The premise sounded promising, if a little in poor taste: a game show involving Death Row inmates competing for stays of execution and prizes for their grieving relatives. The odds are stacked rather heavily against them (which means that they will almost certainly be killed ‘live’ on TV), yet “these people are already on Death Row,” the host reminds us. “Their lives are basically over. We give them a chance, a way to be somebody… a way to be entertaining before they go.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on March 4th, 2014 at 9:21 pm. Updated on March 4th, 2014 at 9:21 pm.
There’s something a little pathetic about two ageing action heroes reliving their glory days from the ’80s. Granted, neither Sylvester Stallone nor Arnold Schwarzenegger looks mid-sixties, and they make a far better fist of playing action heroes than the younger but tumescent Steven Seagal in Maximum Conviction (2012). It’s a worrying trend; I’m not looking forward to seeing Chuck Norris and Burt Reynolds wreak havoc in a palliative care prison.
Posted on February 24th, 2014 at 9:26 pm. Updated on February 24th, 2014 at 9:50 pm.
Jailhouse as haunted house. It’s not the most novel of concepts. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on February 16th, 2014 at 1:35 pm. Updated on February 16th, 2014 at 1:35 pm.
This was released as Women Without Men in Britain - a title suggestive of something a bit wild or scandalous. It’s neither of those. I suppose that if one takes the title at its most literal, it’s indisputable that the women prisoners are without men. And although she might not agree, the lead character, Angela Booth (Beverly Michaels), is decidedly better off for it.
Posted on February 12th, 2014 at 10:00 pm. Updated on February 12th, 2014 at 10:02 pm.
This (along with several other contenders) could serve as a baseline against which all women’s prison movies are measured. It’s far from great, and far from terrible. It’s camp, but not too camp. Well, it’s over-the-top camp at times. It has a brave heroine, a particularly nasty villain, plenty of true-to-life prisoners who have no wish to fly above the radar, some drama… and, presumably because it’s made-for-TV and it’s 1972, a surfeit of beautiful women but no shower scenes, lesbian scenes, or lascivious male officers. What’s more, it stars two prison movie greats: Ida Lupino (Women’s Prison, 1955) and Barbara Luna (The Concrete Jungle, 1982). Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on February 4th, 2014 at 8:18 pm. Updated on February 8th, 2014 at 7:45 pm.
A 1967 poll found that 71% of Japanese opposed the abolition of the death penalty. To those in that handsome majority, director Nagisa Oshima asks: “Have you ever seen inside an execution chamber? Have you ever seen an execution?” And one steels oneself for an uncomfortable two hours of docudrama polemic or a voyage through the mechanics of the gallows. That’s not quite what you get. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on February 3rd, 2014 at 8:45 pm. Updated on February 3rd, 2014 at 8:45 pm.
There are many men of my generation who will remember Susan Dey as the only reason for watching The Partridge Family. My memory of Laurie Partridge has dulled considerably, but it could well be her who has strayed into this TV movie, and into this TV prison, by mistake.
Posted on January 27th, 2014 at 8:39 am. Updated on January 27th, 2014 at 8:45 am.
It’s Uruguay, 1980. In Montevideo’s Libertad (’Freedom’) Prison (named with no hint of irony, it seems), communist-red clothing is banned on visitors and children’s pictures of birds are not allowed, either. Birds, it would appear, symbolise flight and choice and freedom, and the military regime is not well disposed to such thinking. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on January 21st, 2014 at 8:59 pm. Updated on January 21st, 2014 at 8:59 pm.
Forget the title; this is not your ordinary Women in Prison exploitation movie. Well, yes, there is some adolescent preoccupation with sex (principally as a spectator sport), and a collection of minor players whose sole function is to wear little underwear and have their prison uniforms ripped in fights, but it is more comic ghost story than soft-porn. And it’s the ghosts that make it a little unusual. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on January 14th, 2014 at 9:02 pm. Updated on February 8th, 2014 at 7:52 pm.
Ah, the thirties! There’s always been a bit of a fascination with prison workers falling in love with prisoners, but prison-hospital romance seemed to be of particular interest in the late 30s. Take, for example, Prison Nurse (1937), featuring a relationship between a nurse and a doctor-prisoner, Prison Farm (1938) with a doctor and a female prisoner, and Buried Alive (1939) with another nurse and a male prisoner. And then this one. But the interest doesn’t seem to be due to just the scandal or titillation of illicit relationships, but from a more noble notion that the stigma attached to those who are (or have been) prisoners, should be removed - that ex-prisoners should not be excluded from mainstream society. And who better to socialise and legitimise such a notion than a handsome doctor or a pretty nurse? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on January 13th, 2014 at 9:38 pm. Updated on January 13th, 2014 at 9:38 pm.