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Jeff is sent to a woman prison, after being caught carrying heroine
that belonged to her crime figure boyfriend Rudy. He asks her to keep
her mouth shut and would try his best to get her out, but unknowingly
to her he has other plans. When she arrives at the prison to do her
time, she must face a tyrant of a head warden, Alabama who has a thing
against American woman and a sadistic torture chamber of the dark ages
called "the playpen" for certain troublemakers.
We all know the formula by now for cheap drive-in WIP features, I take it? Wrongly accused woman. Hard labourers work in the fields. Out-of-control cat-fights. Mass showering. Suffering at the hands of the head warden. Harsh terrain surrounding the prison to make it hard to escape. A gusty prison break. And finally those corrupted individuals get their up and comings. So basically the heat is on in the banana republic.
"Woman In Cages" is another quick, cheaply done Corman production, but this time Jack Hill didn't hold the helm. Instead Gerry De Leon was in the director's chair and he brought to the table a real mean-spirited and quite gloomy Philippine WIP affair. His conventional direction might lack style and cracking energy, but it's balanced out by its intrusive grittiness. The story by James H. Watkins and David R. Osterhout is rather straightforward with little lead way in its same-old-same-old actions and plodding moments, but plenty of sour and quite outlandish moments do occur. The moral card of injustice that leaks its way in comes off as quite silly and lazy. While, there's some slight wit evident, it just seems to get derailed. It mainly concentrates on the unpleasantness and sleazy nature that's drilled in constantly. In the long run these scenes might be effectively crude, but personality does lose out to this rough shtick that really does dry up proceedings. The characters don't feel as dominating; say in "The Big Doll House". Some of the actresses of that film do turn up here. Pam Grier plays the nihilistic lesbian head prison guard with such venom, but this hard-boiled devil woman glow does take away from her energetic persona. The crackling stunner Roberta Collins is in fine form as the on edge drug addict and the gorgeously biting Judith M. Brown also appears. Jennifer Gan was decent in the lead role of the glassily clueless Jeff. Music director Tito Arevalo provides a smoking; on-the-ball soundtrack and Felipe Sacdalan's cinematography methods are unsparingly grounded.
Not one of the best of the sub-genre, but well worth a look for the fans for some glorified badass whipping in this mostly dour WIP outing.
American B-film companies found in the Philippines a cheap, plentiful
of labour and locations for their tropical drive-in sleazefests.
these exploitation films are an acquired taste and a dubious form of
entertainment; however they mark an important cultural milestone as the
first features where a black actress, even playing a prison moll or
revolutionary, is given a lead role of any substance. Director Jack Hill
started the eightball rolling when he shot The Big Doll House in 1971, set
in a nameless Latin American prison but filmed in the Filipino jungle.
Unseen in Australia since the early 70s, the film featured a mixed cast of
local and American exploitation regulars, but it's remembered as the first
high-profile role for the later Queen of Blaxploitation, Pam
Legend has it that Sam Arkoff, head of American International Pictures saw a statuesque Grier at his company switchboard and cast her on the spot for her breakthrough hit Coffy. That, as they say, is bull shee-it. The former beauty queen made her film debut in 1970 as an extra in Russ Meyer's big breast bonanza Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, and appeared in a number of B-pics shot in the Philippines the following year for AiP's rival company, Roger Corman's New World Pictures. Alongside her role as the tough-as-nails prostitute in Big Doll House were supports in the horror flick The Twilight People and as a topless hooker (again!) in Cool Breeze, then back behind bars for Women In Cages.
In Women In Cages, Grier plays the sadistic warden for once, a pot-smoking lesbian with a fully-equipped torture chamber (including a guillotine!). The 'New Fish' (a recent inmate, for you prison film novices), a ditzy blonde ex-stripper called Alabama, has taken the heroin possession rap for her pimp boyfriend. She knows too much, so the pimp blackmails her cellmates to execute her. A competent and well-shot entry in the tropical prison genre from Filipino director Gerry De Leon, it places the embittered ex-addict and prostitute Grier in the position of slave owner, watching her white charges toiling away in the plantation with obvious ironic glee.
Women in Cages is yet another sleazy women in prison film from the same people that brought us classics such as The Big Doll House and The Big Bird Cage. This film is nowhere near as good as those two, but it's still an entertaining effort that fans of this sort of trash will surely appreciate. The plot is just your general women in prison sort of story and, naturally, focuses on a bunch of women inside a women's prison. One in particular has been sent to jail after being set up by her boyfriend; meanwhile, another prisoner has been given the task of murdering said unfortunate prisoner. There's also an escape attempt being plotted. This women in prison film stands apart from many of the others simply because it stars Pam Grier in the role of a guard rather than a prisoner. Naturally, she steps into this role well and plays the antagonist with relish. Unfortunately, there's no role for Sid Haig in this one. The film is directed by Gerardo de Leon, and regrettably he doesn't have the same flair as Jack Hill and the film does fall a little flat in that respect. However, it's still decent enough entertainment and at about seventy five minutes, it doesn't outstay its welcome either. Worth a look.
"Women in Cages" reunites the three main cast members of "The Big Doll House" (Pam Grier, Roberta Collins, Judy Brown), but the results suffer from a massive downgrade in quality. Roberta once again steals the show, as she is three times the looker AND the actress that anyone else in the film is. Sometimes I had to pause the tape just to look at her amazing face. She has one great catfight here, but (sadly) she does no arm-twisting this time. Pam Grier is too young for her role and comes across as wooden, and the main lead is forgettable. The film has its moments, but it's mostly dreary and unpleasant. If it weren't for Roberta, I'd say just forget about it. (**)
For those viewers who are accustomed to cheering on the antics of cult actress Pam Grier on screen, her character in 1972's "Women in Cages" may come as something of a surprise. Far from her bodacious, sympathetic action heroine, she here plays as nasty a personage as can be imagined: a pot-smoking, white race-hating, lesbian sadist from Harlem named Alabama, who is the matron in an exceptionally sleazy Filipino prison for women. Fans of this type of film--a subgenre that includes other New World films such as "The Big Doll House" ('71) and "The Big Bird Cage" ('72), both with Grier--know what to expect from such: nude shower scenes, sadistic but lovely prison guards, a handful of gorgeous inmates and over-the-top action sequences. While not as much fun as the other two films just named, "Women in Cages" does still provide the requisite goods, and Pam stakes her claim to be placed in the pantheon of such classic female jailers as Dyanne Thorne in the "Ilsa" films, Barbara Steele as the crippled warden in "Caged Heat" ('74), and my favorite, the grotesque matron that Hope Emerson plays in "Caged" ('50). In addition to Pam, the film boasts the presence of cult favorite Roberta Collins, as a smack-addicted rat fink; several catfights; vermin (of the snake, rat, leech and Filipino bounty hunter/rapist varieties); torture by fire, whip, rack, wheel and electricity; AND an oceangoing brothel. Though I still prefer the underrated Grier films "The Arena" ('73) and especially "Black Mama, White Mama" ('72) to this one, "Women in Cages" still proved an entertaining diversion.
There have been a lot of movies with the theme of beautiful women being
locked in prison and abused by the warden. This film is a classic example
of that theme.
Pam Grier, the black movie queen of 1970's "B" movies, is the sadistic warden of a women's prison in a foreign country. Two of the prisoners attract her attention - a hot-blooded redhead, and the prison-informant blonde. The redhead is in prison on charges of murdering her husband. I can't remember why the blonde is in prison, but then that doesn't really matter in the film anyway. Let's just say that the redhead and the blonde don't get along, and the warden utilizes her own distinct form of justice when they get into a fight.
The redhead is taken into the warden's "play room", stripped naked (we only see the upper half), has her arms pulled up over her head and is then locked into some boots, which are then slowly cranked apart to spread her legs wide. A brazier's flame covers her modesty for most of this scene, as the warden taunts her a bit and then pushes the brazier forward - "This is our version of the hotfoot!". Cut to a scene of the women working in the field as the redhead's screams echo through the prison walls.
Later on there's a prison riot and the blonde irks the warden. To punish her, the warden strips the blonde (this time a restraint strap covers the actress' modesty) and binds the prisoner to a wheel and spins her around. After a few rotations, the warden tries to taunt the blonde into submission, but instead of surrendering, the blonde spits into the warden's face. In retaliation, the warden pulls out a trident and stabs the blonde as she's spun on the wheel some more.
Eventually the blonde and redhead team up and escape from the prison, and are pursued by the warden and her guards. The prisoners kill off the guards, capture the warden, and leave her tied to a tree as they flee to freedom.
The movie is worth seeing if you like women-in-prison films. Not much gore, and the only nude scenes are the ones described above, but what's there is worth a late-night or afternoon screening. People probably won't think of you as a cinematic genius, but what do you expect for a 1970's prison film?
American women prisoners in a foreign country. Sex and action.
From producer Roger Corman, and starring Pam Grier as Alabama, we have a story of various women who are locked up in a foreign country (I believe the Philippines). Yes, there are the "women in prison" motifs, such as the showers -- and you might see plenty of nudity. But the film is hardly sexual, as it is so raw and gritty. This is the type of nudity you get from National Geographic.
Pretty much the best thing about this film is seeing Pam Grier kick a little butt, get her butt kicked, and then kick a little more butt. She is one of the early modern strong females in film, and there is no denying her power on screen.
If I recall correctly, Pam Grier appears in about four women-in-prison
films on both sides of the bars. In this film, she is the Chief Matron,
and not a nice person at all.
This was one of the last films for director Gerardo de Leon, the most- awarded director in the history of the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Science.
It also features Judith Brown and Roberta Collins, who both appeared in several women-in-prison films.
In an uncredited role, you see Sofia Moran, a Philippine action star, who became their 13th President.
Torture, showers, crawling through the sewer (Yech!) and boobage.
Recently seen this film, and although I would rate this as a better than
average "B" movie, the plot was good. I was compelled to sympathize with
prisoners and wanted desperately for the four main characters (women
prisoners) to escape.
I would like to comment on an actress who portrayed Teresa in the film, played by Philippine actress Sofia Moran. I felt that she played the role wonderfully and was sympathetic to her character as a victim of the Warden (Pam Grier). I am surprised that she is not even 'Billed" in the opening credits as I felt that she is one of the main characters and provided us with a polished character portrayal compared to the other 3 main characters in "Women in Cages".
Overall I can state that this movie rates as one of the "better" films of this genre and "women in prison films" to date.
On of the best early 70s exploitation women in prison flicks.
The production values are as high as the nudity quotient.
It seems like every 3 seconds some hot chick is pulling her clothes off and getting tortured for no reason other than to entertain us.
And then there's Pam Grier. She was quite the hottie in her day.
Move over Lindsay Lohan....this movie shows the original Fire Crotch!
Carol Jeffries (known as 'Jeff') is a naive American woman staying in the Philippines.
She is given ten years in prison after being set up by her drug-dealer boyfriend, Rudy.
She endures the harsh conditions, sadistic head matron and attempts on her life, then convinces her cell-mates to try to escape with her through the jungle, in spite of the knowledge that ruthless trackers will be sent out after them.
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