Various Artists ‎– The Prisoner [File #2] (Original Television Soundtrack)

5 out of 5

Label: Silva America

Produced by: David Stoner, James Fitzpatrick (re-release co-ordination)

As each of The Prisoner “Files” – episode-by-episode soundtracks – feature the (to me) famous start and end themes of the series, I guess you could own one and call it a day. The pattern remains the same for each of these: the mix of songs composed for the show alongside the featured library tunes, interspersed with choice dialogue. However, that would be the same as viewing one episode and calling it a day: the music of The Prisoner was a key component to its mysterious / compelling / thrilling / willfully weird vibe, and while, yes, each of these collections is wonderful on its own, they’re even better when considered as a chunk of an entire journey.

File #2 takes us through episode Free For All, The General, Many Happy Returns, Dance Of The Dead, Checkmate, Hammer Into Anvil, and A Change Of Mind. Those organizing these collections were incredibly skilled at choosing not only the best dialogue snippets – we get some truly classic lines, here – but also sprinkling them about at an appropriate pace, and keeping the conversations or quotes full enough to smile at their cleverness and get the gist, but short enough to not take us out of the swinging groove of the music, which often carries over the heartbeat energy of The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra’s rendition of the opening theme into pitchperfect cues blended with some head-bopping stylistic notes of the 60s, then juxtaposed against the pleasantries of the library tracks, for a soundtrack the absolutely captures the moods of the show. The pairing of all of this material, and its grounding in sort of cat-and-mouse themes, prevents the jazziness and shimmy-shaking bits from ever feeling overtly kitsch.

Definitely for fans of the show, but catchy and unique enough to grab a stray listener’s ear as well.