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From Manila with Love (2011)

Retrospective documentary on the making of the 70's women-in-prison exploitation cult favorites "The Big Doll House (1971)" and "The Big Bird Cage (1972)".

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Retrospective documentary on the making of the 70's women-in-prison exploitation cult favorites "The Big Doll House (1971)" and "The Big Bird Cage (1972)".

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21 June 2011 (USA)  »

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Entertaining retrospective documentary
5 July 2011 | by (The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left) – See all my reviews

This documentary does an extremely lively and enjoyable job of covering the making of the early 70's women-in-prison drive-in exploitation cult favorites "The Big Doll House" and "The Big Bird Cage." The people interviewed are renowned B-movie filmmaker Jack Hill, the legendary Roger Corman, the still lovely Judy Brown, the always exuberant and engaging Sid Haig, the late, great Roberta Collins, the perky and attractive Anitra Ford, an extremely vibrant and funny Candice Roman, screenwriter James Gordon White, producer Jane Schaffer, and the delightfully raucous Teda Bracci. Among the subjects discussed are the origin of "The Big Doll House" (White's script was drastically rewritten by Hill, who added a lot of humor to the picture), the inclusion of such obligatory things as the token group shower scene and a fierce catfight in the mud, working with a very young and then unknown Pam Grier, and clashing egos amongst the five female leads. Since "The Big Doll House" was a huge hit, "The Big Bird Cage" was immediately made to cash in on its success. Haig reveals that he loved playing a swishy gay caricature and relished acting with Filipino exploitation feature regular Vic Diaz. Of course, Brecci and Roman talk about the infamous rape of Rocco the homosexual guard in that movie. (Roman also relates a great anecdote about her audition for the film.) Moreover, we also hear about 70's trailer voice-over guy Ron Gans and there's a touching segment about the tragic untimely death of Roberta Collins. Plus there are choice clips and behind-the-scenes production stills featured throughout. Ford sums it up best when she says acting in "The Big Bird Cage" was like summer camp for adults. Recommended viewing for fans of these flicks.


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