Elections…In This Place?
During election time in England in 2010 my wife and I sat watching the episode of Free For All. Well it seemed quite apt really, this 20th century Bastille that pretends to be a pocket democracy. Well if nothing aged the Prisoner before, the previous sentence did!
Anyway, there we were watching No.6 attain the lofty position of No.2, get slapped about the face by No.58 and then go off at a tangent shouting about everyone being free to go, you are free, free to go. That he has immobilised all electronic controls, that he is in command. "Obey me and be free" he shouted.
Well, as I have found, there is always something to observe in scenes of the Prisoner, always something to observe that you might have missed previously. Like when No.6, or should I say No.2, is ordering the citizens to be free. There is a shot of the central Piazza, and having just walked up the steps and now standing in the Piazza is the tall figure of the Prisoner, dressed in his charcoal grey suit on the day of his arrival in the village. Okay this is obviously a piece of stock footage taken from Arrival and used in Free For All, but when I noticed this it did get my imagination going. There was No.6's alter ego who turns out to be No.1, in No.2's office, having just been elected as No.2. On the day of the Prisoner's arrival in the village! Enigmatic enough for you? Well now I'm off to lie down in a darkened room for ten minutes!
Be seeing you
The Village An International Community - 'Colony Three' A School For Spies!
"The Village is a place where people turn up. People who know too much or too little. A place with many means of breaking a man. A complete unit of our own society, they have their own cinema, television station and newspaper. A credit card system and if you're a good boy and cough up the secrets, you are gracefully retired into the old people's home. And they have a very impressive graveyard!
This of course is all very familiar to us, but of course before the village there was Colony Three. Worked on similar grounds to that of the village, but with 1950's architecture with its cold concrete instead of being of bright Italianate design. Mind you there is a reason, that it is supposed to be a typical English town, the new town of
. And here the good people of Hamden are encouraged to speak only English. Hamden
Like the village, people do come to Hamden of their own free will, or are recruited, and some are members of the Communist Party! Because Colony Three is somewhere behind the Iron Curtain, situated on some frozen tundra somewhere in
Eastern Europe. Possibly the installation described in the Danger Man episode To Our Best Friend. In winter the temperature drops to 30 degrees below zero!
Where as the village authorities use the village to gather information, the people behind Colony Three use it as a school for spies, and they are the only ones to leave the colony, once they are fully trained that is. And being fully trained means speaking fluent English, to be able to converse on things like the stock market and so on. Because by the time the agents leave they are typical Englishmen and women.
John Drake manages to infiltrate Colony Three by taking the place of Robert Fuller, a civil servant who takes up his place of work at the Citizens Advice Bureau, something in common with the village, they also have a very well equipped interrogation room! Drake, as well as giving out help and advice about income tax, passports, and other papers of identity tax, surreptitiously manages to take the photographs of a large number of agents being trained at Colony Three.
Yet there is more to Colony Three, or the new town of Hamden, whichever you prefer. There is the shopping precinct, receptions or parties such as the one given by Lord and Lady Denby, titles given by Donovan, head of Colony Three. A British Routemaster bus picks up new arrivals from the rail head and takes them to the new town of Hamden, much to the surprise of the newcomers. Security comes in the form of routine helicopter patrols, and the fact that there is nothing in the barren landscape for 300 miles. There is also a typical English church and graveyard. Because once in Colony Three, the people there cease to exist!
Some lines of dialogue from the Colony3 episodeReplyDelete
"What is this place?
Mr. Donovan will explain everything"
"Geography is a matter of physical illusion. Lines on a map. Words on a signpost.It’s this that gives a place it’s identity. After all, you are where you recognise yourself to be. Mr. Donovan says that all countries are countries of the mind."
"Well – the layout of the village is quite simple. As you can see – we’re still building."
"This village is one of our best-kept secrets"
"You think there are no spy-schools in England?
Of course there are."
"In this village we transform our guests into Englishmen"
"You’re quite free to wander round the village. Just don’t go outside it."
"You realise that none of the residents can leave the village – ever."
I guessed you might spot the familiarities.... ;-D
The similarities between Colony 3 and the Village cannot be denied. And thank you for the link.
Here is an article from TIME Magazine that is about the real world "Colony 3" in the (then) U.S.S.R.from 1959.
Iowa in the Ukraine
Monday, Apr. 27, 1959
Fords and Chevrolets honk under a movie marquee advertising a western.Blue notes from a cocktail lounge mingle with the blare of bebop from a drugstore jukebox. "A hamburger and a Coke," says the man in a Tennessee drawl, scuttling onto a lunch-counter stool. It might be Tupelo or Tuxedo Junction—but it is actually Vinnitsa in the Ukraine.
The existence of a top-secret finishing school for Soviet spies, made in an exact copy of a small American town, has long been a fantasy of fiction writers, but has also been taken quite seriously as a possibility by U.S. counterintelligenee.
Last week, in the Swedish military journal Contact with the Army,Swedish Major Per Lindgren, a man well regarded as a Soviet analyst,pieced together the available evidence about Vinnitsa. Hand-picked from the most promising Russian university students, the 1,000"citizens" of Vinnitsa, he reports, lead American lives from morning to night for as long as ten years. They master American dialects,learn American history from U.S. textbooks, gossip about American movie stars, and swap hot-stove-league baseball statistics.
"Everything in Vinnitsa down to the smallest detail is pure American."says Major Lindgren. "The bar serves American drinks, and the restaurant American food. The movies are Hollywood-made, and the stores sell everything from ready-made clothing to chewing gum." The only authentic Communist touch is the high, barbed-wire fence that seals Vinnitsa off from the rest of Russia.
Blimey Mr Anon....ReplyDelete
Sounds like a Red Nightmare to me!!
Hello Mister Anonymous,ReplyDelete
Thank you for the information in your comment, it makes for fascinating reading. McGoohan once said of 'the Prisoner' that there were such places as the Village in the world. At the time I thought he was talking out of his backside. Also I've observed how fact and truth often enters the scripts for 'Danger man,' as in 'Under The Lake,' 'Don't Nail Him Yet,' and now 'Colony 3.'
Very Kind Regards