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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Living In Harmony

    ‘Living In Harmony’ isn’t quite like the previous episodes, as it doesn’t have the normal opening title sequence, but has been reinvented, re-interpreted for this particular episode. Instead of the Prisoner driving a Lotus 7 along a deserted runway and handing in his letter of resignation, we have a Sheriff riding a horse on the prairie, who resigns his job by handing in both his badge and his gun. What’s more this episode, like its predecessor ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling.’ takes place entirely outside The Village, in a manner of speaking.
   I think it was when Channel 4 screened ‘the Prisoner’ in 1992, that when it came round to ‘Living In Harmony,’ for some reason, someone, went and added the regular opening sequence which messed up the beginning of the episode. It can only be supposed that some clever Dick thought the film of ‘Living In Harmony’; had arrived without the regular opening sequence and so added it to the film!
   It can be argued that this is the most violent of ‘the Prisoner’ episodes, with the fight scene in the opening sequence. The dragging of the Man With No Name all the way back behind a horse to the town of Harmony after he tried to leave. The punching out of the Kid {for no apparent reason} the fist fight with Zeke and his men, the gun fights and killings. The lynching of Cathy Johnson’s brother, and thereby ‘mob rule.’ The strangling of both Cathy and Number 22, seeing Valerie French strangled twice in fact, and finally the dramatic suicide of Number 8. And yet the violence is an essential component in the story, which is made clear in the story by Number 2’s explanation. “Put him in a dangerous environment, make him kill, then face him with death……..”
    I think originally the Kid was to have had a voice, but in the episode that voice is taken away, and is mute for whatever reason. Perhaps through having experienced some traumatic ordeal, Alexis Kanner’s Kid is left to act the role of the psychopathic killer entirely in gesture and expression. It was to turn out to be a brilliant decision to have the Kid mute, and is a superb performance on Alexis Kanner’s part. It is a  performance which, dare I say it, even outshines that of Patrick McGoohan’s!
    Valerie French, who was a 1950’s starlet made her best known television appearance in ‘the Prisoner’ as Cathy. Cathy being spelt with a ‘C’ rather than a ‘K,’ apparently because of McGoohan’s daughter Catherine.
   Valerie French is arguably the most obvious sexy character in the entire series, her first costume, a shoulder-less Western saloon girl’s costume, in which she shows a good deal more flesh than every other woman in the series put together. Too much in fact at one point, because while wearing her second costume, which was tightly fitted, pushing upwards and outwards, she was shows a good deal of cleavage. So much so that she was showing part of her nipples {which can be seen in some production shots of the episode} and as a result her costume was adjusted slightly before filming took place.
   It cannot be denied that Valerie French was a buxom woman, and at the time, aged of 39, she was still a very attractive, and good-looking woman. As her role suggests, a role which she played ‘doubly’ well. But an interesting point might be, that she somehow looks older as Number 22, than she does as Cathy.

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