Women in Cages (1971) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

This is pretty much the usual formula WIP film. As per the genre requirement, it begins with an innocent girl being set up at the beginning. She gets tricked when an escaping gangster plants some heroin in her purse. The police ship her off to the Prison from Hell, where an evil lesbian matron runs amok with torture while the hands-off warden simply doesn't care as long as she can skim off the prison by skimping on the meals and clothing and such.


There are no pubes on view in this one, and the only butts to be seen are anonymous extras in the shower scenes. There are also extras working as strippers and prostitutes.

Four of the regulars show their breasts. (Pam Grier, Judith Brown, Roberta Collins, Sofia Moran). The fifth, Jennifer Gan, shows nary a nipple.

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 impenetrable jungle.

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 process.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen

  • original 1971 trailer

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.

Tuna's Thoughts

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 the cast.

It is 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.

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDB readers say 3.5/10


IMDb 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 is.

My own 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.

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