Pam Grier plays the evil lesbian matron, and we follow the plight of four
women, including our innocent heroine, who plan to escape through the
There is nothing very interesting to be found in the plot this
time. Very little happens before or after their prison time, and the
story is perfunctory at best. Even the conflicts between the prisoners
are kept to a minimum. The only reason to watch this film is Pam
Grier, who goes over the top as the bitter matron, stretching out
naked prisoners on medieval torture instruments, and removing her top in the
There must be an interesting story
behind this film,
but I don't know the details. I only know the right question to ask, and somebody else
will have to provide the answer. The question is, "how did
Jennifer Gan get the lead role (the innocent girl) in this movie?"
- Miss Gan is not a very attractive woman. Her face isn't pretty,
and she has a flat figure.
- She didn't look the part. Instead of looking innocent, she
looked quite dumb-trashy.
- She is one of the worst actresses in screen history - she's
completely stiff and unnatural in almost every scene, with an
irritating voice, to boot. According to IMDb, she never worked in
movies again, in any role large or small.
- She got the lead role in a WIP film despite refusing to do any
nudity. All the other leads got naked.
So exactly what did she do to merit the role? The explanation must be a
helluva story, but I don't know it.
Women in Cages
(1971) was produced by Roger Corman, and used much of the same
cast as The Big Doll House. This is one of the films that caused
Hill to switch The Big Bird Cage to a spoof, and change most of
interesting to me that none of the three books I have about
Corman even mention this one. IMDB readers say 3.2 of 10, which
is about what this one deserves. This is the one where Pam Greer
is the evil warden, the main star doesn't get naked, nobody
shows bush, and only extras show buns. On the strength of
Greer's performance, and the medieval torture devices, I will
give this D+. Come on guys, you can't do a good WIP film without
bush and buns.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this
description, this film is a C- (Tuna: D+)
as an exploitation film. It is a pretty good exploitation
film in some ways. The unique hook of the film is the medieval
torture performed on naked women. But the film also has some
weaknesses. The naked women are not especially attractive. There
are no crotches to be seen - all discreetly covered by
convenient objects in the room! There is only a perfunctory
plot. There is no humor. The character that we are supposed to
sympathize with is played by such a poor actress that we can't
really relate. Bottom line: don't watch unless you want to see
Pam Grier torturing topless chicks.