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Women's Prison (1955)

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Title: Women's Prison (1955)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Amelia van Zandt
...
Brenda Martin
Cleo Moore ...
Mae
Audrey Totter ...
Joan Burton
...
Helene Jensen
...
Dr. Crane
...
Glen Burton
Barry Kelley ...
Warden Brock
Gertrude Michael ...
Chief Matron Sturgess
Vivian Marshall ...
Dottie LaRose
...
Matron Saunders
Ross Elliott ...
Don Jensen
Adelle August ...
Grace
Don C. Harvey ...
Chief Guard Tierney
...
Polyclinic 'Polly' Jones
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Storyline

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Taglines:

DRAMATIC-SHOCKER! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

February 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Femmes en prison  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

During a sequence showing concurrent events at a co-ed prison (men on one side of wall, women on the other), the women are seen in the yard in sunny weather with short-sleeved uniforms, while the men's side is rainy, with prisoners in heavy coats. See more »

Quotes

Brenda Martin: You won't like it at first, but when you get used to it, you'll really hate it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fright Night Part 2 (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ida Lupino and Nearly Every Bad Girl Movie Star in Hollywood
17 February 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Dismissed by the critics at the time of it's release as a mediocre copy of 1950's prestigious "women's prison" drama CAGED, 1955's WOMEN'S PRISON has eclipsed that Oscar-nominated movie at least in terms of latter-day fame and as a iconic piece of 1950's Hollywood. The movie, more sensational and lurid than it's predecessor, opened the door for countless low-budget "women in prison" films in subsequent decades, most of which had characters more than a little similar to the ladies on display here. Clearly when it comes to babes behind bars pix, the public at large prefers bad sexy chicks on the rampage than a serious study of the prison system.

That's not to say WOMEN'S PRISON isn't a fairly terrific movie - it is, with a sensational performance as Ida Lupino as the coolly professional yet sadistic lady prison warden Amelia Van Zant. Ms. Lupino may have appeared in a number of classier films but she rarely had such an iconic role as she does here and she's superb. There aren't many actresses who would choose to underplay such a malevolent character as Lupino does; one could well imagine some of her contemporaries making Amelia a fire-breathing dragon from scene one.

Lupino is joined by a cast that includes virtually every "bad girl" actress of the era as one of the inmates - Jan Sterling, Cleo Moore, Audrey Totter, and even (most deliciously) the casting of erstwhile 1930's "bad girls" Mae Clarke and Gertrude Michael as prison matrons. There's also perpetually sweet Phyllis Thaxter as the "new fish in the aquarium", serving one to ten years for vehicle manslaughter when she killed a young child. Already traumatized by the incident by the time she arrives at prison, meek little Phyllis is no match for Lupino's sadistic set-up at the prison which only makes things worse for her. Audrey Totter, often quite the bad girl in other movies, is another inmate who is more sinned against than sinner, innocent but jailed as an accessory to her husband's theft. Indeed, it's a bit incredible that none of the inmates seems to be remotely a person of violence or immorality - friendly floozy Jan Sterling is in the slammer for writing a bad check!! The whole cast is quite good and Sterling is excellent as basically the leader of the girls. Mae Clarke does very well in one her larger roles post-1940; on the other hand, the always appealing Cleo Moore is wasted in a rather thin smallish role as one of the inmates, a comic part as a Southern blonde bombshell. Vivian Marshall, an actress with only a handful of credits (most of them unbilled bits) comes close to stealing the picture as the inmate whose gift for mimicry (check out her fantastic burlesques of Bette Davis and Tallulah Bankhead) comes in handy when the women revolt. Overwrought it may be but WOMEN'S PRISON deserves it's status as a cult film with terrific performances and it's melodrama smoothly handled by underrated director Lewis Seiler.


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Pure garbage....and I loved every minute of it. apriceaboverubies29
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