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Monday, 11 June 2018

Man In The Mirror

    You may recall a previous piece of blog regarding the 1936 British comedy film
‘Man In The Mirror.’ At the time I had not actually seen the film, however a few days ago the film was shown by ‘Talking Pictures’ television channel, and so now I know how the film ends.
    As I wrote previously the film concerns a withdrawn Jeremy Dilke, a meek, mild-mannered businessman who allows everyone to use him for a doormat. One evening Dilke is surprised when his reflection in the mirror, not only speaks back at him, but actually steps out of the mirror and telling him he is his brusque assertive alter ego. “I am the man you have always longed to be”  Armed with his new found confidence, Dilke becomes a go-getting dynamo, he sets about the downfall of his business partner, not only that, but his wife is pleased with his new found assertion, who knew he had it in him all along, and enjoys the new loving attitude towards her.
   The two Dilkes meet up in their own home, at work, and at night clubs, and they converse with each other, and it is in a bar when Dilke finds he no longer has a reflection. His reflection, his other self, is at home with his wife! Dilke decides to leave the country because it’s not big enough for the two of them, despite not having a like to travel in foreign parts. This is because of what his other self has done to him, having gotten him, them, into an awful lot of trouble.
   “You ought to be grateful, think of what I’ve done for you, me, us. That now you are a better business man than Talkington, shown you how to live in peace with our mother-in-law, and manage our little wife.”
   “This country isn’t big enough for the two of us.”
   “That’s just the point old man, there aren’t we’re just a reflection of each other. You can’t do without me, and I can’t do without you together we make the perfect whole.”
    The two Dilke’ agree and shake hands, at which point they are absorbed into the one, and his reflection is restored in the mirror.
    ‘Man In The Mirror’ is a light-hearted comedy version, on the lines of ‘The Man Who Haunted Himself,’ although the latter came many years later. With regard to ‘the Prisoner,’ this film has demonstrated to me that Number 1 cannot do without Number 6 and he without him. That at some point, like Jeremy Dilke, the two halves of the same person somehow became separated. Why and how? Well that’s open to supposition and speculation. Perhaps 1 having brought 6 to The Village he was trying to teach him strength of character, and resilience, to build the instinct of survival within him. His only problem with that is, Number 6 has those values anyway! Patrick McGoohan said of Number 1 that he was the alter ego of Number 6 who he was trying to beat. But why, both make up the whole, like Dilke they need each other to be whole. But in the end they both escape The Village at precisely the same moment, what happens then? Are they somehow made whole once more, or does the one survive whilst the other must surely die horribly either in the vacuum of space, or upon impact with the ground!
   Finally, in ‘Fall Out’ Number 6 is given the opportunity to meet Number 1, it is a physical meeting of the two selves. This being the case, it occurred to me that like Dilke, shouldn’t Number 6 have been unable to see his reflection in the mirror when he’s shaving on the morning of ‘Dance of The Dead,’ and cleaning his teeth on a night in ‘Checkmate?’


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