October 25, 2009

BUT A GLORIOUS FAILURE:

Done with touches of madness & genius: The Prisoner may have lost the plot, but it’s still interesting (Chris Knight, October 23, 2009, National Post)

[T]he majority opinion seems to be that its creator and star, Patrick McGoohan, lost his grip on the show over the course of its 17-episode run.

Take the view of Derren Nesbitt, who appeared in the episode titled "It's Your Funeral." He says he played his character, No. 2, as a bewildered buffoon because that's how he felt even after reading the script. McGoohan demanded to know why he wasn't acting more serious. "I said, ‘I've no bloody idea what it's about. You tell me what it's about.' He said, ‘Well I don't know.' So I played him totally confused."

Ian Rakoff, who wrote (but never received credit for) the episode "Living in Harmony," remembers a meeting with McGoohan in which he practically feared for his life. "He was swaying and swinging and walking around me and banging the desk," Rakoff says. "It was totally incomprehensible." (It also sounds oddly like a description of each episode's opening sequence.)

In another incident, the actor playing No. 2 (there was a different one each week) suffered a nervous breakdown that brought filming to a standstill. McGoohan had taken a battle of wills between their characters and made it personal.


All tv shows like The Prisoner, The Fugitive, X-Files, Life on Mars, Lost, etc. ought to only be green-lighted if the final episode is written at the time production starts.


Posted by Orrin Judd at October 25, 2009 11:41 AM
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