Women's Prison (1955)

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Life at a 1950s women's maximum security prison where the warden and the guards are as brutal as the inmates.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Amelia van Zandt
Brenda Martin
Cleo Moore ...
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
Don Jensen
Adelle August ...
Don C. Harvey ...
Chief Guard Tierney
Polyclinic 'Polly' Jones


During the 1950s, two women inmates are sent to a maximum security state prison. One of the two women is a repeat offender who knows many of the inmates and guards at the prison. She almost feels like returning home to her prison family. The other woman is a decent person, a first-time offender who's no criminal.She unintentionally killed a child in a car accident. She's very young, married, and is terrified of being in prison. Her mental state is very fragile. The women's prison is adjacent to the men's prison. The two prisons are separated by a high wall but there are secret ways of crossing from one prison into the other. Warden Brock is in charge of the men's prison while Amelia van Zandt is the heartless brutal director of the women's prison. The guards are severe and not very friendly, since, they too, fear the wrath of their female warden van Zandt. The only ray of hope and decency in this earthly inferno is the prison doctor, Dr. Crane. However, the good doctor has little ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


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Release Date:

February 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Femmes en prison  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Due to film's popularity in the 1980s, Sony Pictures released it in the boxed set Bad Girls of Film Noir: Volume II. See more »


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 »


Dr. Crane: She's suffering from a guilt complex that's close to madness.
See more »


Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Don't Chain Up The Gals Near To The Guys
27 August 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Ida Lupino and Howard Duff head a cast in a story about a Women's Prison. But these two who were married in real life at the time are hardly romantic leads in this film.

Ida plays the head of a female division of a state prison, the overall warden is Barry Kelley. The message the film is trying to give although the reason for it is pretty exotic is that boys will be boys and that women ought to be in a separate facility altogether. The main plot line of this film is convict Warren Stevens trying to get over to the women's division to see his wife Audrey Totter. Stevens's successful visits which get Totter pregnant get the whole thing crashing around Lupino's head.

It's all been done before, especially by some in this cast. Howard Duff was one of the convicts in Brute Force and there are definite elements of that film carrying over here. More so even than the classic Caged in which Jan Sterling also played the same kind of brassy dame who knows the ropes.

In Caged you'll remember the chief villain was the sadistic guard Harper played by Hope Emerson, the warden was the sympathetic Agnes Moorehead. Here the corruption stinks at the top where Lupino takes out her own unfulfilled life on the inmates. The entire cast performs remarkably well, especially Lupino and Sterling.

As for how it ends, if you've seen another Ida Lupino classic, They Drive By Night than you kind of know what happens to her. Still Women's Prison is worth seeing it again.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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