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A&E Home Video presents
The Prisoner: Set 3—Vol. 5&6 (1967)

Watchmaker's daughter: So then you'll listen?
Number 6: Oh yes. I'll listen, as long as what you're saying doesn't become TOO OBVIOUSLY PHONY!! Oh, yes!

- Annette Andre, Patrick McGoohan

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: March 28, 2001

Stars: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat, Peter Swanwick
Director: Pat Jackson, Jospeh Serf, Robert Asher

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild violence)
Run Time: 02h:36m:00s
Release Date: April 24, 2001
UPC: 733961701753
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Set number three of the legendary television series The Prisoner is arriving. If you haven't experienced the first 2 sets, by all means, please catch up so that you now enjoy more Patrick McGoohan's masterfully conceived series. Unlike other volumes in this series from A&E - Set 3 only contains three episodes, replacing the fourth with an interview (discussed later). This continues the story of Number 6 (Patrick McGoohan) as he persists in his attempts to escape The Village, a mysterious locale where people who have top-level information are sent. What information? Who is sending them there? That is the mystery. The Village is controlled by Number 2, and everyone else in the Village is known as a number as well. Number 6 has information that unseen powers want, namely, the reason he resigned as a secret agent. If Number 2 can break him, it would be an enormous triumph for this system of extraction, but Number 6 isn't your average man.

The first episode in the set, The Schizoid Man, is probably one of the best episodes of the series and shows the skillful, psychological crafting of the show. Number 6 is living is normal life in The Village, until Number 2 hatches a sinister plan to make Number 6 spill his secrets. Number 2 wants to make Number 6 think he's actually Number 13. Who is Number 13? An agent planted inside the Village to make Number 6 crack. So, the REAL Number 13 will pretend to be Number 6, and hopefully the real Number 6 will break under the psychological strain. Confused? You should be. The clever plot is rather complex and twisted, but will Number 6 really lose his mind?

Next we have, Many Happy Returns. Number 6 awakens one morning to find the Village totally deserted. It appears to be the perfect opportunity for escape (especially since the mysterious guardian machines, the Rovers, are not functioning either). Should he? He decides to risk it and makes an elaborate attempt to get off the island, but will he succeed? Again, this is another brilliant episode with wonderful twists and turns I never saw coming.

In It's Your Funeral, the new Number 2 is putting together a clever scheme to get Number 6 to help destroy his own credibility. Number 6 gets involved with a strange underground movement to assassinate Number 2, but exactly how will this plan work and how did it get started? The episode manages to keep the series lively by taking a sly turn: it tells the story more from the point of view of the controllers than of Number 6. Could there be a problem behind-the-scenes at the Village? Perhaps not all of the plans to break Number 6 are as brilliant as they first seem.

The Prisoner continues to innovate here, with stories that even alter the usual flow of the series. These three entries each excel at the witty engineering present behind the whole thing, and despite the age, this is still one of the finest dramas to hit television. It poked at the status quo, managing to include subtle messages about the state of things. The scary thing is, The Prisoner seems far more appropriate today than it does by 1967 standards.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: 5G\6|? quality here actually looks better than previous volumes. There is much less movement and shimmer in the murkier colors, and digitally, the transfer is without incident. The source looks very good as well, with excellent balance of colors and a surprisingly impressive black level. Being aged, the film has a few small defects, mostly a bit of haze here and there and spots of discoloration or print damage. Overall, this is a clear, clean, satisfying disc that leaves me with no complaints.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The Mono soundtrack is about as good as it could get. It's very clear and undistorted. Dialgoue and sound effects are perfectly audible, and it renders both low-end and high-end very well. The interview segment with Bernie Williams is in stereo, although this really doesn't affect the piece. Most importantly, there is NO audio distortion on these discs.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
3 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Interview with Production Manager Bernie Williams.
  2. Photo Stills Gallery
  3. DVD-ROM Weblinks
  4. Trivia Game
  5. Interactive Map of 'Your Village'
Extras Review: The usual extra features are present, with the big difference being the 20-minute interview with Bernie Williams, the original production manager for The Prisoner. The interview is brand new and handled very well. Willams basically discusses what it was like to start the show without any set scripts and how it was to work with McGoohan. It is an entertaining piece, but little consolation for the fact that only 3 episodes are in this set.

The photo gallery highlights some production stills from certain episodes. There are promotional trailers for each episode, along with the simple trivia game and an interactive, moving map of The Village.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

The Prisoner continues its run on DVD. Even though a bit costly, the series is still worth the price as it presents an unforgettable look at a bizarre struggle for freedom. Highly recommended.


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