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This is NOT a film that would ever be mistaken for an episode of "Masterpiece Theater"! In fact, in many ways it's a sensationalistic piece of junk...but also a very well-made and entertaining piece of junk! In the 1950s, there were a ton of women in prison films and this might just rank among the best. Part of the reason for this being better than average is the excellent cast. Ida Lupino is a treat to watch as a sadistic warden who is more screwed up and vile than the inmates! And, among the inmates are such colorful dames as Jan Sterling, Cleo Moore, Audrey Totter and Phyllis Thaxter.
The film begins with a lady (Thaxter) being sent to lady for accidentally killing a child due to her negligent driving. Thaxter is emotionally fragile and the prison doctor is concerned about her. However, the warden is insistent that Thaxter be broken just like the rest of the prisoners and pushes the woman to a mental breakdown. In fact, throughout the film Lupino pushes the prisoners to near-riot and she seems to have people skills that would make Attila the Hun seem like a member of the Peace Corps by comparison! There's a lot more to the film--but I don't want to spoil the suspense.
The bottom line is that the film is highly entertaining by being unapologetically loud and over the top. Sensational but far from subtle--this is a great guilty pleasure.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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