The Prisoner Nummer 6


The sediments at the bottom of television: series and serials, omnipresent and almost as infinite as the medium itself. Few only were successfull in touching the underside of our attentiveness.
UNWAHRSCHEINLICHE GESCHICHTEN ("Improbable Stories") was one that did, the classic TWILIGHT ZONE.
Anything associated with the expression TV-magic applies to this.

Phantastic television of the sixties, among other things, is one conjuring formula:
"Be seeing you!" or
L'année dernière
au Village:

CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS:
(GERMAN KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED)

 

SEITENBLICK:

ANDERSWO GELESEN
 

AUTOREN:

BEITRÄGE VON...
 

INTERVIEWS:

Nr6DE MIT
DAVE BARRIE
Nr6DE MIT
TIM BOURNE
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
Nr6DE MIT
STEVE RAINES
DAVE BARRIE MIT
IAN L. RAKOFF
HARALD KELLER MIT
BERND RUMPF

 

I WILL NOT BE PUSHED, FILED, STAMPED, INDEXED, BRIEFED, DEBRIEFED OR NUMBERED

Only 13 episodes were shown initially on German television. It is not known why "Free For All", "The Schizoid Man", "Living In Harmony" and "A Change Of Mind" would be neglected. Actually, those thirteen episodes do not seem to be fitting into any broadcasting time slot. A few scences, however, weren’t removed, fragments of Number Six’ "rotten cabbages" speech from the "Free For All" episode. German TV viewers couldn’t help wondering where these scenes did come from. They are included in episodes 8 and 12 according to the German running order.

And of the opening titles it’s that the "Resigned" label on the mechanical file cabinet is inexistent at all in the German version. Which is kind of typical in some respect.


< Walk On The Grass  
 

 

NUMBER SIX' ROTTEN CABBAGES SPEECH
MORE: GERMAN VERSION (PARTLY ENGLISH)
KEY WORD: COLD WAR
NAMES AND NUMBERS
MORE: NUMBER SIX NOT THE PRISONER
THE ESCAPE ROUTE IN "THE CHIMES OF BIG BEN"
ARTE PRISONER REVIEW (ENGLISH DOWNLOAD TEXT AVAILABLE)
THE PRISONER ALTERNATE VERSIONS
MORE: ORDER OF EPISODES
VILLAGE = DORF? (GERMAN ONLY)

Is it that German audiences weren’t expected to understand a bit of English, and subtitling would have been possible anyway? Or does it mean resigning/stepping back from some delicate position during the hot social, political and cultural stage of the sixties simply wasn’t tolerable? On the one hand dialogue director Brinkmann chooses to drop the expression Village completely, on the other hand he uses various terms for the "lost" word "Resigned" from the filing cabinet (in translation): to step down, to quit, to leave.

Dropping complete episodes does, of course, weaken the not-too concealed political implications of the series. In retrospect one gets the notion that the German selection, just like the vampire avoids the garlic, as best as it is capable of eschews the underlying political issue of the time - the Cold War. Thus emphasizing a more adventure-like thing, with "Free For All" and its obvious political content and "Living In Harmony" as a political parable being discarded.

Beside this beginning the German version chooses to neglect one detail during the credit sequence of the ultimate episode not without a certain significance. Three of the four remaining lead characters, Leo McKern, Alexis Kanner, Angelo Muscat, are introduced by their names but McGoohan isn't. Originally, in the English version, the word "Prisoner", without an article, is written on the screen: "Gefangener". Just a linguistic problem?

In the episode "The Chimes Of Big Ben" the geographical location of the Village is on the agenda. Number Six' and Nadja's escape route is thereby relocated in the German version of the story from the Baltics - the region that was under the political and military influence of the Warsaw Pact - to the "wild" Balkans and to Bulgaria. It must have been more convenient and seemed harmless for those responsible to move it there. Because ever since the 19th century stories of popular novelist Karl May this had been an adventurous area of a different kind compared to the one of Eastern Prussia, before WW II German territory, and further to the east.

In 2010 Franco-German TV station Arte rescreened NUMMER 6 on German TV after some 18 years. They decided to complete the dubbing of the four non-German episodes. Now the whole series can be watched in German. Number Six' former voice artist Horst Naumann was replaced by Bernd Rumpf. The new German episode titles are:

- Free For All - Freie Wahl
- The Schizoid Man - Der Doppelgänger
- A Change Of Mind - Sinneswandel
- Living In Harmony - Harmony

"A Change Of Mind" deals with the then virulent subject of behaviourism and the lobotomy treatment which would find a climactic point a few years later in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUKOO’S NEST. "Harmony" was standing too contrary to the Western myth as it was to the daily agenda of the Vietnam war and wasn’t shown on CBS. And it’s especially "Free For All" because McGoohan called it one of seven episodes that "really count." Get more in the episode description.

In the early nineties Bruce Clark, american-based coordinator of the Prisoner Appreciation Society SIX OF ONE, uncovered an apparently unknown celluloid version of the episode "The Chimes Of Big Ben". In addition, around 2000 a significantly different "Arrival", compared to what was known, saw the light of day. Of course, both alternate versions were never seen on German television. The episodes themselves are uneven depending on screenplay and director.

The order of episodes, already different in the GB and the US and even more confusing in the German version, is lacking a firm perspective due to production circumstances. Viewers in England, for example, were watching a differnt sequence of episodes than those in Canada. By the time of the show’s first air date some episode still weren’t finished. Legions of SIX OF ONE members have been exchanging arguments on how the true order of episodes should and could have been. A closer look reveals some contradictory dialogue parts because several script authors were employed to write what they believed was episode 2. Other instances indicate that one specific episode probably must come before or after another - it is in vain.
All in all it’s "Arrival" and "Once Upon A Time"/"Fall Out" that tie it all together.

Grabbing deeply into some unfathomable recesses the production design conceives the mysterious puzzle of THE PRISONER. Mostly there are symbolic signs. But even if it’s only skindeep: like the canopied pennyfarthing (McGoohan: "ironic symbol of progress") it gets stuck in your mind. The whole thing rounds up to quite a refined blend of quintessentials characterizing the nineteen-sixties: • political theory and social criticism
• nonconformism and conformity
• surrealism
• pop/ media
• science fiction Supported by dialogues that prefer allusions instead of speaking plainly. As Voltaire once said, the secret of boredom is saying it all.
I wish to thank Larry Hall for his hints who, at the 2003 PortmeiriCon, showed a video presentation on linguistic differences between the German and the English version.

It is easily forgotten that NUMMER 6 isn't a one-to-one translation of THE PRISONER and couldn't be one, too. Joachim Brinkmann, the German dialogue director, pushed the door open into ambiguity as early as in the prologue of episode 1. And he keeps it that way in minor details thus enhancing the mysterious veil of the show.

For example, where, in the prologue, Number Six asks "Where am I?" and gets the reply "In the Village" the German answer states "Sie sind da" - "You are there" (equals "You are here."). What could be more plain and paradoxical at the same time?

The dictionary translation "im Dorf", which is "in the thorp", is used in the DVD subtitles. But obviously, this sounds and feels rhythmically infinitely flat to German ears, too, and, in terms of translating idiomatically, it isn't an appropriate transfer of expression at all for the original "In the Village."

Of course, the real location - Portmeirion - was of much greater significance to the British audience than to Germans.

 

 

Contact impressum filmtexte - texts on film deutsch english language   "Be seeing you!" or 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
www.match-cut.de
DISCOURSES

FREE INFORMATION
SIX OF ONE · 601 D
THE VILLAGE D
CAMERA OBSCURA D
WHO IS NUMBER 1?
THE NEW NUMBER 2
"ORANGE ALERT!"
VILLAGE FACT FILES
"MUSIC SAYS IT ALL"
McGOOHAN INTERVIEW D
"ARRIVAL" SCRIPT
SPEEDLEARN DIR
THE TALLY HO D DIR
Nr6DE FRIENDS & SUPP.
THE PRISONER WEBLINKS
TV-MAGIC WEBLINKS
IMPRESSUM | FEEDBACK

ARRIVAL
THE CIMES OF BIG BEN
A. B. AND C.
FREE FOR ALL
THE SCHIZOID MAN
THE GENERAL
MANY HAPPY RETURNS
DANCE OF THE DEAD
CHECKMATE
HAMMER INTO ANVIL
IT'S YOUR FUNERAL
A CHANGE OF MIND
DO NOT FORSAKE ME...
LIVING IN HARMONY
THE GIRL WHO WAS DEATH
ONCE UIPON A TIME
FALL OUT

PATRICK McGOOHAN