Crime / Drama / Film-Noir

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 33%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 4011

Plot summary

October 31, 2022 at 07:27 AM


John Cromwell

Top cast

Agnes Moorehead as Ruth Benton
Eleanor Parker as Marie Allen
Olive Deering as June Roberts - Inmate
Lee Patrick as Elvira Powell
894.32 MB
English 2.0
59.94 fps
1 hr 36 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 10 / 10

"Grab A Last Look at Free Side Baby"

The film I like to compare Caged to is not a male prison film, but rather to The Women. Although there are minor male roles in Caged and The Women have no men in it, make no mistake, this film shows a woman's world.

The world of the women's prison is light years away from those society Republican matrons of The Women, but in terms how they act it ain't too much different. It's just that things are a lot more raw than they are on free side.

The film is seen through the eyes of protagonist Eleanor Parker who drew a one to fifteen year sentence on a robbery in which her husband was killed. Due to the influence of the prison even with a relatively compassionate warden like Agnes Moorehead, by the time she leaves she's as tough a cookie as those she met and dealt with as fellow cons and as matrons.

Eleanor Parker and Hope Emerson as the wicked matron Harper both received Oscar nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively. Parker lost to Judy Holliday for Born Yesterday and Emerson was beaten out by Josephine Hull in Harvey. Yet the whole film is so well cast it seems a shame to single out just those two performers.

Two of the most interesting characters were Betty Garde as a tough con who runs the cell block until an enemy in the person of Lee Patrick who is a society madam arrives for a short term. There rivalry unwittingly sets up a lot of tragedy all around.

In the pre-Stonewall Hollywood, lesbianism saturates Caged as it does in few other films. Hope Emerson is always singled out, but there are more than hints of it in the characters of Garde, Patrick, and Moorehead. Look also for good performances by Ellen Corby as the loopy murderer of her abusing husband and Jan Sterling in on a prostitution rap.

I think if the cast of The Women were ever thrown into prison as they are in Caged, I think the behavior would be exactly the same. They can afford to be more civilized in some of the richest acreage of free side.

Reviewed by ma-cortes 7 / 10

Classic movie about women's prison with an excellent Hope Emerson

This is the angry story of the beautiful Marie Allan (Eleanor Parker) , an one-mistake girl , the men betrayed her and the law forgot inside the big house for women , she can't afford to let stay at large now . We have seen what the matron (Hope Emerson) does to women in the prison , we have seen women tortured , sweated and mistreated and a sensational scandal rock women's prison .

This film dared to tell the whole hideous truth about brutal cruelty by a villain jailer . This is a new kind of picture , it's a scenario writer's idea (Virginia Kellog screenwriter's "Women without Men") of a women's prison , authentic experiences of convicts in a gaol that is a hell on earth . Screen's most gripping drama of violence and gals on rampage in prison riot . It's a story about it what happens to women without men , the shocking tale of one warden against sixty inmates . The movie arises a questions : Will she come out woman or wildcat? , is the coming out good or is the coming out to avenge the torments and terrors that make a jail for women a college for the crime? . Hope Emerson as a cruel , sensation-hungry nasty warden is magnificent , she organizes a crack newspaper campaign announcing against prison chief , the great Agnes Morehead . Former L.A. Times reporter and screenwriter Virginia Kellogg's exciting plot surpasses even ¨I am a fugitive from a chain gang¨ film . Virginia Kellogg pulled some strings to incarcerate herself in a woman's prison . She then wrote a book about it , which was a kind of almanac of everything she witnessed while in prison , then had her write the script , which was nominated for an Academy Award . Warner Bros has filmed with all of the power and realism at its command . The thrilling musical score by the classic Max Steiner . And John Cromwell, under contract at Warner Bros directed with genius . The picture obtained three nominations for Academy Award : the best principal actress (Eleanor Parker) , support cast (Hope Emerson) and the best original screenplay (Virginia Kellogg).

The film is remade as ¨House of Women¨(1962) with Shirley Knight and originated a real sub-genre and spreading several sequels , imitations and copies as ¨Women's prison¨(1955) with Ida Lupino and ¨Girls in Prison¨ with Joan Taylor. Besides , exploitation flicks as ¨Naked cage¨ (1982) directed by Paul Nicholas and ¨Chained Heat¨ with Linda Blair .

Reviewed by preppy-3 9 / 10

Somewhat dated but still powerful

SPOILERS!!!! Meek mild Marie Allen (Eleanor Parker) is sentenced to 5 years in prison for a robbery attempt her husband forced her into--he was killed. She's stuck in a cell block run by big evil Evelyn Harper (Hope Emerson). She sees or has to deal with beatings, strongly implied lesbian come ons, madness, suicide and mutilation. She is released after a reduced sentence--but she's now a hardened criminal.

Some of this is dated. The dialogue is tame (but it had to be) and when Parker's head is sadistically shaved it's not half as shocking now as it must have been in 1950. Still this is a strong movie and extremely well made. What's most surprising is there are a few characters that are quite obviously lesbians--Emerson's Harper and Elvira Powell played by Lee Patrick. Nothing is made explicit (they even make sure Harper mentions her boyfriend) but it is there and it's hard to miss. Quite surprising for a 1950 film.

All the acting is excellent. Agnes Moorehead overacts (but in an amusing way) as warden Ruth Benton. All the female convicts are very well done but Emerson and Parker really carry this movie. Emerson is downright horrific in her role and you see Parker go from meek and mild to cruel and hard-bitten. Both deservedly were Oscar-nominated for their roles. So it is dated but still powerful and well worth seeing.

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