Watch The Prisoner
- 1 hr 31 min
The Prisoner is a 1955 British drama film directed by Peter Glenville, and starring Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, and Wilfrid Lawson. The film explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the nature of freedom, set against the backdrop of a small island community in post-World War II Europe. The plot revolves around the arrival of a new resident, Number Six (Guinness), on an island that is home to a prison for political dissidents. Number Six is a former government agent who has voluntarily given himself up to authorities, in order to protect the identity of his former colleagues. His fellow inmates, led by a charismatic and ruthless former journalist named Number Two (Hawkins), are suspicious of Number Six's motives and begin to interrogate him in order to ascertain his true allegiance. Despite his initial reluctance to engage with his captors, Number Six finds himself drawn into a web of intrigue and double-crossing as he struggles to maintain his loyalty to his former colleagues while also avoiding the violent reprisals of his fellow inmates. Along the way, he must negotiate a shadowy world of spies, informants, and secret agendas, all while trying to keep his true identity hidden from those around him. Guinness gives a memorable performance as the enigmatic Number Six, conveying both his steely determination and his inner turmoil with a subtle and nuanced performance. The actor reportedly took inspiration from his experiences as a spy during World War II, and his knowledge of undercover work shines through in his portrayal of the character. Hawkins provides strong support as the manipulative and sadistic Number Two, whose relentless pursuit of Number Six drives much of the film's tension. Lawson is also excellent in a supporting role as a former military officer who has been reduced to working as a night watchman at the prison. The film's stark black-and-white cinematography, by Georges PÃ©rinal, adds to the psychological tension of the story, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere that heightens the sense of unease and uncertainty that pervades the film. The sparse, minimalist score by Richard Rodney Bennett also contributes to the film's moody and atmospheric tone, providing a haunting backdrop to the proceedings. Overall, The Prisoner is a tense and gripping drama that explores complex themes with nuance and subtlety. It is a testament to the talents of its director, cast, and crew, and remains a classic of British cinema to this day.