Girls in Prison (1956)
By: J.R. McNamara on November 30, 2010  | 
DVD
Dark Horse Entertainment | All Regions, PAL | 4:3 | English DD 2.0 Mono | 90 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Edward L. Cahn
Starring: Joan Taylor, Richard Denning
Screenplay: Lou Rusoff
Country: USA
External Links
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One can not discuss the history of American exploitation films without American International Pictures (AIP) and its co-owner Samuel Arkoff being a major part of the conversation. Arkoff, who launched the careers of people such as Roger Corman, was responsible for well over 300 films, most of which were aimed at lowest common denominator viewers, like you, me and the rest of those horror, sleaze and cheese lovers. As a producer Arkoff knew how to get a buck out of people and very early on came up with a formula to make movies that would easily return a profit: combine action, controversial themes, violence, notable speeches, common-man fantasies and a touch of sex appeal.

He used this formula to great effect in 1956's Girls In Prison. This film tells the tale of Anne Carson, who is imprisoned for her involvement in a bank robbery, in which she is accused of keeping the money, and hiding it. She is imprisoned for five years for her crime, and when the other inmates find out that she perhaps is hiding the money, they try various nefarious ways of finding out where it is from her - the only thing is she maintains that she doesn't have it, no matter what pressure she is put under.

Meanwhile, her father, who pretends to be disabled to get county benefits, has another member of the bank robbery gang stay with him as he believes Anne has the cash as well. Threats of violence escalate until an earthquake gives some of the inmates an opportunity to escape, and take Anne with them to get the hidden cache of cash.

Of course this all leads to a cataclysmic ending that will shock all who see it! Well, in 1956 anyways.

This film is directed by Edward L. Cahn, who, if not for his untimely death in 1963 could have been a competitor for sheer output rivaling Corman. At one point, he was making a film every 2 months, his best known being scifi spectacular It! The Terror From Beyond Space, a film that has been labeled a prototype for Ridley Scott's Alien. The male lead, a kindly priest who befriends the Anne character, is played by Richard Denning, who may be best known by cult film fans as Dr Mark Williams from 1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Now to be honest, there is nothing wrong with this film, except for the fact that it has dated terribly. The acting sits somewhere between soap opera, high school musicals (both the films and the actual musicals) and Channel 31 international melodramas but it fits the period and is not distracting in the slightest.

As a look at exploitation films of this period, and particularly of Women In Prison films in general, it sits highly as an example but won't be one you'd pull out regularly to watch again and again, such as something with Linda Blair or Pam Grier's boobs in it.
Video
For a film that is over 50 years old, it looks pretty good. It is a black and white feature, presented in 4:3 with only the slightest damage, artifact or otherwise.
Audio
This film is presented in 2.0, but it is a pretty sweet sounding film for its age.
Extra Features
The main menu has the following selections: Play Movie… and that's it. There are no extras here, I am afraid, not even subtitles.
The Verdict
Sure this film has history, and should be in any WIP fans collection, but it will be a token, one watch special. No shower scene, no nipples and no broomsticks.

How things have changed...
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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