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Women's Prison (1955)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 451 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 11 critic

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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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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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

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

Taglines:

Inside the BIG HOUSE for women! (US insert) 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  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

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

 
She's suffering from a guilt complex that's close to madness.
1 December 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Women's Prison is directed by Lewis Seiler and jointly written by Jack DeWitt and Crane Wilbur. It stars Ida Lupino, Jan Sterling, Cleo Moore, Audrey Totter, Phyliss Thaxter, Howard Duff and Warren Stevens. Music is orchestrated by Mischa Bakaleinikoff and photography by Lester H. White.

Cheap but entertaining piece of prison shlock, Women's Prison gets in and simmers on the heat for an hour and ten minutes until the inevitable explosion for the finale. The standard roll call of prison staples adheres to formula, new fish who clearly doesn't belong, sassy good time gal, sadistic warden, beatings, emotional hell, sexual frustration and of course a riot! There's solid traces of psychological discord in the narrative, not least with Lupino's splendidly vile warden, who, because she can't function with men on the outside world, promptly vents her pent up frustrations on the female inmates. A nice addition to the plot is that it's a co-ed prison, the mens prison is but a bricked wall away from the girls. Cue a neat little thread of a lustful Warren Stevens popping next door for some fun time with his also incarcerated wife.

Problem with the film is its look. Mood is fine but this is one of the nicest, cleanest and airiest prisons seen in film! Isolation and claustrophobia are a key ingredients of a good prison film, but those feelings are missing here, with Lester White's photography hardly utilising the chances on offer. How the film has come to be regarded as a "prison noir" is a mystery, unless the mere presence of Lupino warrants it a place?! The steam press room scenes work well, and the tear gas finale is nicely realised, but mostly this is good because of some neat lady acting performances and the afore mentioned psychological smarts in the story. Also of interest is the play off between Lupino and Duff's kindly prison doctor, which since they were married (an on off marriage that would last for decades), carries with it a bit of spice as they jostle for the sanity of meek Helene Jensen (Thaxter).

Subtle as a sledgehammer but ever so enjoyable, Women's Prison just about deserves its cult classic status. 7/10


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