2017.57: In My Mind (2017)
Kudos to Network that whilst marking the 50th anniversary of classic tv series The Prisoner with a new blu-ray set they have also released one of its major new extras, Chris Rodley’s curious documentary In My Mind, as a standalone edition. Whilst I’m not huge enough a fan of The Prisoner that I would have ordered the new series box set just for new extras, I’m sure many fans would feel obliged too, so it’s nice they at least have the option.
This documentary dates back to 1983 when Rodley somehow (even he isn’t sure how) managed to get the infamously reclusive and secretive Patrick McGoohan to talk about The Prisoner in a series of interviews. Most of this material has never been aired and has now been assembled to form the heart of this film. In all honesty, little new seems to be revealed so it’s unfair for viewers to expect amazing revelations to have been brought to light, but it is a fascinating glimpse of McGoohan as an artist haunted/hounded by an iconic cultural work. It must have been rather like this for Orson Welles, living in the shadow of his Citizen Kane for most of his life. At some points McGoohan seems trapped by the camera, wanting to get away, as if aware he has made some terrible mistake in agreeing to the interview.
Its interesting to see a work of art with the perspective of fifty years and see its creator wrestling with it as if with inner demons. McGoohan does seem to be a maddening, complicated and conflicted individual who somehow beat the system many years ago to create something utterly unlike anything made before or since (although The Prisoner clearly paved the way for shows such as Twin Peaks and many others). The irony of course is, did the creation of The Prisoner itself make McGoohan a prisoner to it? I do wonder if he would have preferred to have lived a life in which he hadn’t made The Prisoner. He is clearly ill at ease in the behind the scenes footage, a confident yet also fragile figure, almost tragic – or am I reading too much into it?
So new answers to The Prisoner‘s fifty-year old riddle are wholly absent, but instead you’ll see new insights to the man behind that riddle, a human figure now lost to us forever. Its a quite enchanting film and a must-see for anybody interested in The Prisoner.
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