The young, naive Smitty is sent to prison for six months; Cathy, his girlfriend, watches as he disappears behind the bars and barbed wire. He's assigned a cell with Queenie, a balls-out ... See full summary »
The young, naive Smitty is sent to prison for six months; Cathy, his girlfriend, watches as he disappears behind the bars and barbed wire. He's assigned a cell with Queenie, a balls-out drag queen, Rocky, a quiet but cocky con, and Mona, a young gay man who ministers to Rocky. Smitty watches in horror as gangs of inmates brutalize prisoners who lack protection. Those who complain risk beatings or murder at the hands of unsympathetic guards: all cries are bootless. Mona offers poetry - Shakespeare's sonnet XXIX; Queenie and Rocky offer Smitty advice, and Rocky offers protection for a price. Smitty's choices and their consequences are the film's main subjects. Written by
Smitty (Burton) goes to prison and realize that it place where inmates set each other up, and also a place where there is no women, so a weak prisoners are forced to be sex slaves for tougher prisoners. He shares a cell with a drag queen name Queenie (Greer) and a tough Christian Slater type name Rocky (Hall). Smitty becomes friends with Rocky, not knowing that Rocky wants Smitty to be his lover. Crisp dialogue, well edited scenes, make this film very shocking for 1971. Hall is a standout as Rocky and gives a very icey performance that makes me wonder why he didn't become a big star playing villians in films (only other big work he did was 99 44/100% DEAD in 1974). Burton and Greer is also good, as Burton does a fine job projecting a innocent kid who keep looking at his picture of his girlfriend, knowing life isn't going to be same. Canadian actor Danny Freedman is also effective at the end scene that is another shocker. Don't see this film if you are offended or scared of the subject. But I think it's one of the best film of the 70's. Highly Recommended.
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