The Strip Search

» Convict (2014, Australia)

Convict - George Basha as Ray Francis

When this opened where I live, it opened, I think, for just one session in one cinema. That might say as much as needs to be said. (more…)

Posted on April 14th, 2014 at 10:56 pm. Updated on April 14th, 2014 at 10:56 pm.

» Women in Chains (1972, USA)

Women in Chains - Lois Nettleton as Sandra Parker / Sally Porter and Belinda Montgomery as Melinda Carr

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). (more…)

Posted on February 4th, 2014 at 8:18 pm. Updated on February 8th, 2014 at 7:45 pm.

» Fugitive Rage (1996, USA)

Fugitive Rage - and Wendy Schumacher as Tara McCormick

You know to lower your expectations when movies are straight-to-video, as this one is. But no matter how low your expectations, this film, also known as ‘Caged Fear‘, will in all probability fall below them. (more…)

Posted on December 15th, 2013 at 9:09 pm. Updated on December 15th, 2013 at 9:09 pm.

» Human Experiments (1979, USA)

Human Experiments - Linda Haynes as Rachel Foster

I’ve watched lots of prison movies; lots of similar stories and similar themes. But none, I think, quite like this. (more…)

Posted on September 28th, 2013 at 10:30 pm. Updated on September 28th, 2013 at 10:30 pm.

» Fleischwolf / Meatgrinder (1990, Austria)

Fleischwolf - Maximilan Mller as Mario (centre) with Christopher Heinz as Karli Knigsdofer behind him to the left

“Few institutions invented by men are so obviously unsuccessful as prisons,” Christian Broda, Austrian lawyer and politician, is quoted as saying at the very end of Fleischwolf. It is a short film, just 70 minutes, with most of it dedicated to proving the aptness of Broda’s conclusion. (more…)

Posted on September 19th, 2013 at 10:32 pm. Updated on September 19th, 2013 at 10:36 pm.

» The Rat Tamer (1995, Australia)

The Rat Tamer - Deborra-Lee Furness as Louisa Corelli

Back in 2006 this was released as a movie on DVD. It had been Hugh Jackman’s first major screen role a decade or more earlier, and the marketers were no doubt looking to cash in on his X-Men fame. Yet it’s not a movie at all, but rather the unedited (and conveniently feature-length) first episode of the Correlli TV series, masquerading as something else. (more…)

Posted on July 29th, 2013 at 11:03 pm. Updated on August 3rd, 2013 at 8:47 pm.

» 186 Dollars to Freedom (2012, USA / Peru)

186 Dollars to Freedom - John Robinson as Wayne Montgomery and Johnny Lewis as Jorge

There have been prisoners in unwelcoming foreign jails before - in Russia (In Hell, 2003), Thailand (Brokedown Palace, 1999), Mexico (Get the Gringo, 2012), Morocco (Hell in Tangier, 2006), and of course Turkey (Midnight Express, 1978), amongst others. And now we have a well-to-do young American battling a corrupt justice system while languishing in the El Sexto Prison in Lima, Peru - the site of several real-life riots in the early ’80s (including one in 1981 in which 27 prisoners died in a gang-related fight, and one in 1984 in which 24 prisoners died) before it was closed in 1986. It’s based on the true story of Monty Fisher, who wrote the script. (more…)

Posted on June 9th, 2013 at 9:48 pm. Updated on June 16th, 2013 at 2:39 pm.

» Présumé Coupable / Guilty (2011, France)

Presumed Guilty - Philippe Torreton as Alain Marécaux

There are lots of films about innocent men and women in prison. Few show the toll that false charges can have on an individual as this one does. And to make it even more troubling, it’s based on a true story. (more…)

Posted on May 6th, 2013 at 9:36 pm. Updated on May 6th, 2013 at 9:36 pm.

» So Young So Bad (1950, USA)

So Young So Bad - Anne Francis as Loretta Wilson, with Cecil Clovelly as warden NE Riggs at right

Not to be confused with So Evil, So Young (1961) or The Weak and the Wicked (1954). But it does share something with both of those British movies - the young women in this reform school are not particularly bad, or wicked, or evil. Some, surprisingly, are even youngish. (more…)

Posted on March 26th, 2013 at 9:42 pm. Updated on March 26th, 2013 at 9:42 pm.

» Offender (2012, UK)

Offender - Joe Cole as tommy Nix

This invites comparisons with Scum (1979), updated and set in the context of the London riots of 2011. But it owes more to Doing Hard Time (2004), a less auspicious film which features another hurt, angry and apparently law-abiding man intent on avenging a terrible crime… and who is similarly prepared to surrender some high moral ground by senselessly attacking police - simply to get into jail and to get access to those who have wronged him. (more…)

Posted on March 3rd, 2013 at 11:23 am. Updated on March 3rd, 2013 at 11:23 am.