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Terry, a social-climbing young woman accidentally gets caught up in the activities of two revolutionaries, Blossom and Django, and finds herself in a concentration camp for women. In the center of the camp is a towering wooden machine ("The Big Bird Cage") in which the women risk their lives processing sugar as the evil warden looks on. The prisoners are subjected to sadistic cruelty from the guards and fellow prisoners, and all attempts at escape are dealt with...permanently. Terry's only hope for escape lies in Blossom and her revolutionary allies. Written by
Jonathan Ruskin <JonRuskin@aol.com>
Writer / director Jack Hill follows up his Women In Prison classic "The Big Doll House" with this savvy send-up of the genre. It's fast paced and consistently amusing entertainment with everybody in fine form, including Hill and his winning actor combo of Pam Grier and Sid Haig. It's appropriately trashy stuff as we get an eyeful of our attractive female cast members and get generous doses of sex and violence.
The stunning Anitra Ford ("Invasion of the Bee Girls") stars as Terry, a promiscuous young woman who's been with some important men. She gets caught up in a robbery staged by Blossom (Grier) and Django (Haig), and is assumed to be in on the whole thing and sent to prison - a typical prison for this sort of thing with sadistic guards and a maniacal warden (Andres Centenera) and a towering wooden structure (the "big bird cage" of the title) in which the prisoners are forced to risk their lives as they process sugar. Soon, however, Blossom and Django infiltrate the prison in an ambitious attempt to help the convicts break out.
This is highly enjoyable stuff, and the sense of humour helps make it go down very easily. The actors are a treat to watch, especially sassy and sexy Grier and the always entertaining Haig. The ladies playing the prisoners include Candice Roman as the tough talking Carla, Teda Bracci as comedy relief character "Bull" Jones, Carol Speed as the feisty Mickie, and Karen McKevic as the Amazonian fighter Karen. Lovers of Filipino cinema will also relish the appearance by Vic Diaz (a very familiar face in this sort of thing) as one of the guards.
Hill and his editors keep the movie moving along nicely, and building towards the inevitable big breakout sequence which is wonderfully rousing. Our hottie inmates are people we can root for while we also enjoy hating the villains. Along the way there's time for mud wrestling and some great laughs as Haig pretends to be gay in order to get close to the guards. The most ridiculous but riotous scene has McKevic smearing chicken fat over her naked body so she can slip past people in order to get her hands on Speed, who's been teasing her.
All in all, this is a real hoot of a movie, and a refreshing artifact from a time when filmmakers weren't about to worry about being politically correct. Highly recommended to anybody who loves Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Jack Hill, and Women In Prison pictures in general.
Eight out of 10.
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