If a top-level spy decided he didn't want to be a spy anymore, could he just walk into HQ and hand in his resignation? With all that classified knowledge in his head, would he be allowed to become a civilian again, free to go about his life? The answer, according to the stylish, brilliantly conceived 1960s British TV series The Prisoner
, is a resounding no. In fact, instead of receiving a gold watch for his years of faithful service, our hero (played by Patrick McGoohan) is followed home to his London flat and knocked unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in a picturesque village where everyone is known by a number. Where is it? Why was he brought here? And, most important, how does he leave?
As we learn in Episode 1, Number 6 can't leave. The Village's "citizens" might dress colorfully and stroll around its manicured gardens while a band plays bouncy Strauss marches, but the place is actually a prison. Surveillance is near total, and if all else fails, there's always the large, mysterious white ball that subdues potential escapees by temporarily smothering them. Who runs the Village? An ever-changing Number 2, who wants to know why Number 6 resigned. If he'd only cooperate, he's told, life can be made very pleasant. "I've resigned," he fumes. "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own." So sets the stage for the ultimate battle of wills: Number 6's struggle to retain his privacy, sanity, and individuality against the array of psychological and physical methods the Village uses to break him.
So does he ever escape? And does he ever find out who Number 1 is? "Questions are a burden to others," the Village saying goes. "Answers, a prison for oneself." Within this complete 17-episode set, all is revealed. Or is it? --Steve Landau
Also on the disc
The 17 episodes are contained on four Blu-ray discs, and they look fantastic. This is older footage (1968) that really shows a marked improvement in high definition. Audio can be played in either Dolby Digital 5.1 or the original mono. Bonus features are included on the episode discs and on a fifth disc, which is a standard-definition DVD rather than a Blu-ray disc. Don't Knock Yourself Out is a 95-minute documentary from 2007 about the history of The Prisoner, including the early career of Patrick McGoohan and how a trip to Wales for Danger Man helped him discover Portmerion. New interviews with the original cast and crew are complemented by archive footage. There are two new featurettes--"The Pink Prisoner" and "You Make Sure It Fits!"--as well as production-crew commentaries on seven episodes, archive textless materials, extensive images and production archives, and a 30-second promo for the 2009 AMC miniseries. --David Horiuchi
Since its CBS debut in the summer of 1968, the masterful British TV series THE PRISONER has captivated American audiences. Now A&E presents a definitive aficionado s edition of the cult classic which is considered one of the most innovative TV series ever filmed, for the first time in breathtaking Blu-Ray. Fully restored from the original film elements with newly remixed 5.1 surround sound and featuring hours of bonus material never released in North America, this Blu-Ray edition is a fitting tribute to the creative vision of the late Executive Producer and Star Patrick McGoohan.
After resigning from a top-secret position, a man (McGoohan) is abducted and spirited from his London home to a mysterious place known only as The Village. Village Residents, known only by numbers, are held captive because each possesses valuable knowledge. The Prisoner, now known as Number Six, battles to protect his mind and his humanity while struggling to discover the identity of Number One and escape captivity.
DISC ONE: Arrival / The Chimes of Big Ben / A, B And C / Free for All / The Schizoid Man
DISC TWO: The General / Many Happy Returns / Dance of the Dead / Checkmate / Hammer Into Anvil
DISC THREE: It s Your Funeral / A Change of Mind / Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling / Living in Harmony / The Girl Who Was Death
DISC FOUR: Once Upon a Time / Fall Out / Bonus Features
DISC FIVE (DVD): Bonus Features
HOURS OF EXCITING NEW BONUS FEATURES:
- Newly remixed 5.1 surround sound for all 17 episodes (in addition to the original mono tracks).
- Don t Knock Yourself Out Feature-length documentary chronicling the production of THE PRISONER, told by those involved in its creation.
- Two Brand-New Featurettes - The Pink Prisoner and You Make Sure it Fits!
- Promo for AMC s THE PRISONER Miniseries
- Newly restored original edit of Arrival with an optional music-only soundtrack featuring Wilfred Josephs complete and abandoned score.
- Original edit of The Chimes of Big Ben.
- Production crew audio commentaries on seven episodes.
- Trailers for all episodes.
- Archive textless material, including the title sequence with clean themes by Ron Grainer, Wilfred Josephs and Robert Farnon.
- Commercial break bumpers.
- Image Archive with over 1200 stills.
- Production Paperwork Archive, featuring scripts, call sheets and press releases (DVD-ROM Feature)