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BOOK REVIEWS: The Prisoner Handbook
+ The Prisoner: The Official Companion...

October 2002                                                SITE MAP   SEARCH
The Prisoner:
35th Anniversary Companion

featuring: Patrick McGoohan, and Bernard Williams

100 minutes (PG) 2002
Carlton DVD Region 2 retail
[released 30 September]

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Tony Lee
The main purpose of this disc is to make available an alternative version of the first episode, Arrival, which was discovered years ago in Canada. Unfortunately, the master copy used for this DVD release was a domestic Betamax video, so the resulting colour transfer makes for rather substandard viewing - especially when compared to the official edit, also included here. Sadly, the original prints of early episodes sent overseas for the world TV premiere are thought to be lost.
   As a collector's item, this will certainly find buyers among diehard fans of The Prisoner, if only for its unique trivia features - which include text-less opening and closing scenes, animated penny-farthing 'bumper' sequences, a seven-minute featurette For The Love Of... about Prisoner memorabilia, a TV advert pastiche for the Renualt 21 car, text biographies of star Patrick McGoohan and co-writer George Markstein, a comprehensive stills gallery with pictures from each episode, photos and info about Prisoner merchandise, and archive footage of the infamous filing cabinet.
   Best of all though, for keen fans that already have Arrival on disc as part of Carlton's excellent DVD boxset, this anniversary edition has a fascinating new interview, Behind The Scenes (25 minutes), with Prisoner production manager Bernard Williams, in which he talks about working on the series with McGoohan, and the late Leo McKern, its groundbreaking creativity, varied critical and public reactions to the show's enigmatic finale, and The Prisoner's enduring cult appeal.
   Menu design is based on a map of 'the Village', and there are English subtitles on most of the disc extras.