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"The Prisoner" The Girl Who Was Death (1968)

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Sweet Dreams

Author: a_l_i_e_n from Canada
11 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A spy who looks a lot like Number Six (Patrick MaGoohan) is assigned "Mission Impossible"-style to look into the murder of a British scientist. Soon he finds himself the next target of a comely assassin named "Death" (played Justin Lord with a touch too much eye makeup). Among the unkind things she does to him, Lady Death locks the spy in a steam bath, leaves him dangling over a bed of spikes, and traps him in a room full of poison-emitting candles which will explode if he blows them out.

As a framing device, each step in this "trail of Death" is illustrated in a children's storybook with the tale eventually leading to a madman with a Napolean complex plotting to destroy London.

In the final moments of the episode, the mad genius and his daughter, Death, are blown to bits by the heroic spy. Then we discover this has all been an elaborate bedtime story told by Number Six to a roomful of little children. We also see that the would-be Napolean and Lady Death are actually Number 2 and his assistant. As they spy on Number Six from the control room of The Village, the two grumble about the failure of this latest plan, for even among a group of innocent children Number Six will not let his guard down.

This one is considered something of an oddity because it spends so little time within the mysterious Village. It's also far less dramatic in tone than other episodes, and though "The Girl Who Was Death" is essentially played as a spoof, it does feature some very exciting action sequences with MaGoohan cleverly getting himself out of one tight scrape after another.

While it may not be completely in keeping with the approach of most episodes of "The Prisoner", it seems acceptable to have such a change-of-pace entry in what was essentially a very experimental series.

Plus, it also nicely showcases star Patrick MaGoohan's abilities, both as an action star as well as a comedic actor. You can definitely see here why he was the original choice of producers to play James Bond and how tremendous he would have been in that role.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

"I Say, You're Not The Duke Of Wellington, Are You?"

Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
20 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Chosen ( rather oddly ) to represent 'The Prisoner' as part of I.T.V.'s 'Best Of British' series in 1982, 'Girl' is one of the least representative episodes. Apart from the final scene, there's nothing to link it to the ongoing saga of 'Number 6' and his quest to escape The Village. It opens with an 'Avengers' type teaser in which a British agent is blown up by a cricket ball. McGoohan's unnamed agent ( surely not John Drake? ) replaces him, going off on a wild chase across Merrie England, avoiding death-traps, until he confronts the girl and her Napoleon-obsessed father, who is plotting the destruction of London. 'Girl' is usually thought of as a send-up of 'Danger Man', but Drake never had an adventure as outrageous as this. Justine Lord's glamorous assassin and the late Kenneth Griffith's over-the-top megalomaniac are glorious, while Terence Feely's ingenious script ridicules the conventions of the spy genre more effectively than any of the bigger budgeted movies made at that time.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The girl who was death - Superb episode.

Author: irivlin from Queensland, Australia
26 March 2010

Justine Lord looks ravishing. Shame she didn't keep on as an actress (she more or less stopped in the mid 1970's) In one scene, she drives away from the fairground (actually filmed in Southend) in a white E-Type Jaguar, hotly pursued by Number 6 in a Lotus Elan. At the time, the E-Type was the quintessential sports supercar and how good they still look. The Lotus Elan would have murdered the E-Type on corners and the Jag would easily have beaten the Lotus in terms of top speed. A gorgeous chick in an E-Type would have been every young man's fantasy (It certainly was mine). Cars aside, I loved this very surreal episode. It had everything and even though it wasn't set in "The Village", so what? - it was exciting, entertaining, coherent, very well directed and produced. - One of the very best of the 17 episodes - if not the best.

Kenneth Griffith does an admirable job of playing a deranged, egotist nut case. Justine Lord takes on the role of a smooth-as-silk psychopathic killer to perfection. Why can't they make programs like this nowadays? IMHO The Prisoner was the best of the best of the best. (Yes, I'm an ardent fan...)

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Breaking Down Walls

Author: Moor-Larkin from United Kingdom
4 June 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If anything demonstrates the over-weening arrogance of fans of The Prisoner mucking about with the episode order of McGoohan's meisterwerk, it is surely putting this brilliant piece of allegorical theatre into any position other than it's carefully selected placing, just before the two-part denouement of this uniquely inventive series. The piece begins with a sequence of vignettes illustrating that many of the apparent central tenets of the show to that point are merely means to a dramatic end. Hence we have a number of mild parodies of secret agent clichés.

Interestingly however some of these are quite inventive, demonstrating the respect McGoohan retained for the milieu in which he had risen to international prominence in 1967. A number of shows are probably referenced: certainly The Avengers, which was by this time preeminent in the secret agent genre, but a show in which imaginatively silly self-mockery was a large part of its appeal... or should that be a Peel............ The sex appeal, or should that be a Peel that had so far often been absent in The Prisoner comes to the fore, with the delicious legs of Justine Lord mesmerising the viewers as the girl who is death sets about her mission. Mission Impossible is another show mildly mocked as the Holmesian British agent receives his recorded instructions, but rather than self-destruct, the recorded message talks back to our hero. And so the show must go on.......... and on and on it goes through a funfair... a veritable Amusement Park...........

The skillful use of Narrative, often the strongest suit of the noir days of Danger Man in the earlier 1960's, resets the mood as our hero enters the deadly warehouse. Against a background of cleverly circumvented puzzles the deathly girl explains the paradoxes we face.......

You are a born survivor. I am a born killer.

Is your heart pounding? Your hand shaking? That's Love my darling.

Don't let silly pride stand in your way.

One or two Jams (sic) Bond references had been apparent as the hero emerged from the steam bath, dressed in his deerstalker outfit, much as Bond strips off frogmen suits and is dressed in an evening suit underneath. The escape with the bulldozer also preempts many movie tricks as the hero uses the spade to create himself a veritable tank, but perhaps the most telling allegory was the automatic Bren Gun scene. This directly mirrored a closing scene in the final Japanese adventures of John Drake, when a ludicrous machine gun pops out of the uber-villains desk, in Shinda Shima. Clearly gutted by the direction Sidney Cole was taking his beloved show, McGoohan famously walked away from it. Fan legend has it that this whole episode "The Girl Who Was Death", was derived by Everyman co-producer David Tomblin from an unshot episode of the Danger Man series that never was. The bren gun scene is perhaps Mcgoohan's pointed riposte that if the likes of George Markstein (the new script editor on the final two episodes of Danger Man to be filmed) had thought he could turn McGoohan's beloved John Drake into the utterly crass secret agent so favoured after 1965.... well he had had another think coming and it was Goodnight George........

And so into the final scenes, which were vital to McGoohan's story-telling, containing as they did the introduction to the Chamber stylisations that would ultimately host Fall-Out, and indeed the Chaplinesque battle with the Napoleonic forces almost prefigures the more violent Pantomime still to come in the conclusion, not to mention the notion of a Rocket.... So why was this episode so important? Why was this episode so carefully constructed and placed where it was? Any serious viewer will see the significance immediately. This was the theatrical announcement of the classic theatrical actor.......... This was McGoohan's dismantling of the Fourth Wall.

And that is how I saved London from a mad scientist Goodnight Children

and then Number Six looks at us, through the figure of Number Two and adds....


And so, we now know that what we have seen has been a story..... a show..... it was never meant to be real..... There is no Village -pretend or otherwise...........

It was all........... Once Upon A Time.............

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Break from the Conventional Dramatic

Author: Hitchcoc from United States
22 February 2015

I was a bit disappointed because as the series came to an end, it would seem one would deal with a more conventional setting. Number Six substitutes for a cricket batter who was blown up by a ball/bomb. He is about to receive the same fate but catches the ball, throws it in the air, and watches it explode. He is in a sort of gauntlet run, pursued by a girl named Death. She tries every manner of tortuous device, but he one-ups her at every turn. She finally assumes he is dead and returns to her Napoleon complex father. Number Six is at their house and manages to make life miserable for them. Other than the usual smokescreen of deception where anything goes and there seems to be enough money to accomplish it, it makes no sense until the last couple minutes, and even then, it's superfluous.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The Girl Who Was Sex

Author: Edmond_Bateman from United States
20 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My favorite episode is 'Living In Harmony', which is also unrepresentative of the series as a whole. I would have picked 'Many Happy Returns' as the 'Best of...' entry.

***Spoiler Alert!***

But this episode is a close second. Drinking twenty different shots of liquor as an antidote to poisoning...brilliant! Last month I got to see 'Deadlier Than the Male' and I knew I recognized the sexy Justine Lord. When I looked her up here, I knew why. She and Sue Lloyd ('The Ipcress File') are two of the British actresses who wouldn't be considered beautiful, but are nonetheless ravishing. And they have similar last names.

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