A life time fan and Prisonerologist of the 1960's series 'the Prisoner', a leading authority on the subject, a short story writer, and now Prisoner novelist.
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Monday, 27 December 2010
THEPRISONER - Reinvented
This series is more subtle than that of the original, it's not full in the face. But there's plenmy going on, perhaps too much to take in for a first time viewing, especially with all the flashbacks, as I thought they were at the time. I didn't realise that.......well I mustn't get too far ahead of myself. Suffice to say, that I understood, and appreciated Arrival much better for a second screening, as indeed did my wife Morag.
There is no question of which side runs the village, as there seems to be no sides! Where is the village? Who runs the village? Who is the Prisoner? Why has he been brought to the village? And who is Number One? Are still prime questions in this series. But one thing we do know, and that is the name of the Prisoner - it's Michael, well in New York at any rate. Because we see some of Michael's life in New York, and the company Summakor from which he resigned his job.
At first it seems that THEPRISONER has no opening sequence, but it does, and comes after a few minutes into each episode, of which there are only six.
At the outset of Arrival, the Prisoner helps an old man in a desert somewhere. An old man who is being persued by armed men with dogs, who are shooting at him - the men, not the dogs. The Prisoner carries the old man into a cave, who tells him to go and say that he finally got out. To go and find 455 and say that he had got out. But the old man dies, and the Prisoner buries the old man by a dead tree. Of the armed men and dogs there is no further sign.
Eventually, after a long trek through the desert, the Prisoner arrives in the village. It's not difficult to put the village in time. Because it has the look and feel of the 1950's. The decor of citizens homes are 1950's style, as are the television sets, and furnishings. Vehicles are form either the 1950's or early 60's, even bicycles are of that time. The village even has a bus service!
Phrases are resued, Be seeing you, I am not a number, I am a free man, are used, but not the village hand salute as in the original series.
At the first watching of Arrival, I had formed no ideas, or theories of what was taking place. I was far too busy trying to take in some of what was happening on the screen. But I did, instantly take to Two. Where as in the original series it was No.6 where my sympathies lay. This time it's with Two that they lie!
The taxi servcie is still 'local service only.' when 147's taxi is hailed by the Prisoner, and is asked to take him to the nearest town, or railroad station, 147 replies "This is a local service. I do local destinations." So no change there then! There's a Village Shop, which sells mainly maps of The Village. "Buy one, get one free. Makes the perfect gift!" That's according to 37927-the Shopkeeper.
The Prisoner, having been given the number Six, pays a call on 93's apartment, which has something familiar to the television viewer. There's the familiar arch. Two lava lamps. 93's apartment is not a direct copy of '6 Private,' No.6's cottage of the original series, but there is something very familiar about it. So, is 93, the old man the Prisoner came across out there in the desert, the former No.6? I'd say he was, even though 93 is not played by Patrick McGoohan, but it is a role he turned down!
There is a coincidence in Arrival, with that of the original series. You see in the original series of Arrival, Cobb was supposed to have commited suicide by jumping ouit of a hospital window. But of course he didn't, but nevertheless a funeral for Cobb is staged, so as to maintain the pretence of his death. In the reinterpretation of Arrival the old man 93 dies. The village is rife with the rumour, started by the Prisoner, and carried on by 455 and other 'dreamers,' that 93 has got out of the village, that he's escaped! Two cannot have that, and so it is announced over the public address system that the body of 93 has been found and that he had died of heart failure. Then so to keep up the pretence of 93's supposed death, Two holds a funeral for 93, who is deserving of such.
There are no locked door in the village. Nor is there escape. There is no escape, because there is nowhere to escape to, well according to Two there isn't. But there is 'Rover', the village guardian, which Six encounters out in the desert, stopping him from escape!
Oh and 'dreamers,' I didn't tell you about them did I. Dreamers are those citizens who dream of the 'other place.' That 'other place' being anywhere other than the village!
I'll be seeing you, and writing more of THEPRISONER
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