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The Prisoner - Set 2: Checkmate/ The Chimes of Big Ben/ A, B and C/ The General (Bonus) (1968)

Patrick McGoohan , George Markstein  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Patrick McGoohan, George Markstein, Angelo Muscat, Peter Swanwick, Fenella Fielding
  • Writers: Patrick McGoohan
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 31, 2000
  • Run Time: 208 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004Y7E1
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,202 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Prisoner - Set 2: Checkmate/ The Chimes of Big Ben/ A, B and C/ The General (Bonus)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Triva sets
  • Stills gallery

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Where am I? In the Village. What do you want? Information. Whose side are you on? That would be telling. We want information...information...information. You won't get it. By hook or by crook, we will. Who are you? The new Number 2. Who is Number 1? You are Number 6. I am not a number, I am a free man!

The groundbreaking 1960s TV series The Prisoner continues with four more episodes of Number 6's struggle to escape the bizarre, picturesque confines of the Village. In "The Chimes of Big Ben," a Village art competition provides the perfect smokescreen for Number 6 (Patrick McGoohan) to hatch a daring escape plan with the help of another new arrival in the Village. Can she be trusted? In a brilliant and memorable performance, Leo McKern invests a humanity--alternately menacing, jolly, and paternal--to the role of Number 2, a quality lacking in many of his successors.

Colin Gordon plays Number 2 as a slightly insecure authoritarian in "A, B, and C," which concerns an attempt to break into and manipulate Number 6's dreams in order to discover why he resigned. Was he indeed "selling out" to the other side? Lively dialogue and a satisfying conclusion bail out what's otherwise a rather far-fetched episode. Gordon returns to the role in "The General," another one that's no slouch in the strained-credulity department: Can an entire university-level history course be delivered to people, via hypnotic TV, in 15 seconds? That's what the Village is experimenting with, but Number 6 smells a rat when he realizes that everyone seems to be reciting the same chunks of history--verbatim. It's a Twilight Zone-esque warning about the dangers of automated mass education, but it falls a bit flat in the end.

"Checkmate" fares much better, exploring the psychology of imprisonment and the difficulty Number 6 has figuring out who among his fellow Villagers works for his captors, and who against. One of the most visually stunning episodes, it opens with a magnificently staged chess match on the Village green, with humans as the pieces, "moved" by two Villagers using megaphones. And Number 6? A pawn, naturally. --Steve Landau

Product Description

"Checkmate"--A giant outdoor chessboard features unique pawns, human chess pieces. Number Six joins the game, and starts a game of his own. "The Chimes of Big Ben" (broadcast version)--A mysterious new resisdent offers a tantalizing clue as to where they are imprisoned. Together with Number Six, a plan for escape develops. "A, B and C"--Cruel, dream-invading drug experiments on Number Six attempt to reveal why he resigned. "The General"--A powerful, subliminal "educational" technique, Speed Learn, is made mandatory for all Villagers. How will it ultimately be used?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
In 1967, The Jackie Gleason Show (live, from Miami Beach) received a summer replacement like no television program before or since. Patrick McGoohan and The Prisoner have become cult talismen... from the saying "Be seeing you", the Lotus Super Seven (KAR 120C), the Highwheeler logo, The Village typeface on "The Tally Ho" to the village of Portmeirion, Wales, itself. Of the seventeen episodes, though, this second set, including "The Chimes of Big Ben," "The General" et.al., is both brilliant in its scope and indicative of the series in its depth of characters. Second only to McGoohan himself is the greatest No. 2, Leo McKern (more recently famous as John Mortimer's "Rumpole of the Bailey") His falstaffian portrayal as No. 6's nemesis in "The Chimes of Big Ben" brings the series to an early, tangible terror of truly Kafkaeque proportions. That episode alone (usually ranked as first, even in comparison with the initial "The Arrival" and surrealistic conculsion "Fall Out") makes the price, and the wait for DVD, worthwhile. Long relegated to the local editors' butchery in syndication, or the caprices of Public television station managers' pledge drives at two a.m., we can now all enjoy the series that made true television history. The golden age was not just one of kinescope and black and white. The roaring guard (weather balloon) 'Rover' and the sandy stretches of northern Wales call again. Follow the "Secret Agent" into his early retirement, trials, and escape. "Be seeing YOU."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
"The Prisoner" is one of the handful of all-time great television series (one of the others - "I, Claudius" - is also now on DVD).
After seeing the series originally on a 9-inch B&W TV and then later on a very snowy UHF PBS channel, it's great to see it now in DVD quality.
Unlike one of the other reviewers, I find this particular set to be possibly the best of the lot (although certainly Set One is the best starting point).
The episode "A, B, and C" has many levels, and is an excellent spy story, an outstanding "dream" story, and would be appreciated by fans of Dr. Who, Forbidden Planet or the Twilight Zone, as well. Amongst the other colorful elements is a posh 1960s party for the upper crust of society.
While not wanting to reveal any spoilers, I can say that the scene where Number Two and his accomplice both turn to look at the door is one of the great moments in TV drama.
Enjoy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only get one Prisoner set, get this one July 11, 2001
Format:DVD
If you plan on purchasing only a single set of The Prisoner DVDs, then this would probably be the one because the episodes here are some of the finest that the series produced. Each one highlights a different method used of breaking down the individual, each with its own degree of success or failure.
One of the standouts of this set is Leo McKern's portrayal of one of the villainous Number Twos. His character is a delight to watch -- unpredictable, amusing and dangerous. The other Number Twos on this DVD are certainly passable. Colin Gordon appears twice and his character isn't nearly as strong as McKern's, yet the episodes featuring him reflect this, letting Patrick McGoohan's Prisoner subtlety undermine his authority.
The whole series of The Prisoner comes highly recommended, but this particular set would be an excellent choice to show someone unfamiliar with the show. The four episodes contained ("Checkmate", "The Chimes of Big Ben", "A, B and C" and "The General") exemplify the best of 60's style paranoia and individualism-over-conformity that is still important today.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The chimes ring a little truer this way. February 5, 2004
Format:DVD
Patrick McGoohan's classic 1967 miniseries begins as an offbeat spy thriller and ends as a surrealistic allegory. It concerns an ex-secret agent (McGoohan) held captive in The Village, a prison camp that looks like a vacation resort. Everyone is identified solely by number, and our protagonist is No. 6. The Village is managed by No. 2, who reports to an unseen and unidentified No. 1 -- and who gets replaced regularly. THEY want to know why No. 6 resigned, he wants to know who THEY are and where he is.
A&E presents the miniseries in a revised order, intended to arrange events in their proper sequence, but having several additional benefits:
-Showing No. 6's increasing level of confidence and command of his situation
-Beginning with some of the more surrealistic episodes (in set 1), thus foreshadowing the surrealistic and allegorical conclusion.
-Keeping the original concept as intact as possible. McGoohan wanted only seven episodes, but was required to do seventeen. A&E groups five of the seven "essentials" together, at the beginning, in McGoohan's prescribed order. All ten additional episodes are inserted before the two that must conclude the series.
"Checkmate" is now one of the early episodes because of a reference to No. 6 being new. It also gives us our first look at the kind of "treatment" one gets in the hospital. I suspect "Checkmate" was originally postponed to save the large-scale escape attempt for later, but I feel it shows that No. 6 still had a lesson to learn. He'd progressed beyond the half-baked escape attempt in "Free for All," but still hadn't learned how few people he could trust.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars New Condition no worries!
Came earlier than expected and in great condition. There were two dvd's instead of one... but since that's the case, the only dvd I wanted was the first.
Published 2 months ago by Polywog
5.0 out of 5 stars Product Review
After viewing the dvd I found the picture and sound quality to be exceptional. There were no scratches or skips to be seen. The film
did not freeze either. An excellent buy!!!
Published 6 months ago by Jeremy E.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Prisoner - A Must Own Series
I own all the DVDs for this series and recently watched it while recovering at home. A great series that I first watched in college (VHS then) and it still rings true as an... Read more
Published on February 14, 2009 by C. Henager
5.0 out of 5 stars From His First Solid Escape Attempt To His First Victory...
This set of episodes 4-7 from The Prisoner (as A & E sequences it) contain what I feel are three of the best entries in the series and they can each stand viewing on their... Read more
Published on September 20, 2004 by Michael Meunier
5.0 out of 5 stars "W. H. Y. Question mark." "Why?"
Back in 1967, an allegorical television show emerged that has yet to be topped by any other English television series. The show: The Prisoner. Read more
Published on October 15, 2003 by Axel Law
5.0 out of 5 stars Some great episodes here.
Of the 17 episodes produced for the show, near midpoint there seems to be a slight shift in No. 6's plan from one of outright escape to making things miserable for No. 2. Read more
Published on January 26, 2002 by Jim Toms
2.0 out of 5 stars THE PRISONER IS A CLASSIC SERIES
the prisoner series even had it's own collectable magazine that would often go into detail on the MEANING of the show plots. Read more
Published on October 4, 2001 by BILL
5.0 out of 5 stars By Hook Or By Crook I Will Have More Episodes!
Movie Summary: Four more exciting episodes find our hero British Secret Agent number 6 playing the part of a pawn in Checkmate, hatching an escape plan in The Chimes of Big Ben,... Read more
Published on July 24, 2001 by Scott Bright
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS MORE LIKE IT
Having reviewed Volume 1 and given it only 4 stars due to to a couple of average episodes and the next-to-unwatchable alternative version of "Chimes of Big Ben", I can... Read more
Published on July 17, 2001 by Darrin Lanchbury
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the most interesting and intelligent TV series ever.
Patrick McGoohan's `The Prisoner' TV series is perhaps one of the most intelligent and interesting programs ever created. Read more
Published on January 19, 2001 by Nigel Funge
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