Friday, 3 July 2015

GIRLS IN PRISON












d. Edward L. Cahn (1956)

There’s not much to distinguish Girls In Prison as anything other than a very generic b-movie: a mass stabbing, perhaps, a slight allusion to lesbianism, an earthquake that facilitates an escape, a prison chaplain who is a bit too interested in one of the new inmates. Much of the film is just as you’d expect, and given the advanced ages of most of the cast, the definition of 'girls' is fairly loose, to say the least.

The best thing in it is Adele Jergens as Jenny, top dog and matriarch of the prison. Jenny is fairly genial most of the time, even likeable and kind, but is hard as nails when it comes down to tin tacks, a gun wielding, wavy peroxided, scarlet lipped force of nature. She’s absolutely gorgeous, even when chewing gum whilst simultaneously smoking a cigarette (actually, especially when chewing gum whilst simultaneously smoking a cigarette). The film would be almost insufferably dull without her.
After an hour and twenty minutes of molasses slow mayhem, the film climaxes in a bruising brawl and a gun fight. It’s a good way to end any drama, I find. After the dust has settled and the wonderful Jenny has gone the way of all pistol packing mama's, we end on a close up of a church steeple while some quasi-religious music plays, as if God has in some way been responsible for the restoring the balance of law and order. Rubbish. God was not responsible, although maybe he set off the earthquake to punish some other sinners in the general area. As for the rest, omniscient he may be, but micro management is not exactly his style. 

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