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 »


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


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

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User Reviews

Were Taking Over This Joint!
15 January 2006 | by (Brooklyn NY USA) – See all my reviews

(There may be Spoilers) Prison drama set in a woman's prison where the head superintendent Amelia Van Zandt, Ida Lupino,is far more dangerous to the inmates as well as the prison staff then the most hardened criminals in there.

Constantly having the women under her control beaten and abused, which Amelia herself is very found of doing, creates a climate of terror in he clink that erupts into a full-scale prison riot at the end of the movie. We first get to see Amelia in action as soon as the movie "Women's Prison" starts with her handling of new prisoner Helene Jensen, Phillis Thaxter. Helene convicted of manslaughter, she ran over a little girl, is put into isolation and by the next day is almost dead from shock. This despite the objections by the prison doctor Crane, Howard Duff,that keeping Helene in a cell by herself for any period of time may well kill her.

The women's prison being connected to a mans prison is also causing problems with prisoner Glen Burton,Warren Stevens, sneaking into the women's lockup and having, among other things, conjugal relations with his wife who's a prisoner like himself Joan, Audrey Tottor, that leads to her becoming pregnant.With the news of Joan's pregnancy hitting Warden Block, Barry Kelly, like a lighting bolt he has Women Superintendent Amelia Van Zandt put on the carpet. Warden Block warns her that if she doesn't find out how Joan's husband Glen, it seems obvious to everyone that he's the baby's father,got into the women's section of the prison she'll be out of a job.

Amelia now in a panic of losing her job as head of the women's prison has poor Joan, who doesn't know how Glen got into the women's prison, beaten and tortured to the point where she lapse into a coma. Dr. Crane finding out what was happening to Joan has both Amelia and Warden Block put on notice that he'll report them to higher ups by, if Joan passes away, signing Joan Burton's death certificate with the cause of her death being murder. Thing quickly start to get out of hand when the women prisoners lead by Joan's friend and cell-mate Brenda, Jan Sterling, start a hunger strike over the treatment Joan got from Amelia and that leads to a prison takeover by the women prisoners with Amelia taken hostage.

Glen again breaking into the womens wing of the prison finds his wife in the hospital ward on life-support being attended by Dr. Crane. After Joan tells Glen she'll be waiting for him, no matter how long it takes with their child, to greet him when he's finally released from prison she suddenly passes away! That drives Glen into a mad frenzy pulling out a gun and going looking for his wife's murder the universally, by now everyone in the movie, hated Superintendent Amelia Van Zandt.

Wild shootout with Glen braving bullets and tear gas canisters to get to Amelia and meet out justice for what she did to his wife Joan. Amelia is save by Dr. Crane from being beaten and shot to death by the women inmates and Glen, who's himself shot by the prison guards. You can see by now that Amelia's mind already snapped and she's to end up in a straight-jacket and padded cell like many of the women prisoners she put under the same conditions due to her sadistic and hateful dislike of the women that she was in charge of.

It later turned out that Amlia's inhuman actions were the result of her not being able to attract any man, even though she was very attractive, to marry her because of her rottenness and unbalanced and overly suspicious mindset.

9 of 12 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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