Caged 1950

Caged

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83%

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User Ratings: 608

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Movie Info

Pregnant nineteen-year old Marie Allen (Eleanor Parker) is sentenced to prison as an accessory to robbery. The warden, Ruth Benton (Agnes Moorehead), dedicated to reforming even the most hardened of the prisoners, deals fairly with Marie, even upon learning of her condition. The naïve Marie comes up against tough block matron Evelyn Harper (Hope Emerson) and must decide whether accepting the friendship of the toughest prisoners will rub off on her and affect the future of her unborn child.

Cast

Eleanor Parker
as Marie Allen
Hope Emerson
as Evelyn Harper
Agnes Moorehead
as Ruth Benton
Betty Garde
as Kitty Stark
Jan Sterling
as Smoochie
Lee Patrick
as Elvira Powell
Jane Darwell
as Isolation Matron
Queenie Smith
as Mrs. Warren
Frances Morris
as Mrs. Foley
Edith Evanson
as Miss Barker
Yvonne Rob
as Elaine
Eileen Stevens
as Infirmary Nurse
Grace Hayes
as Mugging Matton
Taylor Holmes
as Sen. Donnolly
Don Beddoe
as Commissioner Walker
George Baxter
as Jeffries
Guy Beach
as Mr. Cooper
Harlan Warde
as Dr. Ashton
Eva Nelson
as Inmate
William Haade
as Laundryman
Ruth Warren
as Miss Lyons
Pauline Drake
as Doctor's Wife
Gracille LaVinder
as Visiting Room Matron
Billy Wayne
as Ada's Father
Doris Whitney
as Woman Visitor
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Critic Reviews for Caged

All Critics (2) | Fresh (1) | Rotten (1)

  • Deemed harsh in 1950, Cromwell's melodrama about women in prison has lost its edge but the acting of Agnes Moorehead and Hope Emerson, as a monstrously facist matron, is good; the film still offers valuable lesson about how life in prison makes criminals

    April 20, 2007 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • Ranked as the best women-in-prison film ever made, but even if this is so it still doesn't make it very good.

    November 3, 2004 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Caged

  • Aug 24, 2018
    At the beginning of this film, a naïve 19 year old woman (Eleanor Parker) enters prison for being with her husband when he committed a robbery. It's apparent from the outset that she's a good person who got a tough break, but soon she's subjected to a demeaning search, and then in the general population. The other prisoners, led by a 'queen bee' (Betty Garde) size her up quickly as a nice person, and look out for her, although Garde also begins trying to recruit her into a career of shoplifting for when she gets paroled. As the film plays out, there are some aspects that seem unlikely, e.g. the woman breaking down after only three days of solitary confinement, and the warden entering the prison area behind bars fearlessly, quelling a riot by simply shouting "Stop it!" There is also a bit of toughness missing, with little real threat from other prisoners, who all seem relatively decent in spite of some of the crimes they've committed. Aspects like drug use were censored, and there isn't any diversity either. For a good part of the film, I confess that even though I knew it was well made, it didn't really engage me. On the other hand, the film delivers on its critiques of the prison system, including exposing the politics of punishing people, when what's good for society is rehabilitation, but the public sees inmates as animals in a zoo. It also shows the corruption and cruelty that come with power over others. The visuals are stark and pretty realistic looking, and the dialogue is snappy. Hope Emerson turns in a great performance as the prison matron who takes matters into her own hands to mete out extra punishment, as well as run a corrupt racket on the side. Parker is strong too, evolving from a shy nice girl to a hardened prisoner. Both would get Oscar nominations, and they were deserved. I also liked Jan Sterling as 'Smoochie', the C.P., or common prostitute, who starts many lines with 'I got news for you.' Overall the film's message is one advocating prison reform, that excessive toughness on prisoners is not only inhumane but produces the wrong result, and that extra resources ought to be put into things like education. Agnes Moorehead as the prison warden advocates these things, and is a nice counterpoint to Emerson's character. The balance in the prisoners is probably stilted a little too much to general decency, we just don't see any serious depravity here. There is one big moment that is an exception, but even then it seems justified. One can see why the combination of these things had prison wardens upset all over the country when the film was released. I liked how the film explored some of the causes behind women's crimes, including the role of men in their lives, and abusive men in particular. At the same time, it doesn't make excuses. Ultimately Parker's character has a choice, emphasized by an old inmate (wonderfully played by 79-year-old Gertrude Hoffmann), who gives her some sage advice: "Before you get any bright ideas, listen to me. I had a first time like you, but I can't remember how long ago. Then the second rap, then the third. Now I'm a lifer. I'll be 71 soon. Been a con 40 years, and you know what I think? Nobody got cheated but me. Forty years taken away. So I'm giving it to you straight. Wait a year on dead time, but get a legit job slinging hash. Then, get a good guy, have a kid. What I'd give for a sink full of dirty dishes." This is a movie that may sneak up on you, and it has a very strong, powerful ending, one which nudged my review score up.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 29, 2016
    Good stuff as we are taken to a tour of the real hard time, the cooler, the slammer, the joint, behind bars with ... well, a pretty okay collection of ladies considering. Even the repeat offenders seem tame in this offering. Only the head matron in this is bad news, her sadistic ways making your girls-next-door tougher than hydraulic jackhammers. A depiction of what's it like inside that'll seem dated, though still good to watch and that without the expected shower rape scenes.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 19, 2013
    It's actually pretty funny cause I just finished watching Orange is the new black and decided to watch this movie not because it's about women in prison (hell I didn't know the movie is about that) but just because I feel like wanting to watch this. I've been keeping this movie for 2 months and didn't have chance to see it until now. It's pretty good movie, Eleanor Parker was amazing here. I feel like it could be better but it's still a good movie never the less.
    Cita W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2009
    Great womens prison movie
    Brody M Super Reviewer

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