from that which had gone before, and that which was still to come. But Number 2 didn’t find the fairytale at all amusing, as he hoped Number 6 would drop his guard with children, that he might have told them something. At the end of ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ it seems perfectly clear that Number 6 knew what had been going on all the time. It makes me wonder how many stories he had previously told the three children, seeing as he was going back the next day, perhaps to tell them yet another story! But Number 2 wasn’t amused by his role as Napoleon Bonaparte, seeing as Number 6 made him out to be mad. Well wasn’t anyone mad, in bygone days, who claimed to be Napoleon?  Number 2 simply didn’t see the funny side. But we enjoyed it didn’t we? In fact it was much like watching an episode of ‘Danger Man,’ not that I’m going down that route here. I’ve been up that particular garden path on too many different occasions. But it did seem like a ‘Danger Man’ episode, perhaps because we have Pat McGoohan as the hero Mister X, and the same film crew filming ‘The Girl Who Was Death,’ who filmed the ‘Danger Man’ series. Its no wonder the episode felt so familiar, especially with Christopher Benjamin as Mister X’s contact man, the same as he was for John Drake in ‘Koroshi.’ And yet there’s more than a touch of the James Bond about it. ‘Mookraker,’ the book not the film, along with the scene in the with the steam box in Benny’s Turkish baths, looks straight out of ‘Thunderball!’
   But the Prisoner, or rather Patrick McGoohan, tells us more than a fairytale, because a fairytale is something quite unbelievable, its Hans Christian Anderson. After all what‘s not to believe with ‘the Prisoner?’ That a man with a job of a secret, top secret, confidential nature, suddenly resigns and find himself abducted to a place called The Village, what‘s not to believe? Well perhaps The Village is not to be believed. Mind you what’s The Village when all is said and done? It’s nothing more than a detention centre, a place to put people who cannot be left to roam free at large.
   ‘The Prisoner’ is a saga, an action adventure story of daring do. It tells of damsels in distress, and of an avenging knight who comes at us on a green charger from out of the wilderness. Our hero rights wrongs in the name of the people, does battle with the evil Sheriff. He crosses swords with the black knight {Number 14} who is vanquished by being hurled out of a door and over the railings of a balcony. And he comes face to face with himself, his evil brother, who takes pleasure from the sufferings of others. It’s almost as though King Richard has returned to The Village from the crusades, only to find his evil brother John has taken the throne for himself, and thus must be vanquished from the land in order to make the community safe for all.
    You see ‘the Prisoner’ can be anything you make it, but does that make it right? Art, if ‘the Prisoner’ can be described as a work of art, is always open to interpretation. The artist creates a great masterpiece, an abstract painting or sculpture into which he has poured his heart and soul. He has put meaning into his work, and is disappointed if the art lover cannot see what the artist is getting at. And yet art is in the eye of the beholder, and more often that not, the beholder can see more in a work of art than the actual artist put into that piece of abstract painting or sculpture, simply because we put it there. Whether that’s right or wrong, making more out of something than is actually there, I suppose that’s up to the individual. If that gives pleasure, well isn’t that the first thing with art, to give pleasure? And the artist? I should think the work is its own reward. As for Patrick McGoohan, he might have thought that enthusiasts of the series he created, took ‘The Prisoner’ too far, perhaps too seriously. He’d certainly be of that opinion  if ever he had read my ‘Prisoner’ based blog!


Be seeing you


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