Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling is a loud art-rock duo from Boston that creates spy-themed music. Their first project is recording 17 songs, each inspired by an episode of the original The Prisoner series. They found it hard to narrow down their film list to 10, as they love many directors and endless B-movies, but they tried to pick films that well represented the genres that they most often enjoy. Despite the fact that they’ve seen hundreds of spy films (including every James Bond film) no spy movies made the cut! They arranged their choices chronologically. To find out more about Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, visit their website.
1- The Big Sleep (1946)
In addition to being unbelievably clever and quotable, this is the quintessential film noir, and the most famous pairing of Bogart, the archetypal hard-boiled hero, and Bacall, the sassy and untamable woman. It’s smoky and stylish, and the plot is wonderfully complex. The filmmakers even managed to sneak taboo subtexts about pornography and homosexuality past the censors.
2- Rope (1948)
We are very big Hitchcock fans and it was very difficult to pick a single film to represent the unsurpassed master of film tension. The tagline from Rope – ‘It begins with a shriek…it ends with a shot.’ – was our original band name and remains the title of our blog. The Grand Guignol Rope, a film version of the play based on the true story of child murderers Leopold and Loeb, implicitly explores the dynamics of a homosexual pair obsessed with transcending morality Ã la Nietzsche’s Ãœbermensch via the commission of a perfect crime.
3- Harvey (1950)
Jimmy Stewart is very heart-warming as a happy-go-lucky, head-in-the-clouds fellow whose best friend Harvey is a pooka – a six-foot, eight-inch, bunny-like creature. The movie makes us want to invite everyone we meet to dinner.
4- High Noon (1952)
The theme from High Noon was the source of the Prisoner episode entitled ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’, which in turn we chose as our band moniker. While technically a Western, the real-time film is a wonderful essay on honour, moral obligation, fear, and the unstoppable march of time towards the
inevitable confrontation with death.
5- Barbarella (1968)
The absolute best blend of sci-fi camp and 60s sexual revolution. The movie’s characters traipse around the galaxy carrying bizarre props through imaginative settings with absolutely brilliant sound design. It contains carnivorous dolls, a musical instrument that produces deadly orgasms, a blind angel, and a death ray. When preparing for our photo shoot, Sophia gave the make-up artist a photo of Jane Fonda as Barbarella for reference.
6- Vanishing Point (1971)
This subtle car-chase film delicately unravels an allegorical race of individuality and rebellion against inevitable capture and integration. Many of the same themes in Vanishing Point (and High Noon) are also present in The Prisoner and have inspired our songs.
7- Deathrace 2000 (1975)
Arguably the best of the Roger Corman classics – a difficult title to win in our view. Deathrace is an early role for Sly Stallone, one of Sophia’s favourites, and features David Carradine in peak form as the horribly deformed hero Frankenstein. The film focuses on society’s fascination with real death and destruction and serves as a commentary against reality television, years before it even became a… reality.
8- Boy and his Dog (1975)
This B-movie starring Don Johnson makes this list because it has the best, most unexpected ending in any movie ever. We get unlimited joy from just telling people the plot of this film: Don Johnson trots around a post-apocalyptic world telepathically communicating with his dog, whose primary purpose is to sniff out
women. Don is tricked by one of his dog-sighted conquests into entering an underground world that is a recreation of Topeka, Kansas.
9- City of Lost Children (1995)
This French film is perhaps the finest steam-punk story ever told. The dark world is crafted in the perfect combination of black and green to be timeless, and the oddball characters are right out of a circus sideshow. It is the perfect combination of sci-fi, fantasy, and surrealism with a wonderfully simple, but layered plot.
10- Primer (2004)
This mega-brainy, sci-fi, time-travel movie was made on a tiny budget and still manages to be the best sci-fi film in a long, long time. Wonderfully dense and complex, it is absolutely impossible to unravel in a single viewing – or really even 10 viewings. Slow and delicately paced, but really worth the attention.
Read Alex Fitch and Andrew Cartmel’s discussion of The Prisoner in the winter 09 issue of Electric Sheep, which looks at what makes a cinematic outlaw: read about the misdeeds of low-life gangsters, gentlemen thieves, deadly females, modern terrorists, cop killers and vigilantes, bikers and banned filmmakers. Also in this issue: interview with John Hillcoat about his adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, the art of Polish posters according to Andrzej Klimowski and noir comic strips! And look out for our special Prisoner podcast coming soon!