Drama about a young woman, Erica, who is wrongly implicated in a crime and sent to prison for five years, where she faces deplorable conditions. With the aid of the warden, she sets out to prove her innocence.
Sentenced to 5 years in prison, Erica Hayden is most worried about her unborn child's future. At this prison, they allow the women to keep their children until age 3 but at that point they must be given to a friend or relative outside the prison or surrendered to State authorities who will arrange an adoption. She tries desperately to find someone and the prison doctor even tries to help her out. One person who isn't keen on the arrangement is the new prison warden, Frank Cole, who thinks prison is no place for young children. Her only hope is that she will get parole after three years but when it's refused and her child is taken away without even giving her the chance to say goodbye, the women stage a riot. Written by
Although a running subplot involves two inmates arguing over the heartthrob merits of Troy Donahue (then a Warners contract player), during an outdoor scene in the prison yard Donahue's name has clearly been dubbed over the women saying a different name, suggesting the exterior was shot first and the decision to use Donahue's name a later idea integrated during interior shooting. See more »
HOUSE OF WOMEN is an ultra-rarity in its own sub-genre, the Women's Prison Picture. It's not on the high artistic level of CAGED (1950), nor does it have the dramatic conviction of WOMEN'S PRISON (1955). Yet this film is more than worth seeing for its dynamic cast and several scenes of high, over-the-top melodrama. The great Shirley Knight was near the start of her career and she is sympathetic enough to involve viewers with her story. The rest of the cast features several nearly forgotten, but very talented actresses: Virginia Gregg, Jeanne Cooper, Barbara Nichols and another great, Constance Ford. Ford resists most opportunities to chew scenery, but she delivers a strongly entertaining performance. Also look for the still-acting-today Jacqueline Scott in a small role. On the male side, Andrew Duggan and Jason Evers do as well as could be expected in this female-dominated environment. Is HOUSE OF WOMEN camp? Well, maybe a tiny bit. But it's a must-see for fans of this sub-genre.
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