HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Nightwing
Shadow of the Hawk
Month of Single Frames, A
Last Moment of Clarity
Fukushima 50
Dreams on Fire
Sing as We Go!
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead 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 7892 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
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: