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Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "The more store a man sets by his wits, the sooner he loses them.", 19 Nov. 2009
This review is from: The Prisoner [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
1955's The Prisoner is one of those films that isn't exactly a failure but isn't exactly a success either. Pitting Jack Hawkins' psychiatrist-cum-interrogator against Alec Guinness' troublesome cardinal in an unnamed Iron Curtain state, it's ideas are sometimes more interesting than the script's execution, the confrontations and psychological tactics neither exciting or dramatic enough. There's intelligence but not enough bite, at least in the first hour. It's the last third of the film that proves the most interesting as the film takes a genuinely unexpected turn that prevents it from being just another tale of the power of piety, revealing the cardinal's flaws - he can serve but he cannot love - as it becomes clear that each man will destroy and defeat the other. Best seen as an early and not entirely successful attempt at psychological drama, Peter Glenville's direction manages to keep it from seeming like a filmed play and for the most part it manages to avoid going too Hollywood - the early stirrings of revolution the cardinal's arrest causes soon fade away after a few sporadic acts of violence while the film ends on a note of mutual defeat.

Wilfred Lawson offers good support as a jovially pragmatic warder and the film half-heartedly throws in a subplot with Ronald Adam's guard trying to persuade his lover to divorce her husband who has escaped to the west that never goes anywhere but does at least get us out of the prison for a while, but it's more or less a two-hander with the two stars on good, but not great form.

No extras on the DVD, but decent picture and sound.
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Review Details

Item

Reviewer

Trevor Willsmer
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   

Location: London, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 10