Prisoner, The (1967)-Number 4: Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling

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Released 9-Oct-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-Original Episode Trailers
Featurette-Original Portmeirion Location Footage
Biographies-Cast
Gallery-Photo-2
Trailer-Series Trailer No. 2
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1967
Running Time 195:35 (Case: 200)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Robert Asher
Don Chaffey
Pat Jackson
Patrick McGoohan
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Patrick McGoohan
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Ron Grainer
Albert Elms
Wilfred Josephs


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

'A still tongue makes a happy life'

    The Prisoner is an English television series made in 1966/67 which over the years has become a cult favourite, with many websites and societies devoted to it. It was controversial when it first aired because of its very different and confusing approach and especially because of its strange, surreal ending. It has been released here in Region 4 by Umbrella/AV Channel and is available either as a box set of 5 discs or as individual discs. For this reason there will be five single disc reviews followed by a box set review, tying them all together, so bear with me. Each disc contains extras but the major extras are contained on Disc 5.

    The basic premise is that a high ranking government employee in London, obviously somehow involved in international espionage, decides to resign and during the credits which start most episodes, he visits his boss in an underground location to thump the desk and hand over his letter. He returns home to pack and get away from England, however, while he is doing so he is gassed and kidnapped. When he awakes he is in a strange place, called The Village, which is really a prison but without obvious guards, fences, wire or locks. He quickly learns that they want to know why he resigned and he is referred to only as Number 6 (Patrick McGoohan). Not being sure who or which side he is dealing with he refuses to tell them anything. The village accommodates many people, all with different numbers, most of whom have given up the information they held and now live as virtual automatons, following the instructions of the chief administrator, Number 2, on how to behave and react to various situations. The show follows the various attempts of Number 2 (played by various actors) to break Number 6 and get him to answer their questions. It also follows various attempts by Number 6 to escape and work out who Number 1 is. Because of Number 6's importance, Number 2's shadowy superiors will not allow him to use risky or destructive techniques to bring Number 6 to heel.

    The episodes on this disc are: (Episode descriptions will be short to avoid spoiling the episode)

  1. Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling - This episode does not have the normal credit sequence, including an intro prior to the credits. A Colonel (Nigel Stock) is sent to the village for a secret mission. They transfer Number 6's brain into his body using a technique developed by a man Number 6 had the last contact with. They want Number 6 to track him down. An excellent episode. Number  2 is played by Clifford Evans.
  2. Living in Harmony - There is no standard credit sequence and this is not even titled The Prisoner. Number 6 is in the wild west and resigns as sheriff of the town in Harmony. The Judge (David Bauer) sends some thugs to bring him back and tries to force him to be the sheriff. A girl helps him but a local thug called The Kid (Alexis Kanner) loves her and gets jealous. An interesting idea which just doesn't quite work.
  3. The Girl Who Was Death - This episode is quite bizarre and does not really fit with the rest of the series at all, having a completely different tone. They try to explain it at the end but it does not work. This episode should have been dropped. The story involves Number 6 in his old job pursuing a scientist who plays to destroy London with a rocket. To do so, he chases the scientist's daughter who tries to kill him in various ways. Number 2 is played by Kenneth Griffith.
  4. Once Upon A Time - Probably the most interesting and intriguing episode of the entire series. It involves the final showdown between Number 6 and Number 2 (Leo McKern). They are locked into a room under the village for a week where a battle of wits called Degree Absolute can only result in one of them dying. Probably the best episode in the series.

    Highly recommended if you don't mind having to think.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent. A wonderful job has been done in restoring the video presentation. It is not without problems, however compared to footage from the series in some of the extras and documentaries, the difference is quite amazing.

    The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was surprisingly clear and sharp throughout considering the age of the material, with no evidence of low level noise. The shadow detail was decent but certainly nothing special.

    The colour was generally very good, however, I did notice some chroma noise from time to time.

    Considering the age and television source of the material, artefacts have been kept to an absolute minimum but they are certainly present. From a film artefact perspective, there were occasional specks and lines, although all things considered these were quite minimal. There were also occasional jumps in the film but these were not regular and not really badly noticeable. From a film-to-video artefact perspective there was some regular mild aliasing throughout on car grilles, windows and more. There was more aliasing than usual in the episode Living in Harmony. There was also some edge enhancement which occurs regularly. I noticed some tape tracking errors, but these were very irregular. From an MPEG artefact perspective, there was some macro-blocking to be seen, such as in the clouds in the credits, and here and there during the episodes. There was more macro-blocking than usual in Once Upon A Time. None of these artefacts could be considered overly significant, and considering the age of the original series, the overall video quality is excellent.

    There are no subtitles which is a shame.

    The layer change is between episodes.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is good and in the original mono.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout. Audio sync was an issue in two episodes but was generally fine. The episode The Girl Who Was Death had some audio sync issues which were quite noticeable.

    The music in the series includes the excellent theme as hummed by Patrick McGoohan to Ron Grainer who then took the original idea and developed it into a full theme. Other incidental music was by Wilfred Josephs & Albert Elms. Generally, the music is excellent, weird, effective, surreal and interesting.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The significant extras are on Disc 5 but each disc also contains some other extras.

Menu

    The menu includes an intro, stills, music, dialogue and the ability to select scenes and episodes.

Original Episode Trailers

    These are the original television trailers for each of the episodes on this disc, including:

Original Portmeirion Location Footage (7:32)

    16mm footage behind-the-scenes during on location shooting. Definitely of interest to fans.

Series Trailer No 2 (0:58)

    Original television trailer for the entire series.

Number 2 Profiles

    Text profiles for the three actors who play Number 2 in these episodes; Clifford Evans, David Bauer, Kenneth Griffith..

ITC Publicity Photo Gallery

    6 photos of various promotional items.

The Tally Ho Photo Gallery

    12 stills from the show, behind-the-scenes and publicity photos.

Case Notes

    The case includes an essay on the vehicles used in The Prisoner.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    I will cover the Region 4 vs Region 1 differences in the box set review as the sets are reasonably different. There is no direct comparison for each individual disc as the Region 1 set is spread over 10 discs. Smaller sets were released earlier with two discs each, however, the spread of episodes is quite different.

Summary

    The fourth and penultimate disc of an intriguing, weird, surreal and political television series made in 1966/67 that could not possibly be made today.

    The video quality is wonderful considering the source.

    The audio quality is good.

    The disc has a selection of extras which would interest fans of the show.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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