6.5/10
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22 user 10 critic

Women's Prison (1955)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | February 1955 (USA)
Life at a 1950s women's maximum security prison where the warden and the guards are as brutal as the inmates.

Director:

Lewis Seiler

Writers:

Crane Wilbur (screenplay), Jack DeWitt (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ida Lupino ... Amelia van Zandt
Jan Sterling ... Brenda Martin
Cleo Moore ... Mae
Audrey Totter ... Joan Burton
Phyllis Thaxter ... Helene Jensen
Howard Duff ... Dr. Crane
Warren Stevens ... Glen Burton
Barry Kelley ... Warden Brock
Gertrude Michael ... Chief Matron Sturgess
Vivian Marshall Vivian Marshall ... Dottie LaRose
Mae Clarke ... Matron Saunders
Ross Elliott ... Don Jensen
Adelle August ... Grace
Don C. Harvey ... Chief Guard Tierney
Juanita Moore ... Polyclinic 'Polly' Jones
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Storyline

During the 1950s, two women inmates are sent to a maximum security state prison. One of the two women is a repeat offender who knows many of the inmates and guards at the prison. She almost feels like returning home to her prison family. The other woman is a decent person, a first-time offender who's no criminal.She unintentionally killed a child in a car accident. She's very young, married, and is terrified of being in prison. Her mental state is very fragile. The women's prison is adjacent to the men's prison. The two prisons are separated by a high wall but there are secret ways of crossing from one prison into the other. Warden Brock is in charge of the men's prison while Amelia van Zandt is the heartless brutal director of the women's prison. The guards are severe and not very friendly, since, they too, fear the wrath of their female warden van Zandt. The only ray of hope and decency in this earthly inferno is the prison doctor, Dr. Crane. However, the good doctor has little ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Inside the BIG HOUSE for women! (US insert) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

February 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Femmes en prison See more »

Filming Locations:

USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Due to film's popularity in the 1980s, Sony Pictures released it in the boxed set Bad Girls of Film Noir: Volume II. See more »

Goofs

During a sequence showing concurrent events at a co-ed prison (men on one side of wall, women on the other), the women are seen in the yard in sunny weather with short-sleeved uniforms, while the men's side is rainy, with prisoners in heavy coats. See more »

Quotes

Brenda Martin: Remember, be quiet. One yell out of a slaphappy dame will blow the whole works. Now, go on, beat it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Missing Reel: Women in Prison (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Highly entertaining junk...
5 March 2010 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This is NOT a film that would ever be mistaken for an episode of "Masterpiece Theater"! In fact, in many ways it's a sensationalistic piece of junk...but also a very well-made and entertaining piece of junk! In the 1950s, there were a ton of women in prison films and this might just rank among the best. Part of the reason for this being better than average is the excellent cast. Ida Lupino is a treat to watch as a sadistic warden who is more screwed up and vile than the inmates! And, among the inmates are such colorful dames as Jan Sterling, Cleo Moore, Audrey Totter and Phyllis Thaxter.

The film begins with a lady (Thaxter) being sent to lady for accidentally killing a child due to her negligent driving. Thaxter is emotionally fragile and the prison doctor is concerned about her. However, the warden is insistent that Thaxter be broken just like the rest of the prisoners and pushes the woman to a mental breakdown. In fact, throughout the film Lupino pushes the prisoners to near-riot and she seems to have people skills that would make Attila the Hun seem like a member of the Peace Corps by comparison! There's a lot more to the film--but I don't want to spoil the suspense.

The bottom line is that the film is highly entertaining by being unapologetically loud and over the top. Sensational but far from subtle--this is a great guilty pleasure.


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