Cinema as Sermons – The Prisoner (Are We in the Village?)


Video from Dr. Droidable

I was born in 1956. I grew up with a Black & White TV and had an outdoor antenna that needed to be manually turned to get reception for any of the 3 TV stations we had access to. I remember when Star Trek first debuted, Man form Uncle, I Dream of Jennie, you get the picture.

One of those TV shows was The Prisoner. I was 11 years old when it was on tv.

“The Prisoner is a 1967 British science fiction television series about an unnamed British intelligence agent who is abducted and imprisoned in a mysterious coastal village, where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job.[2] It was created by Patrick McGoohan and George Markstein with McGoohan playing the lead role of Number Six.[3] Episode plots have elements of science fiction, allegory and psychological drama, as well as spy fiction.[4] It was produced by Everyman Films for distribution by Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment.[4]

A single season of 17 episodes was filmed between September 1966 and January 1968 with exterior location filming in Portmeirion, Wales. Interior scenes were filmed at MGM-British Studios in Borehamwood. The series was first broadcast in Canada beginning on 6 September 1967, in the UK on 29 September 1967, and in the US on 1 June 1968.[5] Although the show was sold as a thriller in the mold of the previous series starring McGoohan, Danger Man (retitled as Secret Agent in the US), its combination of 1960s countercultural themes and surrealistic setting had a far-reaching influence on science fiction and fantasy TV programming, and on narrative popular culture in general.[6] Since its initial screening, the series has developed a cult following.” From Wikipedia

At that time Irish American actor Patrick McGoohan was at the height of his career and I remember him in another excellent series “The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh” on The Wonderful World of Disney.

The Prisoner addresses issues such as personal identity and freedom, democracy, education, scientific progress, art, and technology. The concept of 24 hour surveillance and communication everywhere were mind blowing at the time, yet here we are with most if not all those portrayals and predictions a reality today.

One of my favorite aspects was the robotic(?) Rover. Rover was used to keep 'prisoners' from escaping the Village. It was depicted as a floating white balloon like machine or creature that could coerce, and, if necessary, incapacitate inhabitants of the Village.



If you have never seen an episode, I would encourage you to do so. They are available in many places and you can see clips on you tube.

You must ask yourself what constitutes a prisoner?

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