Thursday, January 15, 2009

World Travel loses its best employee

I don't ordinarily post a tribute when a particular actor, musician or writer passes away, and I don't ordinarily post about items we haven't actually received yet, but today I'm making an exception to both rules. Patrick McGoohan, the brooding actor best known for his portrayal of No. 6 in the British television series The Prisoner, died today in Santa Monica. Personally, I preferred his work in that show's predecessor, simply because there was a greater range of emotional settings. He could do comedy, romance, or adventure in the wonderful Cold War spy series Secret Agent, because every episode was a new story. In The Prisoner, he was always angry and frustrated and looking for a way to escape (although it's a testament to McGoohan's acting skills that he did manage to infuse a fair amount of nuance and humanity into the role).
If you would like to see another facet of McGoohan, you can watch The Quare Fellow (when it arrives and we get it cataloged). Based on a work by the famed Irish playwright Brendan Beehan, this 1962 film is a look at death row from the point of view of a new - and naive - prison guard Crimmin (McGoohan). You never actually see the person whose execution is the focal point of the story ('quare fellow' is slang for a condemned man), but his crime and his imminent state-sanctioned death strongly affects his fellow convicts and the guards. Crimmin slowly changes from an energetic law-and-order newcomer to a man troubled with his own involvement in capital punishment. A very moving story with a powerful performance by Patrick McGoohan...


Daniel said...

Thanks for sharing about Quare Fellow. I didn't know about that movie. I also enjoyed McGoohan's work in Danger Man. In fact, there might be a Netflix disc waiting for me.

I also liked his role in Ice Station Zebra.

Rainbird librarian said...

We have Ice Station Zebra here at the library as well, but I haven't seen it.
As for John Drake, I always found McGoohan made a much sexier spy than Sean Connery or Roger Moore, since he seemed to have that inner troubled soul and that half-grin.