HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
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
   
 
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
   
 
  Weak and the Wicked, The Care of Cell 44
Year: 1954
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Glynis Johns, John Gregson, Diana Dors, Olive Sloane, Rachel Roberts, Jane Hylton, Athene Seyler, Jean Taylor Smith, Cecil Trouncer, Ursula Howells, Edwin Styles, Sid James, Eliot Makeham, Joan Haythorne, Sybil Thorndyke, Sandra Dorne, Irene Handl
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jean Raymond (Glynis Johns) has been sentenced to a twelve month prison sentence for her dealings in fraud, a case she was hoping would fall apart but that has not happened, and now she faces the public shame of incarceration. After the judge tells her the fate she will face, she is taken to below to meet with her boyfriend Michael (John Gregson), who she has trouble speaking to she is so upset, and asks him if he can secure her some makeup, since that is hard to come by where she is going. Once she has managed a terse goodbye, she is escorted to a holding cell where the next year begins to sink in - but she's not alone, for in the cell is someone else who has been sentenced, Betty Brown (Diana Dors), a new friend.

In the nineteen-fifties, the women in prison genre was not what it would become by the seventies, that was an excuse for titillation and cheap thrills, as there was still an attempt at treating the subject seriously and not something designed for male viewers to pruriently enjoy the sight of all women together and getting up to all sorts. This was one such example, and part of the reason it was so dedicated to understanding the unfortunates who ended up behind bars was that its writer had suffered the same ordeal. She was Joan Henry, and thanks to a gambling problem had been in the same circumstances as the Jean character, she was clearly a surrogate for her; not only that but her husband was the director, J. Lee Thompson, who obviously had an interest in the subject so close to his wife's heart.

Therefore a social problem picture was on offer, with selected inmates given the benefit of a flashback all the better to understand their dilemmas, all drawn from the people Henry met when she was inside and had penned a book about (with the decidedly less sensational title of Who Lie in Gaol). Jean was up first for that treatment where we can see she was framed, but also that she couldn't pay her debts anyway so was not going to protest her sentence when things could have been even worse, and here we also got to see what a terribly nice chap Michael was, strongly intended to mark out the path of the straight and narrow should Jean choose to follow it (and him). Oddly, Betty didn't get a flashback, no matter that rising star Dors was basically the co-lead, but it was an ensemble effort in some ways.

Dors would win a better role from Henry and Thompson shortly after when she took the lead in Yield to the Night, based on the Ruth Ellis case of the last woman to be executed in Britain, but here she was more blowsy and less grave, though that said she couldn’t be too cheery and had to break down in tears at least once, just to show prison is no picnic. Olive Sloane's character might disagree, a career shoplifter whose entire family are banged up, one of two lighter hearted sequences, the other being a black comedy reading of two old ladies (Athene Seyler and Dame Sybil Thorndyke) who plot to kill one of their obnoxious husbands only to see their plans go awry, all very Ealing. But in the main this was misery-based.

And centred on the misery of Jean, as she is shamefaced throughout about her situation, not to mention not all the authorities having the inmates’ best interests at heart. One foreign jailbird (the tragically short-lived Simone Silva) is victimised by a warden, which leads her to try to stab her with scissors in the sewing room, but proving this was still Johns' big role, she is the one who gets cut in the melee and sent to the prison hospital where we realise this is an excuse to tell the tales of what happens if you're pregnant or a young mother while inside. The flashback we get here is about a neglectful parent (Jane Hylton) whose baby died (though it does look like cot death), yet time and again we are questioned on our idea that women prisoners are the "wicked" of the title, or actually simply "weak". The last act sees Jane and Betty in an experimental open prison, a pleading for a more liberal service for sentenced females, but this operates just as well as a straight drama. Music by Leighton Lucas.

[A decent print on Network's DVD, and trailers and a gallery as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2065 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

J. Lee Thompson  (1914 - 2002)

Veteran British director frequently in Hollywood, usually with stories featuring an adventure or thriller slant. Among his many films, including a number of Charles Bronson movies, are Yield to the Night, Ice Cold in Alex, North West Frontier, the original Cape Fear, Tiger Bay, The Guns of Navarone, What a Way To Go!, Eye of the Devil, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes and Happy Birthday to Me.

 
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: