Riot in a Women's Prison (1974) Poster

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6/10
A passable movie with great moments.
Scott LeBrun24 June 2013
It seems a shame to describe any Women In Prison picture as "tedious", but this Italian production just fails to be that interesting for its first half. It takes a while to get to any rioting that's going to be done. Fortunately, along the way there are choice scenes that lovers of cinematic trash will adore. They just have to wade through a lot of talk to get to them. This wouldn't be so bad if the movie weren't so horribly dubbed, though: the dialogue is pretty hard to make out at times (not that aficionados of this sort of thing would really care about dialogue).

Performances are mostly adequate in this tale of French tourist Martine Fresienne (Martine Brochard), vacationing in Italy, who just happens to be present when cops bust a bunch of hippies. As it happens, some drugs are planted on Martine, so she's busted with the rest of them and sent to prison - a typical enough prison for W.I.P. fare. Martine makes the acquaintance of Susan (Marilu Tolo), a loud, aggressive inmate who's the kind of person who makes things happen.

If you've read this far, you'll be pleased to know that the movie delivers what you could expect, including an extended shower scene. There's plenty of bare female flesh to admire, always extremely important for the genre. The highlights of the movie include an inmate pleasuring herself in the shower, Susan doing the same in the yard in order to tease a guard, the supreme embarrassment of a hot young nun (Cristina Galbo), the strip tease performed by Isabelle (Isabelle De Valvert), and a rather poetically done lesbian sex scene. With things like this going on, it's understandable that the viewers aren't going to care a whole lot about the story. The standout among the actresses is striking brunette Tolo, who comes complete with a particularly bad dubbing job.

Running a mere 81 minutes, this obviously pretty obscure movie has been resurrected on DVD by the grindhouse collection started by Charles Bands' Full Moon company. Completists will definitely want to give it a look.

Six out of 10.
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OK but atrociously dubbed Italian WIP flick
lazarillo26 February 2009
The Italians are famous for jumping on bandwagons, but it took them a little while (really until the 1980's) to jump on the WIP (women in prison) movie bandwagon in earnest. The 1970's Italian-made WIP films were few and far between and didn't really achieve either the action of of US-Filipino versions or the unmitigated sleaze of the Jess Franco ones (they were also overshadowed by the far more sleazy Italian "Nazi sexploitation" films of the era). The 1970's Italian WIP films usually weren't pure WIP films. "Women in Cellblock 7" is more of a Italian crime thriller. "Escape from a Woman's Prison" is more of hostage drama or a "terror" film. And this is partly a "nunsploitation" film since all the jailers here are nuns for some reason.

Martine Brochard is the "new fish". Of course as usual, she is innocent. (In the most ridiculous circumstances ever to befall one of these heroines, she is touring some caves with a girlfriend and they run into a group of dope-smoking hippies just as the police are raiding them). Marilu Tolo is her tough lesbian cellmate. She is pretty miscast here, and the "Guys and Dolls" accent the English-language dubbers give her REALLY doesn't help. Katia Christian and Erna Schurer play some of the other prisoners, here to do what they do best (shower scenes, masturbation scenes, lesbian scenes etc.). Cristina Galbo plays a young nun who gets her habit torn off during a riot in the most hilariously gratuitous scene in this generally gratuitous film.

I saw this on a dub of a Venezuelan videotape. Needless to say it looked awful, but far worse was the atrocious English dubbing (even though it's my second language I finally had to turn the sound down and just read the Spanish subtitles). On the plus side it really has an all-star (at least if you're familiar with 1970's European exploitation starlets)cast. I guess you could also count this as a nunsploitation film if you're a fan of that, uh, genre.

The director Brunello Rondi would go to direct "Velluto Nero" with Laura Gemser and Annie Belle, which really isn't any better than this, but has been released on DVD, so it at least LOOKS a lot better. I can't really recommend this in its current sorry state, but if gets a decent DVD release like "Velluto Nero" (or "Escape from a Woman's Prison" and "woman of Cellblock 7"), you might want to check it out.
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8/10
Enjoyable chicks-in-chains outing
Woodyanders4 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Gorgeous young French tourist Martine (luscious Martine Brochard) gets arrested while on vacation in Italy. After being found guilty of a trumped-up drug possession charge, Martine finds herself incarcerated at a hellish women's penitentiary where the inmates are subjected to mental and physical torture by the staff and fellow felons alike. Things are compounded in severity when a riot breaks out in the prison. Director Brunello Rondi, who also co-wrote the suitably seamy script by Aldo Semeraro and Leila Boungiorno, covers all the satisfying sleazy babes-behind-bares bases: Full naked body searches, a group shower scene, masturbation, and, of course, lesbianism (the latter one is done all pretty with these artsy overlapping visuals). Scuzzy highlights include brash convict Isabelle (yummy Isabelle De Valvert) performing a sizzling striptease in the courtyard, a sweet young nun (lovely Christina Galbo) being stripped naked and humiliated in front of everyone, and the fed-up inmates hanging the warden's beloved and pampered dog (!). Marilu Tolo attacks her stock role of spiteful and cynical queen con Susan with lip-smacking aplomb. Katia Kristine likewise does well as rebellious foxy blonde Grazia. The expected dreadful dubbing delivers a wealth of unintentional belly laughs, with plenty of hysterically crude profanity peppered throughout. Having nuns run the calaboose rates as a welcome and refreshing departure from the standard formula. Worth a watch for fans of the genre.
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