Framed by her vicious drug-dealing boyfriend, Rudy, innocent Carol "Jeff" Jeffries finds herself behind bars in a dark Philippine prison somewhere in the lush jungles of Manila. There, always under the thumb of the sadistic lesbian warden, Alabama, Jeff comes face-to-face with the cruel reality and the extreme conditions of the hellish jail, forced to endure daily humiliation and brutal torture. In the past, many have tried to escape Alabama's horrible purgatory; however, all have failed. Can Jeff and the dirty inmates of Devil's Island pull off a brazen prison break?Written by
The character Alabama in True Romance (1993) was named after Pam Grier's character in this film. In the original script, Clarence even mentions that the name sounds like a Pam Grier Character. See more »
What kind of hell did you crawl out of?
It was called Harlem, baby. I learned to survive, never have pity. This game is called survival. Let's see how well you can play it. I was strung-out behind smack at ten and worked in the streets when I was twelve. You've got a long way to go.
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West German theatrical version was reedited by the distributor to include hardcore sex scenes. See more »
American B-film companies found in the Philippines a cheap, plentiful supply of labour and locations for their tropical drive-in sleazefests. Admittedly these exploitation films are an acquired taste and a dubious form of entertainment; however they mark an important cultural milestone as the first features where a black actress, even playing a prison moll or topless revolutionary, is given a lead role of any substance. Director Jack Hill started the eightball rolling when he shot The Big Doll House in 1971, set in a nameless Latin American prison but filmed in the Filipino jungle. Unseen in Australia since the early 70s, the film featured a mixed cast of local and American exploitation regulars, but it's remembered as the first high-profile role for the later Queen of Blaxploitation, Pam Grier.
Legend has it that Sam Arkoff, head of American International Pictures saw a statuesque Grier at his company switchboard and cast her on the spot for her breakthrough hit Coffy. That, as they say, is bull shee-it. The former beauty queen made her film debut in 1970 as an extra in Russ Meyer's big breast bonanza Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, and appeared in a number of B-pics shot in the Philippines the following year for AiP's rival company, Roger Corman's New World Pictures. Alongside her role as the tough-as-nails prostitute in Big Doll House were supports in the horror flick The Twilight People and as a topless hooker (again!) in Cool Breeze, then back behind bars for Women In Cages.
In Women In Cages, Grier plays the sadistic warden for once, a pot-smoking lesbian with a fully-equipped torture chamber (including a guillotine!). The 'New Fish' (a recent inmate, for you prison film novices), a ditzy blonde ex-stripper called Alabama, has taken the heroin possession rap for her pimp boyfriend. She knows too much, so the pimp blackmails her cellmates to execute her. A competent and well-shot entry in the tropical prison genre from Filipino director Gerry De Leon, it places the embittered ex-addict and prostitute Grier in the position of slave owner, watching her white charges toiling away in the plantation with obvious ironic glee.
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