Comments Off on Women in Cages
Women in Cages continues The Big Doll House’s proud cinematic tradition of showing women behind bars (and the ‘trilogy’ was completed with the mashup-sounding, The Big Bird Cage). Although, there are very few real cages to be found. Jail cells, sure. Holes in the ground, yes. Cages, at least in the style familiar to birds as I hoped to see, were nowhere to be seen.
What Women in Cages does have in abundance is one of the Three B-movie B’s: Breasts. They are everywhere, like Bronies at a cosplay convention. You see breasts in the first few minutes, and you don’t really go more than about 22 frames before seeing another pair, or five. Breasts in Cages would be a more apt title. Actually, no. Breasts A-Go-Go would be even better (See also: Breast Friends, Bosom Buddies, Boobpocalypse Now).
The plot, such as it is, has a lady blackmailed with drug possession, and she’s sent to a hellish women’s prison by a judge with a robot voice. The judge ain’t really a robot, he just sounds like one (like the voices in my head). The sound quality, or lack thereof, is nothing short of hilarious. Some scenes sound like they were recorded with a garage sale Strawberry Shortcake Tape Recorder, and then buried in a damp basement for five years. Then there is the music. It seems to be on its own schedule, and starts and stops whenever it wants, no matter what is going on in the scene. Also on its own schedule are the ‘day for night’ shots—the lighting shifts more often than a NASCAR driver.
The prisoners are under the iron heel of the Matron Alabama, played by a young Pam Grier. When Grier ain’t seducing her female charges, she is torturing them in ‘The Playpen’ (which ain’t some kinda Thunderdome arena as I first hoped). One scene in particular brings new meaning to the phrase “fire crotch.”
Speaking of crotches, Women in Cages features some of the best cinematography ever. At least in regards to covering up a lady’s lower regions. Yes, a well-placed candle, bottle, book, or what-have-you always seems to take the spot of honor. Breasts, and behinds are displayed proudly, like medals of honor, but genitals are covered up like the Russian Moon Landing. The placement and framing of these items is nothing short of inspired.
But, the plot ain’t all whips, boobs, and cat fights. There is plenty of hilarity. A junkie is promised a fix if she can kill her cellmate—and she’s more inept than a blindfolded Saturday Morning cartoon villain (but with less facial hair). I half-expected her to yell, “Curses! Foiled again!” at times.
Women in Cages is ridiculous, over the top, and cheaply made—three of my favorite things (after whiskey, Smaller Wonder reruns, and whisky). Grier is reason enough to watch this film, and is quite the stand-out. As the Matron, Grier is as brutal and merciless as The Phantom Menace on an infinite loop.
Tiger says, give this one a watch, if only for the history lesson in exploitation films of the early 1970s. Women in Cages is a relic of its time, and it has an important, ageless message: Don’t do drugs in the Philippines.