New meat enters the big house, in the shape of Collier and she learns that it won't be an easy walk in the park. Grear, Alcott, Bodine, Harad and Ferina welcome her to the rough and tumble endurance of prison life and the importance of holding your own to stay alive. Be it, from your inmates or that of their sadistic prison warden named Miss Diestrich. Then there are two peddlers, Harry and Fred who play off the inmates to get what they want.
Roger Corman sent out exploitation director Jack Hill to the Banana republic (Philippines) with very little money, but on-hand he had a group of stunning women to work with. Though, to Corman's surprise, the end result was nothing but phenomenal, since it did extremely well with moviegoers. Its been done before, but this old hat Women-In-Prison concept for "Big Doll House" became revolutionary by giving it an ounce of fresh treatment (or maybe it was just great timing) that simply appealed to the drive-in audience to ensure the genre would erupt again.
Hill's film is quite watered-down for a WIP exploitation feature (compared to its European cousins), but there are enough nitty, gritty elements involving random drug abuse, sadistic torture, and sexual antics, pumping gunfights and wild cat fights in a very energetic pattern. Production-wise, it's very solid for a meagre budget with it drumming in with a saucy score (and also Pam Grier's tantalisingly, groovy title song) and workman-like camera-work that had a great eye to detail. The bang-up story mainly focuses on a group of well-rounded and strong willed, firebrands who are not easy pushovers. Where they're trying to keep their spirit, pride and dignity in tack. A nice dash of snappy humour is worked into the salty dialogues and fiery language. There are some silly aspects, but it does bust out surprises, spontaneous inventions and comic relief, thanks largely to the minor turn by the charismatic character actor Sid Haig. But it was the memorable Pam Grier's steamily, spruced performance that steals every frame. She was the full package and afterwards would go on to be a true Blaxploitation star. Although, the attractively biting Roberta Collins holds her own quite well and Judy Brown, Pat Woodell and Brooke Mills add to the unique, spicy ensemble. Kathryn Loder performance makes headway too, as the stern and lean prison warden. Director Jack Hill's hardened direction is extremely sturdy and he keeps a quick rapid throughout.
An American WIP exploitation flick that keeps it rather tasteful, but still highly entertaining b-grade material with a well-fitted cast.
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