The Cell Mate

» Vendetta (2015, USA)

Vendetta - Dean Cain as Mason Danvers and Paul 'The Big Show' Wight as Victor Abbott

I feel for Dean Cain. I’m sure he wants to play serious prison roles, but in Dogboys (1998) he got to play an ex-Marine fighting killer prison dogs, and in New Alcatraz (2001) he had to play a palaeontologist fighting a giant prehistoric prison snake. Here he gets to play an ex-cop fighting a killer prison giant. (more…)

Posted on September 28th, 2015 at 9:47 pm. Updated on September 28th, 2015 at 9:49 pm.

» Révolte dans la prison / Big House (1931, France / USA)

Big House - Charles Boyer as John Morgan and Andre Berley as Butch

Some films are remakes of originals. But from the pre-subtitles era, this French-language version of the classic The Big House (1930) is not just a remake, but the same film, shot-for-shot, with French actors substituted for American. Well, not exactly shot-for-shot; in one of the last scenes, John Morgan (Charles Boyer) has his right arm in a sling, while in the American version (and, for that matter, the Spanish-language version, El Presidio), it’s on his left. Mind you, in the very final scene (taken straight from the original US version) Morgan’s sling has dramatically switched sides. I’m not sure which side is preferred in the German version, Menschen hinter Gittern.

(more…)

Posted on September 19th, 2015 at 10:07 pm. Updated on September 23rd, 2015 at 10:07 pm.

» Rise (2014, Australia)

Rise - Nathan Wilson as Will McIntyre and Martin Sacks as Jimmy Cove

You know how sometimes one scene or one line in a movie just loses you, and you can’t find a way back in? Early in Rise nurse Will McIntyre (Nathan Wilson) is falsely accused of spiking the drink of and then raping a girl with whom he has had a one night stand. At his trial, the prosecutor asks the victim to tell the court what happened next. Falteringly, she begins with, “He had my arms pressed under…” and McIntyre’s barrister jumps up and interjects, “Your Honour, this is all hearsay evidence!” Eh? Really? (more…)

Posted on July 19th, 2015 at 1:38 pm. Updated on July 19th, 2015 at 1:42 pm.

» Shadow: Dead Riot (2006, USA)

Shadow: Dead Riot -

Shadow: Dead Riot appears to be based on a premise that the same sort of people who watch salacious Women-in-Prison films with shower scenes and predatory lesbian guards will also like zombies and gore and exploding body parts. It’s probably solid thinking from a marketing perspective, but the two elements here have rather clumsily been patched together. (more…)

Posted on June 28th, 2015 at 1:34 pm. Updated on June 28th, 2015 at 1:34 pm.

» Hold Your Man (1933, USA)

Hold Your Man - Barbara Barondess as Sadie Klein and Jean Harlow as Ruby Adams

There are plenty of films about innocent women in tough prisons. This could be about a tough, not-so-innocent woman in prison (though she is pretty much innocent of the charge that landed her in there), but it’s really about the unlikely survival of a romance between two suddenly-smitten lovers. (more…)

Posted on February 13th, 2015 at 9:37 pm. Updated on February 13th, 2015 at 9:37 pm.

» Prisoners in Petticoats (1950, USA)

Prisoners in Petticoats - Valentine Perkins as Joan Grey aka Beverly Brent (and the back of Robert Rockwell's head - as Mark Hampton)

This neat little gangster flick, full of crosses and double crosses, checks in at a lean 60 minutes. The copy I got hold of has around 12 minutes missing from it, and boasts a paltry 6 minutes and 18 seconds of prison scenes. Its title of ‘Prisoners in Petticoats’ might therefore give a slightly misleading impression of the film’s overall content. (more…)

Posted on February 4th, 2015 at 7:57 pm. Updated on February 4th, 2015 at 7:57 pm.

» Chicken Mexicaine (2007, Switzerland)

Chicken Mexicaine - Bruno Cathomas as Roby Schmucker and Juana von Jascheroff as Dr Helen Berger

Roby Schmucker (Bruno Cathomas) has found himself back in jail, again. He is awaiting trial on a ‘heavy’ robbery, and on Day 1 in the mess room is confronted by the prison’s top dog, African-Swiss Charles ‘Chief’ Müller (Kyle Popooda). Schmucker doesn’t appreciate Müller’s welcome and makes some unkind comments about his ethnicity. It’s not received well. One of Müller’s men spits in Schmucker’s food, onto which Müller then empties an entire salt cellar. Schmucker sticks it out for another mouthful or two but then launches into a face-saving rant: “Chicken Mexicaine! This muck’s called Chicken Mexicaine!” before reminding everyone that he’s an old hand. It’s a quirky, off-beat title for one of the wackier, more off-beat prison movies. (more…)

Posted on January 27th, 2015 at 8:38 pm. Updated on January 27th, 2015 at 8:50 pm.

» Way Back Home (2013, South Korea)

Way Back Home - Jeon Do-yeon as Song Jeong-yeon

The South Koreans certainly love a good prison tear-jerker - Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013), for instance, and Harmony (2010) - both of which also star young children, as does this weepy. But Way Back Home is also very reminiscent of Hell In Tangier (2006) and Left to Die (2012), both of which feature prisoners in third-world prisons overseas, hampered by inept, judgmental and disinterested embassy officials, and eventually released after persistent media campaigns. As this one does. The point of difference from the last two is that in this case the prisoner is guilty. Of stupidity, at the very least.

(more…)

Posted on October 14th, 2014 at 9:30 pm. Updated on October 14th, 2014 at 9:30 pm.

» Circuit 2 (2003, USA)

Circuit 2 - Olivier Gruner as Dirk Longstreet aka Jim Morrison

Also known as The Circuit 2: The Final Punch. Except it’s not the final final punch - the temptation to make Circuit III being just too great. (more…)

Posted on August 29th, 2014 at 10:00 pm. Updated on August 29th, 2014 at 10:00 pm.

» The Godless Girl (1929, USA)

The Godless Girl -

Cecil B De Mille directed this epic silent film - an unashamed advertisement for Godfulness. Not surprisingly, given its title, it features a godless girl, but it’s more about her conversion to the God-positive side, than focusing on all the nastiness and trouble that her godlessness brings. (more…)

Posted on August 16th, 2014 at 7:07 pm. Updated on August 16th, 2014 at 9:29 pm.