HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  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 9145 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: