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Marie (Maria Rohm) is thrown into a women's prison for murdering one of her
rapists in self defense. But in prison - naturally - there is no such thing as
innocence & the prison Marie is thrown in is particularly bad. It's run by
superintendent Thelma (Mercedes McCambridge) who loves to whip girls or chain
them up, & frequently lends out her prisoners, especially the blond ones
(like Marie) to gouvernor Santos (Herbert Lom) of the neighbouring all-male
'So soon, for some minor subordinance, Marie is chained up, whipped
& forced to have lesbian sex with Zoe (Rosalba Neti) ... but then a new
superintendent, Miss Carroll (Maria Schell) comes to the prison to take over
from Thelma, & Miss Carroll is filled with humanity & sympathy for the
poor girls, especially Marie, whom she promises to have her case revised ...
Thelma nor Santos like the humane methods of the new superintendent though, so
they try to make up a plot to get rid of her. & even Marie turns against
Miss Carroll when her case is not reopened in court, so she soon becomes part
of an escape plan, cooked up by co-convicts Helga (Elisa Montés) &
Roasalie (Valentina Godoy), & before long the three of them make it over
the wall & into the surrounding jungle ... but eventually they cross paths
with a gang of male convicts, who, sex-starved as they are, promptly kill their
guards & go after the girls, & eventually they manage to capture,
gang-rape & kill Rosalie.
Helga & Marie though make it to a little
village where they plan to steal a boat to flee ... but they are already
expected by gouvernor Santos, who with the girls has finally a means of getting
rid of superintendent Carroll, all fair & square ...
was Jess Franco's first foray into the women in prison genre, & it was a
smashing success in both Europe & America. Over the next 15 years or so,
Franco would revisit the genre again & again, with only slight alterations
in the basic plotline. Compared to his later women in prison pictures though
(e.g. Women in Cellblock 9,
Love Camp, Sadomania),
this one is rather restrained & more story- than sleaze-oriented.
Unfortunately this also makes the movie a tad dull since the story is not all
that good & rather predictable. As the baddies, both Mercedes McCambridge
& herbert Lom are great though.
To add a little extra-oomph to the proceedings, a version of the film was
later distributed with some tacked-on hardcore material that had little to do
with the actual film (& was not filmed by Franco).