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Showing posts from October, 2014

Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four

...With Peter Cushing as Holmes, that is. I have been watching Sherlock Holmes a Game of Shadows while it has rained interminably today, & I can only call myself unimpressed. I have just realised how watching mainly or only classic TV sensitises one to CGI. The aura of unreality it imparts works in some films, but not for Holmes. It's also no use turning Holmes into an all-action figure: the whole point of turning to Holmes on the winter evenings is that it takes the reader or viewer to a Victorian London of hansom cabs & fog, a different pace. Holmes should go slow, & the all-action approach blunts his intellect. With my love for all things weird I did love the scene with the tarot cards. This Holmes, however, has everything that is missing from the film. I feel Holmes is better filmed in a small-screen way, anyway. This one has the atmosphere, the feeling of stepping into a different world. It has been many decades since most English-speakers have read Holmes as a

Allegory in the Prisoner: Fall Out

I notice when I watched through The Prisoner looking to identify Number 6 as John Drake, I identified Fall Out as a flawed episode. This time I would go further: when watched from the point of view of allegorical interpretation Fall Out is the episode that makes The Prisoner fall apart. Bearing in mind that the key allegorical interpretation of The Prisoner is of The Village as society, with reference to the various institutions etc, & their ability to harm us, it is capable of incredibly countercultural interpretations, as I think has been apparent in previous posts in this series. Fall Out makes this allegory unsustainable by turning it round to the pursuit of the individual's self-actualisation, or whatever you want to call it. 'We thought you would feel happier as yourself' are the words at which it becomes apparent we're in completely different territory here. It is still open to allegorical interpretation, just differently: here The Village becomes the mea

Allegory in The Prisoner: Once Upon A Time

You'll notice I've gone back to my original profile picture; it marks for me that I am no longer too shy to bare my chest. Also a friend tried to tell me nobody would believe it was really me. It is really me. So sorry. The end of this look at allegory is nearing with this episode, & you would be forgiven for thinking that I've rather lost my relish for the subject as I've gone through. What I was expecting to find was that the series was susceptible to numerous different allegorical interpretations, which it is in certain places. However I'm expecting my conclusion to be that some episodes lend themselves to an allegorical interpretation better than others. Notoriously not even McGoohan knew how the series would end while it was being filmed, & additional conflict about the number of episodes/series shows in a certain lack of direction as the series progresses, in my opinion. Additionally in my inner INFJ world of making connections I've been distra

Paul Temple: First Impressions

An attentive reader of this blog recently called it 'my go-to blog for Brit shows' (you know who you are, thank you) & so when I noticed I'd left the discs for this post sitting on my laptop next to a cup of tea in a Harrods mug, I had to snap it as the illustration for this ultra-British post. Here's the secret to perfect tea: everyone has their own pet method. After a lifetime of being a tea-first fanatic I have recently converted to milk-first.  Incidentally I made the tea with a bag in the mug, don't take sugar, & superstition would have it that the almost complete absence of bubbles on top indicates that buying a lottery ticket this week would be a waste of money. As it happens the largest audience for this blog is in the Ukraine (hello there) followed by the US, but I like to think we English people are as much of a mystery to non-English speakers as we are to Anglophones. Anyway back to the matter in hand... Surely there can be nobody interested in

Allegory in The Prisoner: The Girl Who Was Death

Since the focus of this series of posts is allegory, I'm quite keen to make everything in the episodes refer to something else if I possibly can. The Girl Who Was Death is another of those episodes which apparently take us out of the claustrophobic world of The Village. It is certainly one of my favourite episodes & seems to be beloved of the fans. But I must start by demolishing the way this episode is normally approached. If you actually watch the opening few minutes, it is apparent that Number 6 has woken up in The Village again. This episode is therefore set in The Village. Similarly the scenes with the story book are so brief as to be easily missed - or at least overlooked if you're not paying attention - & clearly indicate the point made so often in The Prisoner, that nothing is real, & the show is entirely focussed on The Village when it comes down to it. In a sense, it's a reverse allegory, where everything outside of it refers in some way to The Vil

Jason King: Flamingoes Only Fly on Tuesdays

Image: Female fans being held back from Peter Wyngarde as he opens the Woolworths shop in Luton in 1973 (credit: ) Things have been a bit fraught recently, but I've now started a much-needed week of annual leave, & intend to prove my superficiality by starting with a post on the confection that is Jason King, rather than any more serious cult TV show. I'm sure I wrote in my general post about this show that my interest in this show was partly aroused by my godmother telling me - some shamefacedly - that she had a raging crush on Peter Wyngarde in the 1970s. And how much of the 1970s Jason King is! I have to give it full marks for the tropical establishing shots in the opening scenes. I have read criticism that this stock footage has not worn as well as the film used for the actual series, but my recollection of seventies TV's use of stock footag

Allegory in The Prisoner: Living in Harmony

Usually, when I start my dissection of a defenceless classic TV programme, I have a read round on the internet to see what other people have to say about it. In terms of the shows I've talked about so far, this is particularly easy in the case of The Avengers & The Prisoner, but seemingly not when it comes to Living in Harmony. I ended my piece on Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling by saying that I had no idea what I would do when I got to this episode. One of the things I'm finding useful about going through The Prisoner thematically, is I'm finding I watch the episodes in different ways - I would like to say the episodes lend themselves to different interpretations - & Living in Harmony is one that doesn't seem to attract much in the way of allegory. So let me invent the phrase argumentum a silentio for how I must start here: either this episode doesn't lend itself to allegory or the idea of an allegory of an allegory in an already allegorical show is just