Top positive review
110 people found this helpful
Superb DVD set with loads of extras
on 29 May 2010
For some reason, the reviews for both the DVD and blu ray releases have been linked together by Amazon.
So to avoid any confusion, this review is for the standard DVD set and NOT the blu ray collection.
(EDIT 28/01/13) The reviews are now linked together for at least four other box sets, so for further clarification, this review refers to the 7 disc standard DVD box set released by 'Network' in the UK (Amazon ASIN: B001AQVFDO).
'The Prisoner' episodes themselves are so well known and familiar to most people that there is little point describing or trying to explain them here.
So what's in the digitally restored DVD set from network? Well just about everything!
As well as the 17 episodes themselves (several with commentaries), there's original/alternate edits of 'Arrival' and 'The Chimes of Big Ben'. 'Arrival' is also presented as an original edit with the complete (and abandoned) Wilfred Josephs music score only (no dialogue). 'Arrival's' opening credits are also shown in side by side 'before and after' restored quality comparison. The alternate 'Chimes' appears to be the one previously released on the Carlton box set a few years ago.
There's a fine documentary about the making of 'The Prisoner' called 'Don't knock yourself out', featuring original cast and production team members.
A 'clean' opening and closing sequence, with no titles or credits superimposed is included, along with the original animated penny farthing 'advert bumpers' that were used for the commercial breaks on the ITV transmitions. There's also some shots of the filing cabinets from the opening credits with the 'resigned' label done in different languages for overseas sales.
Trailers for all the episodes ( I think these may be the same as on the Carlton release).
Photos/production stills - There's loads and loads of 'em. I wouldn't be surprised if every publicity shot ever taken for 'The Prisoner' isn't here, including around 50 photos from the 1967 press conference. As well as stills, there's also production designs by Jack Shampan.
16mm and 8mm home movie footage show behind the scenes of the filming in Portmeirion.
Put the discs in a PC and there's PDF files to view. Each disc has scans of original scripts. On disc seven, there's two unused scripts ('Don't get yourself killed' and 'The Outsider'), and two unused storylines ('Friend or Foe' and 'Ticket to Eternity'). There's also two 'Tally Ho' village newspaper front pages, call sheets, magazine and book covers, etc. Phew!
To top it off, there's an excellent paperback book by Andrew Pixley. This must be worth at least a tenner alone! Readers of other work by Andrew Pixley will know that his attention to detail on the making of genre TV classics is second to none and this book is no exception.
So, what's the quality of the DVDs like? Well, I already had the Carlton box set and was quite satisfied with the quality of that. I really purchased this new set for the wealth of extras. Having said that, the picture quality on this set is superb. The main improvement that I found over the Carlton release was on the opening titles. They are much cleaner and fresher on the new release. But I personally couldn't see a great deal of difference (if any) on the picture quality of the actual episodes themselves. But that's just my opinion.
Sound wise, I personally find the new Dolby 5.1 sound just a little bit 'tinny' for my taste but there's the option of the original mono sound to choose from if required.
All in all, a fantastic package.
My verdict. An absolutely brilliant buy!
If you already have the Carlton box set and only want to improve on the picture quality of the episodes, it may best to go for blu ray. If you have the Carlton set and want tons more extras, get this now!
One final note : Why are the plastic cases so reluctant to let you remove a disc!! I keep expecting a disc to snap before it comes out!