Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
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
  Mafu Cage, The Take These Chains
Year: 1977
Director: Karen Arthur
Stars: Lee Grant, Carol Kane, Will Geer, James Olson, Budar, William Sherwood
Genre: Horror, Drama, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Now that their beloved father has died, Ellen (Lee Grant), an astronomer working at the nearby observatory, and her sister Cissy (Carol Kane) live alone in an isolated, sprawling mansion. Cissy is a virtual recluse who spends her days reminsicing about their childhood in Africa where the women's anthropologist father worked with native tribes. This means Cissy's llfe revolves around her pet ape, which she calls Mafu, conducting her own ceremonies and drawing many pictures of apes and African-related subjects, but all this can't last as Cissy is sliding into insanity. Ellen is attempting to progress with a relationship with colleague David (James Olson), but will Cissy keep dragging her back home?

The Mafu Cage was adapted for the screen from the French Eric Wesphal play Toi es Tes Nuages, or You and Your Clouds to translate, by Don Chastain, and seems to leave an impression on all who see it, even if it's just, "I'm never watching that again!" It's in the genre of hothouse melodrama, with the two sisters sharing a close but damaging bond which grows close to being incestuous, although this is never explicit, confined to the odd scene of kissing and cuddling. I don't know how this was staged in the theatre, but Cissy has a habit of killing off whichever current Mafu is in the cage, just as Ellen returns home near the beginning of the film to find that her sister has killed the pet ape.

Uptight Ellen does not feel the affection towards animals that Cissy does, but doesn't wish to kill them either, yet somehow within days they have secured a replacement thanks to Cissy's threats of suicide if she doesn't get her way, Ellen being too weak willed to turn her down. If you only know Kane from the likes of television sitcom Taxi, you might know she can be an eccentric performer, but nothing prepares you for her role here where she is utterly convincing as a psychotic. She screams, dances to her tapes of African music, alternates between sweetness and all-out hysteria and adopts the word "DUMBSHIT!" as a catchphrase whenever things don't go her way. What Cissy needs is professional help, but Ellen is reluctant to admit there is a problem, to her cost.

Zom (Will Geer) is a friend of the family who happens to own an animal sanctuary and unaware that Cissy bumped off her previous pet ape, turns up at the door with a new one, an orang-utan (Cissy doesn't seem bothered that orang-utans aren't from Africa - maybe he was all the production could get). The ape is immediately named Mafu and Cissy takes it to the cage where she locks it in. Later, she lets it out and plays with it in the garden - marvel at unsettling scenes where Kane pours wine into the ape's mouth when kissing it - but already her madness is taking over and it's not long before she has whipped it to death with a length of chain (I'm assuming the real orang-utan, who oddly receives an "and introducing Budar" credit, was unharmed). Now denied a pet, Cissy graduates to humans when David arrives to see Ellen while she is away on a trip, and more tragedy is just around the corner. As a study of how the emotionally and psychologically needy can tip the balance over into terrorising those they depend on, The Mafu Cage is memorable, but Kane's performance will either elicit fascination or fingernails down the blackboard frustration in viewers. Music by Roger Kellaway.

Aka: My Sister My Love, The Cage
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 8657 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

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
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: