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Women in prison films
Related: damsel in distress - prison - sadistic warden trope - women
Films: Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS
The genre of women-in-prison movies, typically relegated to late-night sleaze fest cable and offbeat guides to B favorites, can offer feminist cultural critics juicy fare for deconstructive antics. While presenting glimpses into the murky realm of”B” film making and exploitation schlock, these films also provide us with intimations of the unspoken, entrée into forbidden realms, insight into film's location as contradictory of changing social relations. -- Suzanna Danuta Walters in The (R)evolution of Women-in-Prison Films; Reel Knockouts: Violent Women in the Movies edited by Martha McCaughey, Neal King (2001), page 106
Women in prison films are a subgenre of exploitation film.
Perhaps the best explanation for women in prison films' notoriety is that it is a cinematized version of the "men's adventure" subgenre of pulp fiction. Nazis tormenting damsels in distress were perennial favourite subjects for the lurid, sub-pornographic covers of sensationalistic "true adventure" magazines such as Argosy in the 1950s and 1960s; the film seeks to be a more explicit version of the same sort of sexual fantasy.
The most well-known example of the women in prison film is perhaps Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_prison_films [Apr 2005]
Only two films from the 1970s, Love Camp 7 [Lee Frost, 1969] (rejected in 2002) and Women in Cellblock 9 [Jess Franco, 1977] (rejected in 2004), both of which contain substantial scenes of sexual violence, have remained completely banned following a re-submission since 2000. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Board_of_Film_Classification#Attitudes_to_censorship [Jul 2005]
Men's adventurePerhaps the best explanation for its [Women in Prison films] notoriety is that it is a cinematized version of the "men's adventure" subgenre of pulp fiction. Nazis tormenting damsels in distress were perennial favourite subjects for the lurid, sub-pornographic covers of sensationalistic "true adventure" magazines such as Argosy in the 1950s and 1960s; the film seeks to be a more explicit version of the same sort of sexual fantasy. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilsa:_She-Wolf_of_the_SS [Apr 2005]
Women and Prison Film
A brief and selective overview of developments in the U.S. and the U.K. 1922 - 2003
There are few surviving instances of film depictions of women's experience of prison in early part of the 20th century. The earliest film of any significance to address this topic would appear to have been the 1922 film Manslaughter, directed by Cecil B. DeMille. This looked at the reformation whilst in prison of a "society-girl thrillseeker". According to Crowther (1989), however, the film with the first real of idea of a women's prison came with the U.S. film Prisoners (1929), directed by William A. Seiter, which, though set in Hungary, was about a waitress serving a 7 month sentence for stealing money.
--http://www.theprisonfilmproject.com/topics/womenprisonfilm.htm, [May 2004]
- The Big Doll House (1971) - Jack Hill [Amazon.com]
See entry for Jack Hill"I will always remember when the franchise holder in New Orleans, a heavily Catholic city, told me that after he saw the numbers on Big Doll House Friday night, he lit a candle in church on Sunday to the film. He said he had never made a profit like that in his life - and he had been in the business forty years."- Roger Corman, How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime, p 182.
- Caged Heat (1974) - Jonathan Demme [Amazon.com]
See entry for Jonathan Demme
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