The Prisoner 35th
Anniversary DVD Set (1967 – 1968/Umbrella
Sound: C+ Extras: B Episodes: A
PLEASE NOTE: This DVD can only be operated on
machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Zero/0 PAL format
software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the
website address provided at the end of the review. Also, this DVD set version has been updated
for its recent 35th Anniversary Edition, which we reviewed as an
import from Umbrella Entertainment. You
can read more about it at this link for the older, out-of-print A&E U.S.
NTSC DVD Set:
That will tell you about the show’s background, episodes
and influence. It remains an excellent
show and even as it is about to be remade in the shadow of creator/star Patrick
McGoohan’s death, remains one of the greatest TV shows ever made. New prints were made for this edition and it
is enough of an improvement to replace the older edition.
The transfers of the episodes, all 1.33 X 1 full frame, have
some detail limits I did not expect, but the color improvements are much more
like it and closer to the bright, full, and rich colors and look as intended by
McGoohan, cinematographer Brendan J. Stafford, B.S.C., the costume and
production designers. That does not mean
they are always great, but usually so and the inevitable Blu-ray edition will
show just how good the new prints really are.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is even more improved from the average, aged
sound that the old A&E set exhibited, despite its high 384 kbps rate (a
record for Dolby 2.0 anything) and a lossless version on Blu-ray might be
This upgraded set also has extras including trailers for
each episode, text production notes, “Foreign File Cabinet” which shows
the variations in different languages form the opening scene when No. 6
resigns, plus the intro and outro for the show minus any text (aka textless) over
it, Tally Ho stills gallery, production/promo materials, 8mm and 16mm
behind-the-scenes footage of the shooting of the show and The Prisoner Video
Companion originally produced when MPI issued the show on VHS a long time
ago and the analog videotape quality shows its age. However, after a slow start, it kicks in good
and more than justifies its presence in this set. It is meant to be scene after watching the
series, preferably a few times, through.
It offers some answers and suppositions about what the series is about,
but some of what is offered is too pat.
In many cases, it is on the right path.
Too bad this was not still updated from the previous DVD set with
better-quality footage and even more ideas about the show, but it is a classic
in itself among longtime fans just the same.
extras include the Collecting The
Prisoner featurette, actor profiles and rare animated Penny Farthing
Commercial Bumpers for the show. That is
more than the previous set and just about all of the extras from the last
set. The Prisoner 35th
Anniversary DVD Set is affine enough upgrade and that it is better on half
of the DVDs of the old A&E set (5 versus 10!) and fits inside a case the
size of a single DVD is a real plus.
above, you can order this PAL DVD import exclusively from Umbrella at:
- Nicholas Sheffo