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House of Women (1962)

Drama about a young woman, Erica, who is wrongly implicated in a crime and sent to prison for five years, where she faces deplorable conditions. With the aid of the warden, she sets out to prove her innocence.


Walter Doniger, Crane Wilbur (uncredited)


Crane Wilbur


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Shirley Knight ... Erica Hayden
Andrew Duggan ... Warden Frank Cole
Constance Ford ... Sophie Brice
Barbara Nichols ... Candy Kane
Margaret Hayes ... Zoe Stoughton
Jeanne Cooper ... Helen Jennings
Virginia Gregg ... Mrs. Edith Hunter
Patricia Huston Patricia Huston ... Doris Jones
Jason Evers ... Dr. F.M. Conrad
Jennifer Howard ... Addie Gates
Caroline Richter Caroline Richter ... Clemens
Gayla Graves ... Jackie Lynch
Colette Jackson Colette Jackson ... Aggie
Jacqueline Scott ... Mrs. Stevens
Paul Lambert ... Richard Dunn


Sentenced to 5 years in prison, Erica Hayden is most worried about her unborn child's future. At this prison, they allow the women to keep their children until age 3 but at that point they must be given to a friend or relative outside the prison or surrendered to State authorities who will arrange an adoption. She tries desperately to find someone and the prison doctor even tries to help her out. One person who isn't keen on the arrangement is the new prison warden, Frank Cole, who thinks prison is no place for young children. Her only hope is that she will get parole after three years but when it's refused and her child is taken away without even giving her the chance to say goodbye, the women stage a riot. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Secrets of the cells! Shame of inmates! Babies born in jails! Innocents thrown in with female bully-boys!!!! See more »


Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

6 September 1962 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Motín de mujeres See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bryan Foy Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Walter Doninger was fired ten days into filming and replaced by Crane Wilbur. See more »


The newspapers repeatedly misidentify the prison as the "State Prison For Women" instead of the "State Penal Institution For Women" as seen on the gate plaque and warden's letterhead. See more »


Sophie Brice: [to Helen Jennings] What do you use for a heart, a sewer pump?
See more »


Referenced in Sweet Trash (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

This Warden is a real jerk-face!
23 July 2017 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Shirley Knight plays Erica, a young pregnant woman who is being incarcerated in state prison. The rules of the prison are that women can keep their children up to age three...and Erica hopes that she can get paroled before her child is over this age limit...otherwise, the child will be put up for adoption!! So, to present herself as good as possible, Erica is a model inmate. She's so good that she's chosen to work as a maid in the Warden's house. But the Warden (Andrew Duggan) is a total misfit...a screwed up man who is much more interested in making Erica his plaything instead of helping her with parole. With this and a very, very hard hand with the women, anger, resentment and rage is building up in the inmates.

In many ways, this is a very good film. The women are not lesbian caricatures like they often would be in later prison movies and the film actually does a good job of portraying the women rather realistically. However, the film also occasionally lapses into dumbness...like they needed to re-write a few things but never got around to it. In particular, the scene where the child dies is utterly ridiculous and otherwise mars a decent film. The scene just makes no sense whatsoever...who would put a nursery on an upper floor and why leave the door wide open so a child could crawl out to their death?!?! Pretty dumb. It's also a bit hard to believe a Warden as screwy as this one and with his family background would exist...see the film and see what I mean.

Overall, the film is worth seeing...even with a few lapses in the writing. As it is, it's very good...but could have been better...easily. Plus, it sort of conveys an interesting message...sometimes violence IS the answer!!

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