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THE TALLY HO ZDF-ANSAGE
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VILLAGE BOOKSHELF LITERATUR UND QUELLEN
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ANDERSWO GELESEN

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BILDER AUS WALES - REISENOTIZEN
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KLEINE PANORAMEN
BLICK NUMMER 6 - PRISONER CONVENTION
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50 JAHRE NUMMER 6 (FOTOS)
RÜCKBLICK MISTER SECHS WILL NICHT KÜSSEN
RÜCKBLICK 1969: NUMMER 6 FERNSEHPREMIERE IM ZDF
RÜCKBLICK CHRONIK 1969
RÜCKBLICK
2006: ERSTE DVD-EDITION
RÜCKBLICK 2009: 40 JAHRE NUMMER 6 - WAS FEHLT?
RÜCKBLICK
2010: ARTE BRINGT NUMMER 6 ZURÜCK
RÜCKBLICK 2019: 50 JAHRE NUMMER 6 (BERICHT)
RÜCKBLICK
WEBSITE-HISTORIE: WIR SEHEN UNS! ODER...
--- DAVE BARRIE
...IM INTERVIEW
THE MARKSTEIN-McGOOHAN DEBATE

THE MAJESTY OF "FALL OUT"

"FALL OUT": THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM

"DEMASKIERUNG": DER UNMÖGLICHE TRAUM

I'M INDEPENDENT, DON'T FORGET
SEVEN FROM SIX

RAKOFF'S FABLES - INTERVIEW MIT IAN L. RAKOFF

"DIE ANKLAGE": DUNKLE TRÄUME UND LANGE SCHATTEN

ÜBER CHRIS RODLEYS "IN MY MIND"

S IS FOR... SCHIZOID

--- ARNO BAUMGÄRTEL
NUMMER 6: 1969 DEUTSCHE FERHSEHPREMIERE
IM DORF - EINE LINGUISTISCHE LANDPARTIE

AKTENABLAGE: VON EPISODEN, DIE KEINE WAREN
DER AKADEMISCHE PRISONER

BLICK: REISENOTIZEN WALES - KLEINE PANORAMEN

BLICK: PRISONER-CONVENTION
PORTMEIRION: BAUTEN IN BILDERN
THE PRISONER (2009) MINISERIE
2010: WER SIND SIE? - DIE NEUE NUMMER SECHS

2019: 50 JAHRE NUMMER 6
WIR SEHEN UNS! ODER: L'ANNÉE DERNIÈRE AU VILLAGE

WEBSITE-RÜCKBLICK:
WIE ALLES ANFING

--- ARNO BAUMGÄRTEL & MICHAEL BRÜNE
DIE DEUTSCHE DVD

NUMMER 6 - NICHT DER GEFANGENE
--- ARNO BAUMGÄRTEL & B. FRANK
AUF DIE REIH GEBRACHT (1) DIE REIHENFOLGE

--- TOBIAS BECKER
ZIRKULÄRE REALITÄT

--- FRANK T. BITTERHOF
DIE OFFENBARUNG - THE PRISONER ALS BLU-RAY

--- M. KEITH BOOKER
DER POSTMODERNE PRISONER

--- TIM BOURNE
DIE SECHS-IDENTITÄT (INTERVIEW)
--- MICHAEL BRÜNE
EPISODEN-TRANSKRIPT "DIE ANKUNFT"
AUF DIE REIH GEBRACHT (2) DIE REIHENFOLGE

DIE ANTHONY-SKENE-TRILOGIE
--- MARTIN COMPART
SOAPS: FERNSEHSERIEN...

--- ANTHONY DAVIS
PRISONER PRESS LAUNCH 1967

--- PATRICK DUCHER
JE NE SUIS PAS UN NUMÉRO, JE SUIS UN HOMME LIBRE!

...IM INTERVIEW

--- ROBERT FAIRCLOUGH
POP UND POLITIK

--- HOWARD FOY
ES WAR EINMAL EIN TRIP...

--- B. FRANK
McGOOHAN & BOND

--- CAROLINE FUCHS
REALITY AND SIMULATION IN THE PRISONER

--- GUILLAUME GRANIER
SCHÖNER TAG! - SPÄTER REGNET ES.

--- LARRY HALL
ORSON WELLES: DER PROZESS

WHAT IT MEANS, NOT WHAT IT SAYS
--- HELGA HELLER
PORTRÄT EINES EXZENTRIKERS

--- MAX HORA
...IM INTERVIEW

--- MAX HORA & ROGER LANGLEY
6 PRIVATE - DAS HAUS VON NUMMER SECHS

--- HARALD KELLER
WIR SEHEN UNS - WIEDER

ÜBER NOWHERE MAN

NUMMER SECHS
INTERVIEW MIT BERND RUMPF

--- ROGER LANGLEY
(ZEIT-) REISE NACH PORTMEIRION

PRISONER'S PORTMEIRION:
DER ORIGINALSCHAUPLATZ
BÜHNENSTÜCK -
SET PIECE: DIE STUDIOBAUTEN
WARUM HABEN SIE SICH ZURÜCKGEZOGEN?

FINAL CUT: MYSTERIUM DER FEHLENDEN SZENEN

PUTTING THE PRISONER IN ORDER (3) DIE REIHENFOLGE

COOL CUSTOMER - PROFIL: GEORGE MARKSTEIN

DAS LA-TAPE

--- MOOR LARKIN
ICH BIN EIN BERLINER

--- JEAN-MARC LOFFICIER
NUMMER 6 ODER DAS GESPENST DER FREIHEIT

--- KEVIN PATRICK MAHONEY
DER ANARCHISCHE PRISONER

--- PATRICK McGOOHAN
DAS TROYER-INTERVIEW

DAS LA-TAPE

IM GESPRÄCH MIT MIKE TOMKIES
RUHM WIRD MICH NIE ZUM GEFANGENEN MACHEN

INTERVIEW MIT BILL KING
DER MANN HINTER NUMMER 6

INTERVIEW MIT ALAIN CARRAZÉ
THE PRISONER

BBC-INTERVIEW MIT SIMON BATES
DIE FIGUR IST NATÜRLICH REIN FIKTIV

--- RICK McGRATH
35th ANNIVERSARY DVD-SET

--- MARY MORRIS, NORMA WEST
INTERVIEW MIT TOM WORRALL

--- JANA MÜLLER
ZUFÄLLIGE ENTDECKUNG UND DANN NOCH EIN IRRTUM

"DER SCHWARM"

--- JANA MÜLLER & ARNO BAUMGÄRTEL
IMMER NOCH NUMMER 6?

--- HORST NAUMANN
INTERVIEW MIT UWE HUBER

--- STEVE RAINES
...IM INTERVIEW

--- STEVEN RICKS
MGM - STUDIO DAYS

STUDIO DAYS: THE MGM BACKLOT

--- CHRIS RODLEY
DAS EISBERG-SYNDROM - SIX INTO ONE...

INTERVIEW MIT GEORGE MARKSTEIN

--- ZIAUDDINE SARDAR
WIR SEHEN UNS! - DIE POSTMODERNE UND DAS ANDERE

--- ALAN N. SHAPIRO
THE PRISONER ALS "DIE GEISEL" UND "A. B. UND C."

--- WARNER TROYER
INTERVIEW MIT PATRICK McGOOHAN

--- CHRISTOPH WINDER
ICH BIN KEINE NUMMER, ICH BIN EIN MENSCH

--- VALARIE ZIEGLER
THE PRISONER'S SHADOW SIDE

 

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SEITENBLICK:

ANDERSWO GELESEN
 

AUTOREN:

BEITRÄGE VON...
 

INTERVIEWS:

Nr6DE MIT
DAVE BARRIE
Nr6DE MIT
TIM BOURNE
Nr6DE MIT
PATRICK DUCHER
Nr6DE MIT
MAX HORA
CHRIS RODLEY MIT
GEORGE MARKSTEIN
SIMON BATES (BBC) MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
ALAIN CARRAZÉ MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
BILL KING MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
MIKE TOMKIES MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
WARNER TROYER MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
TOM WORRALL MIT
MARY MORRIS, N. WEST
UWE HUBER MIT
HORST NAUMANN
PATRICK DUCHER MIT
JEAN-MICHEL PHILIBERT
Nr6DE MIT
STEVE RAINES
DAVE BARRIE MIT
IAN L. RAKOFF
HARALD KELLER MIT
BERND RUMPF

 

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"WIR SEHEN UNS" ODER L'ANNÉE DERNIÈRE
AU VILLAGE

Von Arno Baumgärtel

A mere notion rather than knowledge, it would slumber as a footnote for years without sustantiation. Since version one L'ANNÉE DERNIÈRE AU VILLAGE has been the subheading of this website. Now this article will, hopefully, enable a better approach and convey what it was that once led me to the assumption about THE PRISONER and the film LETZES JAHR IN MARIENBAD.

   

A strange film from 1961, made by French director Alain Resnais. The script was written by nouvelle-vague ("new wave") writer Alain Robbes-Grillet. It isn't everyone's cup of tea and it won't mean anything at all to some people.

DIESE SEITE AUF DEUTSCH

Three people, "A", "X and "M", gathered in one place, which place and where exactly it is - nobody knows. It appears to be a grand hotel, perhaps a palace with huge and heavily decorated but

sterile corridors, fountains and gardens where humans cast shadows but bushes and trees don't, a remarkable image. On the surface it seems to be about a relationship as "X" says to "A" that they'd already met before, possibly "last year". But where? It may have happened "here". The name of the spa Marienbad is mentioned only in connection with further (and, for that matter, fictitious) spa locations. It is left open to the viewers to decide. The characters are isolated and depicted as fixedly like the stone

IMAGINARY CHESSBOARD

statues in the park outside, their acting is indifferent. There is no relevance as to place and time or reality. Dialogues, camera shots and acting, more than often, are incongruent.

According to the German Wikipedia, Alfred Hitchcock's film VERTIGO (1958) was one of the inspiring sources for the MARIENBAD script. VERTIGO, in turn, is based on the French novel "D'entre les morts" ("From the Dead", of 1954) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. In fact, timelessness, the merging of possibly subjective time layers as well as perception of reality is one of VERTIGO's action key features. The mood of the film is reported to be "unsettling" while the negation, the deconstruction and the manipulation of cinematic time and narratives, usually employed by standard Hollywood films, is emphasized, its displacing and removing of the human subject from the central point of its narrative filmic context.

THE CHESSBOARD REANIMATED AT THE PRISONER CONVENTION 2011

Comparing Alain Resnais' film L'ANNÉE DERNIÈRE À MARIENBAD with a commercial TV series like THE PRISONER isn't particularly fair. Certainly, both the series and the film don't know about each other. However, some of both their traits may be seen as linked together or, rather, their respective boundaries could be laid bare. Something which, in turn, is based on one's own - subjective - perspective.

LAST YEAR?
MARIENBAD?
THE VILLAGE?

We are not dealing with manifest interconnections here between THE PRISONER and MARIENBAD, rather those subliminal with regard to the relative absence of time and space as far as the setting is concerned: there's the hotel on the one hand, or "a building from another time" as it is called in a voice-over sequence at the beginning of the film and a couple of times again when we see endless tracking shots along the corridors of the interior. On the other hand there is the Village of THE PRISONER with some kind of unrelatedness between the action and the characters as established by the series. What's more, from the German perspective the name of the Village is something which dubbing director Joachim Brinkmann chose to erase completely in favour of vague circumscriptions like "here" and "in this place" thus making it even more remote from reality.

SURREALISM IN THE PRISONER
THE PRISONER AS A DISCOURS
MORE: SIR CLOUGH WILLIAMS-ELLIS
MICHAEL BRÜNE ON THE ANTHONY SKENE TRILOGY (PDF)
MORE: INDIFFERENCE
MORE: PORTMEIRION - THE VILLAGE (GERMAN)
MORE: KURSAAL FUN FAIR

Some of MARIENBAD's settings resemble that of THE PRISONER episode "A. B. and C." the moment when Number Six attends Madame Engadine's party. There is a mirror hanging at the wall that he adjusts but in reality it's the entire (imaginary cinematic) space he moves. In MARIENBAD we have shots of characters in mirrors, deep focus editing reminiscent of Orson Welles' CITIZEN KANE. Patrick McGoohan had once been one of Welles' stage actors. Mention is made about "fake doors, fake columns". Fake - in THE PRISONER episode "Dance Of The Dead" we find one-way mirror windows as well as corridors. Painted-on windows and dummy arcades, a great number of optical mirages are constitutive of the series' real shooting location. Shots of statues in the park outside are edited as to make them more vivid than most of the real people in the film. No, this isn't Sir Clough Williams-Ellis' mockup village Portmeirion with its Balinese dancers or those rotating stone busts equipped with surveillance cameras seen in THE PRISONER. The geographical location of the Village, virtually the sole (with exceptions) place of the action, is never revealed, indeed, false indications about the site are insinuated by the production itself. Is there anything else beside the Village? Number Two of "Dance Of The Dead" denies this. The Village could as well be a mental manifestation.

In their book "THE PRISONER. A Televisionary Masterpiece" Alain Carrazé und Hélène Oswald write: "All the episodes of THE PRISONER seem to take place in an eternal present and to tell an uncompromising cyclical story." Out of time: we are not given any clue as to the duration of Number Six' stay and to how long he's been incarcerated in the Village. A few references made in the course of the action and the use of McGoohan's own date of birth may seem to make any duration between one half and well over one whole year plausible. However, the evident changing of the seasons cannot possibly be taken into consideration as this is a mere coincidence resulting from production circumstances rather than from the purposeful arrangement regarding the plot. Likewise, the even more radical supposition whether perhaps everything that Number Six experiences or does could be only hallucinogenic, for whatever reason, or a dream and that some of the episodes, as erratic and incongruent one may see them at times, can be deemed as the equivalent of the general MARIENBAD disposition.

MIRRORS, DECORATIONS AND CORRIDORS: LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD

There's a wealth of symbolism in THE PRISONER, the game of chess, there are masks, mirrors. The specific off-beat theatre stage aspect of both episodes "Once Upon A Time" and "Fall Out" finds its MARIENBAD counterpart when a rather vanguard theatrical play within this cinematic play unfolds right at the beginning - before we realise it's a play - and at the end of the film. MARIENBAD and THE PRISONER, basically just like any theatrical play, they are experimental set-ups of some sort. In "The Chimes Of Big Ben" Number Two speaks of the Village as the "perfect blueprint for world order" and - who knows - perhaps as a new kind of narrative order insofar as the world can be interpreted semiotically as a structure of texts and signs. Structuralists will find the Prisoner's Village is full of signs and posts.

No names: "A", "X" und "M" - in a de-dramatised play like this the characters are cyphers, de-personalised roles rather than human beings and comparable with those anonymous codes of "A. B. and C." of the episode with the same title. Not forgetting about the series' protagonist himself: "Number Six" or most of the Village inhabitants bearing  numbers for names. I owe this seemingly obvious observation to David Stimpson.

After all, we also find postmodern elements in the PRISONER episode "Living In Harmony"; and there's McGoohan's refusal to resolve the series' action according to standard TV adventure conventions - meaning: to provide a coherent finale and to eventually reveal the ugly villain responsible for everything that happened before. All this supports the series' contingent alignment with MARIENBAD in its deconstructive narrative, repetitive, circular and overall imaginary outset.

Marienbad is a small 19th century fin-de-siècle spa situated in what nowadays is the Czech Republic (near the German border). It used to be part of the so-called "K.u.K." empire which in translation reads "Emperor and King" and designates the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy which ceased to exist after World War I. In the 17th century the healing capacities of the Auschowitz water was used by the sick, either as a beverage or physically when people would bathe in the mud. In 1807/08 the first bath houses were erected and named after the sulphuric spring: "Marienbad". By 1824 the location was well known as a spa where European celebrities such as poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Britain's future king Edward VII or Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I would flock to. The spa's heyday was around 1904. World War I constitutes a break for the spa business which was resumed in 1920. However, Marienbad's sublte decline as a spa commenced after the Second World War although being undestroyed by the war. No longer were there enough solvent customers in search of cure for their ailments. In addition, Marienbad was now behind the Iron Curtain in what was then known as the Republic of Czechoslovakia, virtually inaccessible for those from capitalist countries. Ever since "real socialism" ended by 1989 the town and the bathing installations have been gradually restored to their former glamour.

It is deplorable that this visual and dissociative manner of story telling isn't persevered more strictly throughout the series. Which in turn is the result of its muddled production circumstances and, for that matter, the script writers left alone and not being told by Patrick McGoohan what exactly he was up to. The prominent exceptions here probably are the episodes "Arrival", "Dance Of The Dead" and "Free For All". What remains is the interesting question of how it can be possible that two productions as distinctive as they are and years apart - so to speak - can breathe the same air, at least over a good period of their running times.

ORCHESTRA PAVILION: NOT MARIENBAD HERE BUT AT BAD EMS (GERMANY)

Belle Epoque The notion of a spa or a sanatorium is emphasized by the Village's supposedly remote geographical location and its peculiar architectural [GERMAN] feature.

Spas came into being because of the medical and healing effects of hot springs or such with rich minerals in their water. Already the ancient world knew of these properties and how to use them. The first real bathing locations and spas for the wealthy people were opened in 18th century England, Bath for example and Brighton. On the continent starting in the 19th century at the Baltic coast, in Bohemia Karlsbad and Marienbad and elsewhere. It was here where those belonging to the higher society would gather for their recovery, for their leisure but also in order to initiate political or commercial affairs. Thus specially designed facilities were established for accommodation, well-being, enjoyment, entertainment, education and communication: grand hotels, thermal baths and drinking facilities, gambling palaces, musical houses and pavilions, restaurants and cafés. In addition there were theatre houses, museum buildings and excursion destinations (mountain trains, towers etc.). As a special feature a seaside spa would also mostly have a landing pier as a special attraction.

It's the playfulness of the PRISONER's Village architecture, its intricate footpaths, sumptuous gardens and plantings or the distinguished Bristol Colonnade structure as the venue for musical entertainment promising light-heartedness and spiritual uplifting to those living here. Occasionally, from the distance we can see villagers like they were in their summer holidays, sun-bathing on the beach, swimming, walking and, at times, even parading on the Village Piazza thereby always donning colourful sweaters, capes and umbrellas.
Number Six' Village has an Exhibition or Recreation Hall within its boundaries and even a Palace Of Fun, yes, which, however, can only be found on maps, not in the filmed series. And in front of a prestigious main hotel building, known as the Old People's Home, there's the famous Stone Boat used by some Villagers as a special playground.

SURREALISM IN THE PRISONER
THE PRISONER AS A DISCOURS
MORE: SIR CLOUGH WILLIAMS-ELLIS
MICHAEL BRÜNE ON THE ANTHONY SKENE TRILOGY (PDF)
MORE: INDIFFERENCE
MORE: PORTMEIRION - THE VILLAGE (GERMAN)
MORE: KURSAAL FUN FAIR

As in a real spa the PRISONER's Village also has its own hospital housing medical facilities of rather sinister and questionable purpose. It can be assumed that cure for psychological and mental disorder is effected here or else (innocent) people may become the subject of test treatements up to real physical torture as well.

NUMBER SIX ATTENDING THE AFTERNOON CONCERT IN "ANKUNFT"

Spa orchestra And what's more to a real health resort, it needs to have music. As early as in episode one Number Six listens to the "Platzkonzert" performed by the Village Band in or in front of what is the Bristol Colonnade in real life.

Usually a resort orchestra would appear to be a small instrumental band playing a variety of easy-to-listen-to music for the enjoyment of their visitors. Judging by what we can hear in the series the average repertoire of the Village Band would be entertaining snappy music, popular songs likely to originate from military use. Thus, in many episodes the "Radetzki March" by composer Johann Strauss is heard. The connotation of the "good ole" K.u.K. past* kept alive and brought into the contemporary is to a great extend due to this period piece.

This, too, is an objet trouvé.

*) K.u.K. - the slightly disrespectful abbreviation is the designation of the past Austro-Hungarian dual-monarchy, "Kaiser und König" - "emperor and king" - which ceased to exist after World War I.

With thanks to David Stimpson for proof-reading portions of the English text.


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  "Wir sehen uns!" oder L'année dernière au Village · The Prisoner · Nummer 6

 

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WIR SEHEN UNS! D
BE SEEING YOU! E
THE CAFE
FREE SEA
OLD PEOPLE'S HOME
CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU
WALK ON THE GRASS
6 PRIVATE
2 PRIVATE
GENERAL STORES
TOWN HALL
LABOUR EXCHANGE
COUNCIL CHAMBER
BAND STAND
CHESS LAWN
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MEHR INFORMATIONEN
SIX OF ONE · 601
THE VILLAGE · DER ORT
CAMERA OBSCURA
WER IST NUMMER 1?
DIE NEUE NUMMER 2
"WEISSER ALARM!"
VILLAGE FACT FILES
"MUSIK SAGT ALLES"
VILLAGE STORY BOOK
"DIE ANKUNFT" SKRIPT
SPEEDLEARN VERZ.
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NUMMER 6 WEBLINKS
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DIE ANKUNFT

DIE GLOCKEN VON BIG BEN
A. B. UND C.
FREIE WAHL
DER DOPPELGÄNGER
DER GENERAL
HERZLICHEN GLÜCKWUNSCH
DIE ANKLAGE
SCHACHMATT
HAMMER ODER AMBOSS
DAS AMTSSIEGEL
SINNESWANDEL
2:2=2
HARMONY
---3-2-1-0
PAS DE DEUX
DEMASKIERUNG