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The Prisoner Blu-ray Review


“The Prisoner” is uneven.

In the 1955 film “The Prisoner” (not to be confused with the sci-fi series), the story revolves around a Cardinal who is imprisoned on charges of treason in an unnamed European country with a totalitarian Government. The Cardinal finds himself being interrogated by a lawyer who happened to fight side-by-side with the Cardinal against the Nazis. The interrogator seeks a confession from the Cardinal and proceeds to try and break him psychologically even though the Cardinal is innocent. Will the Cardinal’ strength and faith be enough to get him through this arduous imprisonment?

Directed by Peter Glenville, “The Prisoner” feels more like a stage play than it does a film. Much of the story is essentially a cat and mouse game between Alec Guinness (The Cardinal) and Jack Hawkins (The Interrogator). Admittedly, the movie works best an acting showcase between these two because they carry the film on their backs. Guinness shows why is he one of the acting greats here once again by demonstrating such range with the Cardinal character. Veteran actor Jack Hawkins (best known for films like “Lawrence Of Arabia” and “The Bridge On The River Kwai”) also holds his own against Guinness. He plays off of the acting great so well.

Acting aside, writer Bridget Boland’s script does have its fair share of problems. First and foremost, the romantic subplot involving a prison guard feels entirely out of place here. Not only is it underdeveloped, but it feels like tacked on like it was a studio note. Secondly, the story itself is rather tedious. While the backdrop and the 1984ish setting are undoubtedly intriguing, that element of the story unfortunately takes a backseat to the drawn out one on one psychological drama between the Cardinal and the Interrogator (even though the acting is top notch as previously mentioned).


Presentation:1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The B&W print has its fair share of damage but it’s still a decent hi-def transfer.

Audio Track: 1.0 Mono. How does it sound? Despite the fact that the lossless track sounds a bit too low at times, it’s still a quality Mono track.

* A booklet featuring credits, photos, and an essay by writer Mark Cunliffe.
* “Interrogating Guinness”- A 24 minute interview with author Neil Sinyard who talks about the film’s history along with his feelings on the film as well.
* Commentary on 4 scenes by critic/author Philip Kemp.

March 10, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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