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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:

Sensational scandal rocks women's prison! 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

Dr. Crane: She's suffering from a guilt complex that's close to madness.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
Some great smaller parts grow large, and Lupino is up against them all...
25 February 2011 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Women's Prison (1955)

This highlights Ida Lupino, and though her role is central it is small. She plays that hardened, selfish "dame" she pulled off in many of her movies like no one else, in this case a prison warden. Lupino is never campy like Bette Davis, or sultry like many others (even when she wants to be). She's also not idiosyncratic like Gloria Grahame, and this is good and bad. Lupino here and often elsewhere is a stalwart presence--she holds up her end of the bargain in any scene, without stealing the scene.

Her counterpart, even though this is mainly a woman's movie top to bottom, is the doctor played by Howard Duff. But the real stars are the prisoners, an array of women both confident and downtrodden. (Look for Juanita Moore, from "Imitation of Life.") Having these women revolt against Lupino's evilness is what we all want, and it's quite a drama.

There are many times when you will groan or laugh at what the plot gets away with (like the husband who sneaks in to see his wife, or the warden of the men's prison in general), but you'll really love the best parts, the best character actors who are really filled with character, and the fast plot. A good short fun one.


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