Friday, January 16, 2009

Patrick McGoohan: The prisoner is free at last

Patrick McGoohan has died.

He will always be known for his work on The Prisoner, where he was captured by an unknown agency, and placed in a surreal village with the aim of extracting unidentified information.

It could be said to be a work of paranoia: living in a bizarre village where nobody could be trusted, and the only aim was to escape. But it was, on the other hand, a subversive work: the prisoner had to function - live - within the Village even as he would want to subvert the paradigm, which only seemed to exist to ensnare him.

His creative control over that work was bought off the back of his great success in a tv series called Secret Agent. Ironically, The Prisoner was the less successful work at the time, but better remembered now. And it imprisoned him from then on. His later roles were minor at best, risible at worst.

But he will always be remembered for that contentious, infuriating, quirky, imaginative ouevre.

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