15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Prisoner - 40th Anniversary Special Edition - Complete [DVD] (DVD)
I'm one of the generation who first caught this series on Channel 4 in the early 80s (when it was a decent channel). I didn't see more than 6 episodes, but it was enough to be intrigued forever. I went to Portmerion, quoted it when an idiot student, and bought my favorite (remembered) episodes on video. Over the years, I've shied from buying it on DVD: not wanted to be drawn into the cult, not wanted (perhaps) to sit through 17 episodes of old telly. But I've also felt like a charlatan every time I've said that I'm fond of The Prisoner.
Something about this box set made me buy it at last - surely not the nice box? I think it was seeing a preview of the (restored) picture quality . . . it's fantastic. The packaging is good and solid, yes, and all the waffle that can get interminable on film is presented in a thick paperback book. It doesn't have a 'fanboy' feel.
The discs have very good menus (not often I enjoy a menu!!), and the extras are very comprehensive (I've not got through them all yet) - including over half an hour of old cine film, a film-length 'making of', alternate version with fascinating editing and score differences etc etc.
One drawback is the '5.1 stereo' version: I got through lots of episodes without realising it wasn't in mono, and that was only because some dialogue dropped out of my favourite episode 'Many happy returns'. (Watch where McGoohan reacts to 'hold it!' in London, or Patrick Cargill speaks on the airfield) So I immediately switched to the mono option.
The series itself? As a 'new' viewer of the whole lot, it is both frustrating and addictive. It has a fraught quality, more than I'd noticed before - McGoohan almost broke himself (and others) during filming. Watch the extras! It's a highly inventive series, with a vast array of great actors.
If you've held back on a set before, don't hesitate now.