7.7/10
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Caged (1950)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 10 June 1950 (USA)
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A naive nineteen year old widow becomes coarsened and cynical when she is sent to a woman's prison and is exposed to hardened criminals and sadistic guards.

Director:

John Cromwell
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Eleanor Parker ... Marie Allen
Agnes Moorehead ... Ruth Benton
Ellen Corby ... Emma Barber
Hope Emerson ... Evelyn Harper
Betty Garde ... Kitty Stark
Jan Sterling ... Jeta Kovsky - aka Smoochie
Lee Patrick ... Elvira Powell
Olive Deering ... June Roberts - Inmate
Jane Darwell ... Isolation Matron
Gertrude Michael ... Georgia Harrison
Sheila MacRae ... Helen (as Sheila Stevens)
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Storyline

Frightened 19-year-old Marie Allen gets sent to an Illinois penitentiary for being an accomplice in an armed robbery. A sympathetic prison head tries to help, but her efforts are subverted by cruel matron Evelyn Harper. Marie's harsh experiences turn her from doe-eyed innocent to hard-nosed con. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Will she come out a woman or a wildcat? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 June 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Femmes en cage See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For its time, this film was a shockingly realistic depiction of women's prisons, persuasively making the argument that the unfeeling manner in which incarcerated women were treated by America's penal system contributed to the perpetual problem of recidivism. See more »

Goofs

When Marie Allen announces that her kitten has died, the cat opens its mouth. See more »

Quotes

Inmate: I'll tell Evelyn.
Kitty Stark: Don't kid me, Harper's first name is filth.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Female Trouble (1974) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Best of the 50s morality films
28 June 2009 | by knucklebreatherSee all my reviews

In the 1950s, there was an informal genre of films that were ostensibly warnings against deviation from mainstream lifestyles and morality, but at the same time unavoidably exploited the appeal of the deviant choices they were supposedly trying to warn against. In a time of communism, looming racial integration, the end of colonialism and any other number of factors, fear of society crumbling encouraged both an unnatural emphasis on conformity to what every (white) person and family was supposed to be like, but also this need to warn against what any deviation from that could lead to. Most of these morality films were pretty bad, largely because because choosing a plot where a moral message had to be locked in limited what they could do with the characters.

"Caged" has all the elements - a good girl falls in the wrong crowd, then seems to be locked into a downward spiral from that moment on. The message is crystal clear: Once you make that first mistake, that first step away from conformity, your horrible fate is sealed.

As far as I know, "Caged" is the best of this uniquely 1950s genre of film. Within the limitations of the genre, it is actually a decent movie. Some parts of it are badly clichéd, however, some of the details of her descent are quite brilliant. The acting is also of the highest caliber.

Probably without its creators intending it, "Caged" became the grandmother of all "women in prison" films and TV shows. You will notice a lot of plot elements that later became clichés seemed to have been created in this film.

It is especially worth watching if you're a fan of MST3K, which skewered endless horrible moral panic flicks of the 1950s. If you've been jaded by seeing a few abysmal films about teenagers running amok, "Caged" should be quite the breath of fresh air, it shows a decent movie can be made on the subject.

But best of all, "Caged" is one of those films that will really help you understand its time period. Young people in the 1950s were being told that any deviation from the norm and they would end up like the young woman in "Caged". As many historians see the 1960s in America as a rebellion against the 1950s, "Caged" will give you some insight into what they were rebelling against.


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