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The Prisoner ... on Blu-ray

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Hollywoodaholic, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    The Prisoner DVD news: Announcement for The Prisoner - Complete Series (Blu-ray) | TVShowsOnDVD.com

    I was busy trying to figure out how to trade in my individual The Prisoner sets on Amazon's new beta test trade-in program for the megaset version (to save shelf space). Now, I see it's getting the Blu-ray treatment.

    Normally, I would say it doesn't make sense to re-release a classic series that was originally in SD on Blu-ray, but after going through my Star Trek TOS Season One on Blu-ray, and seeing how glorious it looks, well, the bastards got me. It will just be a great excuse to spend some more time in the Village.

    This is definitely a series I will upgrade for, if just for the excuse to watch it again. But if they digitally re-do the 'rover,' all bets are off.

    Anyone else have thoughts about Number Six turning Blu?


    (The clock has officially started ticking on how long it takes someone to tell me this should be in the HD software section.)
     
  2. JoshuaB.

    JoshuaB. Second Unit

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    I'm cautiously excited that The Prisoner is coming to Blu-ray--I too was struck at how gorgeous Star Trek S1 looked on Blu-ray, so IF A&E goes back and cleans up the picture for HD, it's a definite sale for me. I've had a love/hate relationship with A&E: happy they released a lot of cult/obscure 60s/70s British TV on DVD, but unhappy with a lot of the AV quality. Hopefully A&E realizes that fans will be far more discriminating with a Blu-ray set (the Prisoner DVD set had serious AV issues) and reward us with a definitive release.
     
  3. chas speed

    chas speed Second Unit

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    The Prisoner was rereleased on DVD in the U.K. a while ago and the prints look amazing, but I heard they screwed up a number of things on the set. It will be interesting to see if they are corrected on the U.S. release.
     
  4. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    Could be great on Blu-Ray. The Prisoner had a lot of colorful, detailed visuals that could be well served by the high def format. However, if the studio doesn't invest the time and effort to restoring the films (as Paramount did with its lengthy Star Trek TOS project), we may not see the best results. So, I am cautiously anxious to see how this will be handled. Reviews of the set will be essential before buying.
     
  5. Jim*F

    Jim*F Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the recent Network UK DVD set, and it is wonderful. While the set is SD, all episodes were remastered for HD (and even in SD, they look so much sharper, brighter and cleaner than the current A&E release).

    I remember reading that some of the video problems (like an obvious scratch on the master that couldn't be removed easily) were fixed by removing the offending frame and then duplicating the frame before it, which would lead to an extremely brief stutter. I've watched all 17 episodes, and never noticed it, if that means anything!

    The other "problem" I remember that I definitely noticed, but is easily fixed, is that new audio mixes were made for each episode. They stink! The audio is way too loud in places, and there are one or two instances where a line of dialogue was dropped. Luckily, the original mono mixes are an option, and they sound fine.

    I wonder if A&E has acquired the Network masters, is making their own HD masters, or is going cheap and doing no further remastering and simply using the current SD masters.

    If they are doing their own HD remastering or using Network's, it's a shame there won't be an SD re-release, as non Blu-Ray Prisoner fans would be amazed at how great the episodes look.
     
  6. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    This is another situation where we can thank (or curse) a new, theatrical film version of a classic series scheduled for release as the principal motivation for getting an upgraded version of the original series out.

    I suppose I'll check out the Ian McKellan (Number Two) and Jim Cavaziel (Number Six?) movie version, but there's just no way it can capture the perfect paranoia zeitgeist that Patrick McGoohan tapped into during the cold war 40 years ago.
     
  7. Jim*F

    Jim*F Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree, Hollywoodaholic. The original series is genius.

    Luckily, we won't even have to pay to see the remake. It is a six-part TV co-production between ITV (in the UK) and AMC (in the US). Last I heard, AMC is airing the series this November, with ITV to follow in early 2010.
     
  8. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    Huh. Didn't know that, Jim, thanks for the update. I just remember seeing some clips online.
     
  9. Corey3rd

    Corey3rd Screenwriter

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    forgetting tapping into the time. It's the fact that McGoohan goes from playing Dangerman into this role. the viewers are also curious why he quit the spy game. Cavaziel has no history - outside of being Jesus.

    I doubt A&E made their own HD transfer since the license the series for dvd. this should by the English transfer
     
  10. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    Didn't McGoohan originally deny that Number Six was his previous incarnation as Drake in Secret Agent or Dangerman? I seem to remember that speculation getting shot down when there was publicity around the orignal airing in the U.S. on PBS in 1968 (but we live in a revisionist world, and I can see him admitting it now, or saying it was so). At least viewers at the time, like me, did not need any backstory or context to get what the Village was all about, or enjoy the series on a stand alone level.
     
  11. jamoon2006

    jamoon2006 Stunt Coordinator

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    Can't remember where I read it now, but I thought that McGoohan couldn't say Number 6 and Drake were the same person because he didn't create/own the rights to the John Drake character. It sounded as if he regarded them as the same man, but couldn't come right out and say it.

    I'm very curious about the remake - largely because of the presence of McKellen and Jericho's Lennie James. Sure, it likely will not best the original, but it should be interesting to see another take on the material.
     
  12. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    That makes sense. I can see how that might explain his comments (or lack of comments) at the time.
     
  13. JulianK

    JulianK Supporting Actor

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    That's sort of right.

    Digital restoration tools work by sampling a series of frames, and working out the various movement vectors of the objects in them. While it's true that you use information from one frame to fix another, the program works out the difference between the various frames, and samples the bit you want to replace from an adjacent frame (or frames), compensating for any movement. If this doesn't work, the operator can cut-and-paste things from another frame (or frames) manually. The end result should be seamless, although you can sometimes tell if you have a keen eye, and step through the frames one by one!
     
  14. JoshuaB.

    JoshuaB. Second Unit

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    The current DVD set has been fine for many years for me--it was a step up from the broadcasts I recorded to tape in the mid-90s. I'm not looking to replace all my movies and TV shows on DVD to Blu-ray, but there are some programs I'd like to upgrade (I would love a Blu-ray treatment of Twin Peaks!).

    I agree with Sam that the series' bold use of colour would really work on Blu-ray and I always thought the series was much better looking than most British TV shows from the 60s/70s. And as for the upcoming AMC mini-series, well, I don't have high expectations, but nabbing Ian McKellan as No. 2 is impressive. We shall have to see.
     
  15. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    This announcement has gotton me to rethink whether we might see classic series on Blu- Anything from the sixties on film, if remastered should look great. I Never bought the prisoner, it was'nt a series I'd thought I'd rewatch alot, although I definately will hunt it down to rent. Now if those rumored Space 1999 1st Season Hi Def's came out....
     
  16. Guest

    Here's the link to UK's Network Prisoner remaster comparison:

    http://www.networkdvd.co.uk/prisoner/priscomparison.htm

    I surely hope that A&E does use this master for the blu-ray release as I do not feel that the original A&E release looked anywhere near what it should have.
     
  17. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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  18. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Screenwriter

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    But, will the Network HD master play at the proper speed or suffer from 4% speedup (even in the USA)? I'm presuming they did their HD remaster primarily for the UK market, which is PAL. The Prisoner was shot on cinema/American-speed film, meaning a 4% speedup when converted to the PAL format.

    I guess whether or not any master sent to the US is sped-up or not will depend on whether Network simply standards-convert their PAL duplication master, or whether they had the foresight to make an NTSC master from the original film conversion (rather than doing a standards conversion).
     
  19. Jonathan Kaye

    Jonathan Kaye Second Unit

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    I would be amazed if this were anything other than 24fps. I'm not aware of any UK Blu-rays mastered at 25p where the film source was 24p - that's not to say there aren't any, but it's not a phenomenon I've come across so far.
     
  20. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    This may be a controversial question, I don't know. I recall the vibe around "The Prisoner" but at only 17 episodes it wouldn't seem like they could get any kind of closer to the show.

    I like the spy genre having the Avengers, Dangerman, Saint, and others so I am a prime candidate for this show but without spoiling anything, How satisfying is it after the 17th episode? Are the episodes self-contained enough that you don't need final closer, or does it just leave you hanging?
     

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