The music heard on the classic late-'60s television program The Prisoner was, like all other aspects of the series, of a much higher standard than that employed in regular TV shows, adding a great deal to the uneasy mystery of the stories and images (even if it turns out that much of it was not written specifically for the show, but taken from the Chappell Recorded Music Production Library). Music from the soundtracks to the program's 17 episodes has been available on other releases prior to the release of the three-part "The Prisoner -- File" series of CDs. However, this series may be the best presentation of music from The Prisoner, as it spreads almost three hours of music over its volumes, sequenced in the same order as the episodes were broadcast. Too, the sound quality is very good, as is the annotation, with profiles of the various men behind the program's music, even if it disappointingly doesn't say who the guitarist was behind the classic spiky spy music guitar licks of the series' theme. The highlights of The Prisoner -- File #1, unsurprisingly, are the two versions of that great theme song, presented in the rendition that played over the opening titles and the different, briefer one that played over the end titles. The rest is frankly variable, simply because some bits that served specific purposes to the episodes' plot don't make for interesting listening on their own (particularly the brassy military-style music played by the band in "the Village" in which the program was set). Yet there are some surprisingly nifty and diverse musical backgrounds that not only benefited the specific episodes, but make for entertaining listening in their own right, like the dreamy Muzak of "Number 6 in the Cottage"; the ultra-cool spy-jazz of "Helicopter Escape"; and the sedate a classical guitar of "Village Curfew." As in the other two volumes, there are occasional brief excerpts of dialogue from the series as well.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger