A. B. AND C.
A. B. UND C.

 

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Production circumstances result in a different GB and USA order of episodes. The German order, in turn, is also different for no apparent reason.
The so-called English standard episode order is given here.
But as for the episode action no particular running order is required. Almost every country would have an order of its own.

More order of episodes... (English PDF available)

 

 

"I AM NOT
A NUMBER.
I AM
A PERSON."

"SIX OF ONE,
HALF A
DOZEN OF
THE OTHER."

 

SCREENPLAY: Anthony Skene
DIRECTED BY Pat Jackson
GERMAN VERSION by Joachim Brinkmann
GERMAN EPISODE 3
FIRST GERMAN BROADCAST: ZDF 25.10.1969

MORE: EN-TITLE-D
DUBBING DIRECTOR JOACHIM BRINKMANN
DIESE SEITE AUF DEUTSCH

Written by: Anthony Skene
Directed by: Pat Jackson

APPRECIATIVE EXAMINATION

In order to unveil Number Six’ secrets his dreams are manipulated. It is supposed he could have tried to "sell out" his knowledge to three persons when he resigned, A., B. and C. But the drug hasn't been tested yet and the pressure on Number Two to deliver results is high. Yet Number Six proves his superior abilities as an intelligence man who even has a firm grip at his dreams. He embarrasses his adversary.

RANKED 17th: A weak script despite some nice touches of the "dream within a dream" subject and rather poor sets. Outstanding Colin Gordon's servile and ambitious Number Two.

Don't read any further unless you know THE PRSIONER already and you want to delve more indepth into theoretical discussions and facts around the history of the production. - Be seeing you!

"A. B. and C." certainly ranks in the upper third of many fans' popularity list. This author, it has to be said, is of a different opinion.

Number One now demands results regarding the case of Number Six. It is assumed that he was going to "sell out" his knowledge to a person he knew when he resigned. The pressure is high on Number Two, he needs to take action. There is a female doctor, Number 14, conducting the treatment whereas Number Six' dreams are manipulated and made visible on a screen in order to find out who the person might have been to whom he wanted to sell. Number Six encounters two people, "A" and "B", the identity of "C" remains widely unkown. But the medical drug is dangerous and hasn't been tested yet. However, Number Six is suspicious and turns the tables against Number Two. He is eventually left disgraced.

"How does one talk to someone that one has met in a dream?" Number Six one day asks himself upon meeting the doctor in the café. She evades him leaving the question unanswered in this respect. A good question, though, and the subject is quite demanding but sadly it is given a very poor and naive treatment here: Edgar Allen Poe's dream within a dream, the quest for the status of our reality and the use of psychoactive drugs capable of changing that reality. Anthony Skene was the author of this episode and of two others as well. Michael Brüne has gone in-depth with this issue.

'WHAT A NICE PLACE TO WORK', NUMBER 14 MIGHT BE THINKING

The episode was produced entirely in the studio. There is no location action and only little use of Portmeirion stock footage was made. Here, the Village café is located in front of what is better known as the Old Peoples Home, its facade erected on the studio stage. Also, what usually is Number Two's command room now has to stand in as a medical lab with dividing walls put in place and the room furnished with a conglomerate of "technical equipment" the sole user of which appears to be the doctor Number 14. It may have been established especially for this operation. Simple as it can be. Likewise the mise en scene, the staging, when the script (or is it McGoohan himself) calls for very lax security measures in the Village that otherwise are extremely tight (where is Rover?), thus enabling Number Six to find the location of the secret laboratory and make his way into it (through a ventilation duct, what else?). He finds the drug lying unchilled on a table, already in a syringe. And he prepares himself for the third treatment, in order to remain fully in control, thus replacing some of the liquid with - we don't know for sure - distilled water perhaps. Did he know what it was? He needs no checking. Right away, as a hero he's now capable of outwitting his adversaries literally from the sleep. Very convincing, isn't it.

A lot of its inherent potential, in comparison to the episode "Living In Harmony", is left untouched and even the thin layer of irony included in "The General", that other episode where there are equally poor production values, is absent here.
Interestingly, it isn't the story, it's the details, little vignettes, rendering the episode "acceptable". There is Colin Gordon and his portrayal of the Number Two character: kissing up and kicking down thereby always having a glass of milk at hand; a personality mixture of ambition and servility. It's hard to think of any other actor in this role. The big red curved telephone, the Number One hot-wire, is placed prominently in the foreground while somewhere in the back, winced at its beeping sound, there's Number Two, a shot that isn't easily forgotten. Among the best scenes are those from Madame Engadine's "dreamy party", Number Six, for once, seen here not in his familiar Village attire but in plain clothes, dressed in in a dinner jacket, a little bit like John Drake. And there's also the magic moment when he unexpectedly, out of his own, grabs a wall mirror hanging askew and rights it. Thereby doing the same with the whole (imaginary, filmic) space around himself. This remains a non-sequitur, a surreal moment.

Finally, the end of the episode: Quite nice the exposure of "C", the infamous person unknown, the supposed buyer of Number Six' secrets (in a scene filmed on the so-called "French street" of the former MGM studio backlot), to be Number Two (ha, ha!), while Number Six is still sleeping in the lab. Number Two and Number 14 staring worriedly at

the screen where the dream action controlled by Number Six is unfolding. A dream within a dream. He rewinds the title sequence of the series for them, the walk through the dark corridor, the letter of resignation. And then from the virtuality he turns to his bloodhounds: 'Now I'm coming at you!' (Where's the Village administration, where are the guards? Is Number Two granted only little backing?) The experiment has gone wrong. Number Two is a loser. These scenes are quite delightful. But they are also piecemeal within a very mediocre episode. You can put it this way as well: "Any serious critical analysis of A. B. and C. is null and void… for this episode is simply superb fun." [www.anorakzone.com/prisoner]

TEXT: Arno Baumgärtel

 


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PATRICK McGOOHAN


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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DISKURSE

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.
THE TALLY HO VERZ.
Nr6DE FREUNDE & FÖRDERER
NUMMER 6 WEBLINKS
TV-MAGIC WEBLINKS
IMPRESSUM | FEEDBACK

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