UNSPEAKING YOUR MIND: meta-documentary and creative process in THE PRISONER

In My Mind

This DVD contains an amazing documentary film by director Chris Rodley on THE PRISONER, that opens up our perception of the series to new understanding. It is a mature film-maker’s study (2017) of a flawed documentary (1983) on the making and meaning of THE PRISONER (1967-68) filmed by his much younger self, an exploration of the conception and filming of the series.

The half-hour long interview with Patrick McGoohan alone is worth the price. It gives us priceles insights into his creative process and his own ideas on the symbolism of the various elements and aspects of the series.

A long interview with McGoohan’s daughter gives her rationale for participating in this project, which is also the raison d’être of the documentary: to say at least some of what McGoohan couldn’t or wouldn’t say.

McGoohan was extremely dissatisfied with the original documentary (entitled SIX INTO ONE, 1984) and even offered to “buy it back”! It was screened only once, and McGoohan demanded that it never be shown again.

Was McGoohan’s fear that it would detract from the the viewer’s experience and ongoing interpretation of a work of art that should speak for itself, or did he feel that in his initial impulse to give the inside story he had revealed “too much” about the series in his mind?

This new (meta-)documentary does not at all detract from our experience, but enriches it enormously. It is essential viewing for any fan of THE PRISONER.

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