HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Caged Heat Please Release Me
Year: 1974
Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Juanita Brown, Roberta Collins, Erica Gavin, Ella Reid, Barbara Steele, Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith, Lynda Gold, Warren Miller, Carmen Argenziano, Gwen Sawe, Cynthia Songé, Irene Stokes, Amy Barrett, Ann Stockdale, Cydoni Cale, Valley Hoffman, Desiree Cousteau
Genre: Action, Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jacqueline Wilson (Erica Gavin) is a petty thief on the run who is with her boyfriend and his accomplice when the law catches up with them. A chase ensues and the boyfriend is shot by the police while she is caught and sentenced to not less than ten and not more than forty years in prison for drug possession and being an accessory to murder. Sent to prison, the first thing that happens is that Jacqueline is strip searched, which sets the tone for the depressing time she is going to have there; in the canteen she strikes up a conversation with two fellow inmates, Pandora (Ella Reid) and Belle (Roberta Collins) who warn her to keep her head down and not get too claustrophobic or the medical team will "assist" her. But she will have trouble staying anonymous...

Caged Heat was the first of the films to be directed by future Oscar winner Jonathan Demme, and he wrote the script as well. He was no stranger to the women in prison genre, having previously scripted The Hot Box and Black Mama, White Mama, but this effort won him, and continues to win him, praise as one of the best of those female prisoners action strands that were a popular exploitation feature of the seventies. It was produced by Roger Corman, so by now audiences knew what to expect, but some commentators will have you believe that this was a strike for feminism.

However, you just have to watch a few of these type of movies to see that plenty of them contain strong women, who due to being criminals may not be obvious role models, but still aren't backwards about being forward and standing up for themselves. So in many ways, Caged Heat is quite typical, even if it does start out resembling a women in prison movie for the arthouse crowd. This is mainly due to the weird dream sequences we see the characters suffering (or enjoying), such a one where the wheelchair-bound warden, memorably played by Barbara Steele, imagines herself as able-bodied and performing a show for the jailbirds.

But after about fifteen minutes of such sequences and arty fades from white it's as if Corman said, "Alright, that's enough of that, back to business" because the traditional "we gotta get out of this place" theme begins to assert itself. The warden, McQueen, is incensed when a show put on by Pandora and Belle offends her delicate sensibilities - although the prisoners enjoy it well enough - and Pandora is put into solitary confinement as punishment for talking back when called to McQueen's office. To alleviate her time in there, Belle then takes to disappearing to the kitchens when she's supposed to be taking a shower and fetching food for her friend, which she smuggles into the solitary cell.

Meanwhile Jacqueline has made an enemy of Maggie (Juanita Brown), who's the top dog amongst the inmates and they end up having a fight in the shower. Rest assured, there's plenty of nudity, but surprisingly no lesbian subplot as the sexual aspect remains purely voyeuristic on the part of the male viewers, confined to seeing the actresses without their clothes. About halfway through Jacqueline and Maggie make an uneasy allegiance when they escape together, triggering rebellion, and the performances of the leads are pretty strong for the duration, making it frustrating when the always reliable Collins is drugged by the twisted doctor (Warren Miller) for the last part of her screen time. I don't know if Caged Heat is the best of the W.I.P. films but it is among the better ones - just don't expect it to live up to its groundbreaking reputation. Music by John Cale (yes, the Velvet Undergound John Cale).

[Caged Heat has recently be re-released in the Roger Corman Early Films Collection. This features a surprisingly clear 1.33 transfer along with Leonard Maltin interviewing Roger Corman, trailers and biographies.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 7116 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Jonathan Demme  (1944 - 2017)

American director with a exploitation beginnings who carved out a successful Hollywood career as a caring exponent of a variety of characters. Worked in the early 70s as a writer on films like Black Mama, White Mama before directing his first picture for producer Roger Corman, the women-in-prison gem Caged Heat. Demme's mainstream debut was the 1977 CB drama Handle With Care (aka Citizens Band), which were followed by such great films as the thriller Last Embrace, tenderhearted biopic Melvin and Howard, wartime drama Swing Shift, classic Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense, and black comedies Something Wild and Married to the Mob.

Demme's Thomas Harris adaptation The Silence of the Lambs was one of 1991's most successful films, making Hannibal Lecter a household name, while the worthy AIDS drama Philadelphia was equally popular. Since then, Demme has floundered somewhat - Beloved and The Truth About Charlie were critical and commercial failures, although 2004's remake of The Manchurian Candidate was a box office hit. Rachel Getting Married also has its fans, though Meryl Streep vehicle Ricki and the Flash was not a great one to go out on. He was also an advocate of the documentary form, especially music: his final release was a Justin Timberlake concert.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: