The Prisoner Blu-ray Review

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Reviewed by Keith Hurst, 12th October 2009
Oh you just know that I am gong to recommend this one. Produced during an experimental period in British and American television, this has to be the grand-daddy of them all when it comes to pushing that all important envelope. Its premise of a society turning towards Orwellian attitudes, restricting and constricting a person's natural desires is one which all forms of media often return to. That concept though has never once been bettered on television. This is the one to watch. These days we're having a slight resurgence in quality television shows; The Sopranos, 24, Lost and BSG, all good stuff depending, of course, on your point of view.

A series that started off as a handful of episodes eventually turned into a bakers dozen and more and was perhaps the worse for it. Diluted for the needs of television executives it still holds its place as one of the best moments in television history. It's become part of that history and it's difficult to see when, if ever, it will ever lose its hallowed place amongst the greats. Such a series was deserving of a top shelf release package and after years of waiting we've now been granted one which will be difficult to beat. Excellent video and audio riding on the back of an almost definitive selection of extras essentially mean that all fans of this series should, and most likely will, buy this on Blu-ray either now or at some future point. I cannot see how this set can be improved upon. Sure there are some additional McGoohan interviews out there and it could be argued they should have been included but really, I don't see anyone complaining.

This locked Region B release is about as good as it gets, and if the Region A set released later in October is anything as good as this, and from an audio and video point of view there is nothing to say it won't be exactly the same, then you're in for a treat; that treat has come early though to the UK shores being released a month earlier. This is an absolute must buy for fans of the original series and fans of quality television. I can easily recommend this as a blind buy to anyone who hasn't see it. To those of you who have, and were not put off by some of the weird and wonderful story lines, concepts or images then all I can say is... Be Seeing You...
Read the full review...
 
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Pecker

Distinguished Member
You like it then? :rotfl:

Great review. It sounds like this is everything anyone could ever want. It was shot on 35mm, but perhaps not to quite the same standards as a feature film of the time - subsequently, I would imagine that 1080p will have wrund as much detail out of this as we're ever going to get.

Is this the last version of The Prisoner we'll ever need to own?

Steve W
 

24 P

Novice Member
Keith, this is a brilliant review, I have the box set on DVD, and in Australia not many would know of this excellent Thriller/ Mystery/ Spy Tv series is all about.
It makes mockery of today's standard TV viewing.
Life on Mars bears resemblance to this, but this was the benchmark back then and still is now..
Even The Simpsons have paid homage to this TV masterpiece.
I hope that people that read your review, who haven't seen this Gem, pick it up this time round..
I am eyeing this with great eagerness to add to my small Blu ray collection..
The images look stunning, add to boot 5.1 sound, all I can say is WOW..
Thx once again for your care and attention to this review, you certainly know your stuff..

:thumbsup:
 

OneEyedStuart

Distinguished Member
If you're going to add one Blu-ray to your collection this year then I would say this has to be it. Release of the year for me so far, not only because of what they have done with the remaster and transfer, but the set as a whole is superb.

With regard to the screen captures I took, it was difficult to decide what eventually to publish, there's just far too many scenes of visual glory. Really wanted a scene of Number 6 playing Kosho however couldn't pause the frame without any motion blur lol.

Glad you enjoyed the review :smashin:

KH
 

24 P

Novice Member
This release is reminiscent of the Goldfinger release.
Both have had care and attention, and both are stunners..
I have yet to get GF yet, LD and DVD have it for me now, but I will get it..
Bond and Blofelds immortal exchange:
Bond: So do you expect me to talk?
Blofeld, No Mr Bond, I expect you to die..

Brilliant, simply brilliant, and The Prisoner has captured all this..

:)
 

brian s

Distinguished Member
What a great review. I'm a bit skint at the moment so I was going to hold off buying it but I want it now after reading this. I'll check the usual sites for the best deal

All the very best
Bri
 

Stuart

Distinguished Member
Superb review and I've just ordered it :smashin:

I've got a confession, despite buying the DVD set a few years ago, I have never got round to watching it. :blush: But this time I'm going to ensure I do :thumbsup:

You picked up on the episode order debates in the review and a quick google search reveals several different opinions. What is your opinion on the best order, particularly for a 1st time viewer? (If that makes any difference)
 

OneEyedStuart

Distinguished Member
For a first time viewer just go through them as presented on disc. This is how they were originally broadcast.

After that feel free to play around, but in all honesty I mentioned it in the review to show how dedicated some of the fans were in going through each episode with a fine tooth comb looking for timing clues.

It is interesting to just go through the core seven epiosdes and I would certainly recommend that.

Enjoy the set.

Keith
 

MC Hammer

Active Member
I got the 40th Anniversary edition on DVD about a year ago & it had been digitally restored.

That set was a massive massive step up from what I had previously & I was shocked at the picture improvement.I was really impressed It came with an excellent book as well.

Not sure , but I'll guess this blu ray version is based off of that?

Question is do I buy the blu ray & will I see a further improvement?

Decisions , decisions!:confused:
 

OneEyedStuart

Distinguished Member
Not sure , but I'll guess this blu ray version is based off of that?

Question is do I buy the blu ray & will I see a further improvement?
I presume this set is based on the earlier rematered Network DVD editions. I never had that set, instead having the earlier Carlton release and it's head and shoulders over that edition.

I can imagine the Blu-ray we have now is better than the Network DVD release but I honestly couldn't say by how much. Perhaps someone else can chip in?

KH
 

24 P

Novice Member
My only concern atm is:

The Prisoner - Complete Series [Blu-ray] [1967]: Amazon.co.uk: Patrick McGoohan, David Tomblin, Robert Asher, Don Chaffey: DVD

Amazon.com: The Prisoner: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat, Peter Swanwick, Leo McKern, Kenneth Griffin: Movies & TV

Price differences on the US and UK release, UK being 43 quid, US being 51 USD..

Why can't Amazon regulate the $ better to make both of equal value??
I am swayed towards the UK release, but at close to 75 AUD, its a tad expensive, where as the US release is more like 55 AUD, you can imagine what my thoughts are..
As I buy more from the US site, my postage is cheaper, buying 1 item from UK Amazon would cost me in cartage.. :thumbsdow With the US site, I have 5 pre release BRs on order...
I won't part with any $ just yet until I know that the US release is the same as the UK..
Bit of a bummer, but I can wait..

:thumbsup:
 

OneEyedStuart

Distinguished Member
Don't forget that the UK edition is region locked B and I imagine the US edition will be region locked A. Don't know if this will affect you but it's worth mentioning. The US release does not have Andrew Pixley's book.

KH
 

Philly112

Distinguished Member
My set arrived this morning, and although the box size is rather large, the packaging is A1. And the accompanying book looks really detailed.
I'll try and get a look at an episode at the weekend when SWMBO is out!

Phil
 

Migman

Well-known Member
My only concern atm is:

The Prisoner - Complete Series [Blu-ray] [1967]: Amazon.co.uk: Patrick McGoohan, David Tomblin, Robert Asher, Don Chaffey: DVD

Amazon.com: The Prisoner: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat, Peter Swanwick, Leo McKern, Kenneth Griffin: Movies & TV

Price differences on the US and UK release, UK being 43 quid, US being 51 USD..

Why can't Amazon regulate the $ better to make both of equal value??
I am swayed towards the UK release, but at close to 75 AUD, its a tad expensive, where as the US release is more like 55 AUD, you can imagine what my thoughts are..
As I buy more from the US site, my postage is cheaper, buying 1 item from UK Amazon would cost me in cartage.. :thumbsdow With the US site, I have 5 pre release BRs on order...
I won't part with any $ just yet until I know that the US release is the same as the UK..
Bit of a bummer, but I can wait..

:thumbsup:
Doing a side by side comparison of the Amazon sites, it seems that the UK release is slightly better 6 discs not 5, the book as previously mentioned, also one user on Amazon.com seemed unhappy with the releasing studio, i have no knowledge of the masters the differing studios used (probably the same though).
 

Philly112

Distinguished Member
Just a quick few thoughts after watching a couple of episodes. (on a 84in screen, with a 1080p LCD).

The review is bang on. It could well have been filmed yesterday. The fact that much of the 'cast' of the village wear such bright clothes also helps the picture come alive.
Sound is, well, OK to good. It's not the be all and end all of 5.1 releases, but it does the job and when cranked up there is a fair bit of subwoofer rumble. The rears are used to provide bird song etc ie 'village ambience' and do it pretty well.
I did sit through the commentary on the first episode 'Arrival'. This was very interesting with a fair bit of trivia, and I will certainly plough through the rest of the extras on the basis of this. One minus point - for the life of me, I could not get the commentary track to stop playing. i stopped and started, pulled up menus all over the place etc. All I had to do was select sound options and click on 5.1 surround sound, or mono sound. But it wasn't particularly clear. There is no 'turn commentary on/off' option, only an 'on option' . And the on option is not in the sound menu, but the extras menu. (if all that makes sense...)
The book which accompanies the set looks pretty good; essentially an episode by episode account of the filming. It's probably better to watch an episode first and then read the relevent bit of the book, as the book does contain spoilers.
All in all, highly recommended; thanks Keith for your great review which persuaded me to buy this.
Oh - and to people who haven't really seen this before; it certainly is unique, and I was surprised at how little it has dated. Possibly because it is so unique.

Phil
 
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24 P

Novice Member
All this talk about BR has made me get out my 35 year anniversary DVD boxset.
Just can't wait for the BR atm..
Oh well there goes my week end..

:thumbsup:
 

Philly112

Distinguished Member
I've not seen the DVD version. But the BR is wonderful. I am so glad I purchased it; it maybe the best BR I have in my collection as the quality was so very far above my expectations.

Phil
 

sutton8

Novice Member
I've started watching but am still only up to episode 2. I've seen the series a number of times over the years though.

The quality is fine except that I have got black vertical bars down either side of my screen, whether I watch it on my plasma or PC screen both of which are full HD.
 

Will Scarlet

Well-known Member
I've started watching but am still only up to episode 2. I've seen the series a number of times over the years though.

The quality is fine except that I have got black vertical bars down either side of my screen, whether I watch it on my plasma or PC screen both of which are full HD.
Which is perfectly normal because 'The Prisoner' is being presented in its correct aspect ratio of 1.33:1.:smashin:
 
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brian s

Distinguished Member
The quality is fine except that I have got black vertical bars down either side of my screen, whether I watch it on my plasma or PC screen both of which are full HD.
It's like that for the Star trek season 1 HD DVD too as that's 4/3 as well. Think of them as being similar to the black borders that you'll see on the top and bottom of the screen on many film discs.

Bri
 

OneEyedStuart

Distinguished Member
I've started watching but am still only up to episode 2. I've seen the series a number of times over the years though.

The quality is fine except that I have got black vertical bars down either side of my screen, whether I watch it on my plasma or PC screen both of which are full HD.
Yep as Will and Brian are saying this is perfectly normal for a 1.33:1 presentation being displayed on a 16:9 screen. As it should be for the original format :smashin:

KH
 

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