When my wife saw this particular picture of Patrick McGoohan, upon the day prior to the release of the news of his death, she said he looked sad and old. Well I suppose he does in a way, and to many who worked on 'the Prisoner' series he was. But I can sympathise with Patrick McGoohan, because of my experiences while producing my Art House film Village Day.
As with the production of the Prisoner series, Patrick McGoohan stamped his authority on it right from the very beginning, and did so even more as production wore on. Patrick had his finger in every aspect of the series production, from being the star, writing, producing, directing, helping with the composing of the theme music, even to the point of working in the cutting room.
He had arguments with members of the crew, even right in front of the cast and crew members. He would rant and rave at others in his office. Patrick McGoohan was the boss, and he knew what he wanted, and if those working on the production didn't measure up, they were sacked there and then, on the spot. Yet there were times when he was kind to members of the cast, and got on with people really well, and very friendly. I think it's just how you caught Patrick McGoohan on the day.
Well I can sympathise. I too had my problems with the production of 'Village Day.' I, like Patrick McGoohan, had to stamp my authority on the films production right from the outset, otherwise the film would never have got made.
The first idea was that the film should be produced via a committee, I was never happy with this idea, and as soon as I could I saw to it that the committee was dissolved. And that caused me to have a stand up row with one member of that dissolved committee. I had one director who had experience at making films, as indeed did the assistant director. Only the director could never make it to any production meetings. This soon began to irk me, and when he said he couldn't be at Portmeirion to direct the film, that was enough. I sacked him, but he knew it before I could tell him so. One person who was originally to have composed music for the film, because he was good at it, didn't produce one note. My music director told someone that I'd sacked him. I hadn't. I had tired to get in touch with him, but to no avail. So really my music director had sacked himself!
The assistant director, who had attended a casting meeting, said of the cast "They are all good, and they can all act." But when I promoted him to director - well suddenly the cast couldn't act, the script was no good and needed to be rewritten, which he did himself. He then said he was to send out the rewritten script to members of the cast, whether I liked it or not. And we needed to use a professional film crew! He tried to force me to do what he wanted, other wise he said he would resign - I accepted his resignation - and directed myself, because boy was I getting pissed off!!
Regarding the script of the film, it was put to members of the production to each submit an idea, synopsis, or full script which they did. Most were either just plain silly, ridiculous, or completely unworkable. So I came up with an idea myself, and my first director wrote the script, after which I edited and revised for the films actual production.
Finance was to be a major problem. Members of Six of One the Prisoner appreciation were most generous in their sponsoring of the film. However I did have to put a great deal of my own money into the films production. One person said she was prepared to put some of her own money into the films production, just as long as she controlled what it was spent on, which I felt was fair enough. This person said that all the cast members should have new village costumes for the film, many of whom already had their own costumes which they wore at prisoner conventions, and at a quick calculation new costumes would cost in the region of £1,200, which was double what this person was going to put into the film. And which meant that I would have to find the other £600!!!!! Plus there were strings attached to this money, to meet on neutral ground to discus the films script, and the development of the film's production, no-one must know where the money came from, I was to make a woman the director of the film, even though this woman had never directed a film in her life! The idea was that this person was to control the films production by controlling me!!!! So I refused the offer of the money.
Then the feminist league raised their heads asking how many women would be working on the film? How many acting, how many behind the cameras? Would there be a female No.2? And so it went on, one step forward, and three backwards. All this as well as the normal problems with producing a film. It was turning out to be something like actually being Patrick McGoohan working on the Prisoner, and by the end of it all I felt just how Patrick McGoohan must have felt, during and at the end of the series production.
The production of Village Day, for me, in a strange way somehow mirrored how the Prisoner must have been for Patrick McGoohan.
I'll be seeing you