When two troublemaking female prisoners (one a revolutionary, the other a former harem-girl) can't seem to get along, they are chained together and extradited for safekeeping. The women, ... See full summary »
Terry, a social-climbing young woman accidentally gets caught up in the activities of two revolutionaries, Blossom and Django, and finds herself in a concentration camp for women. In the center of the camp is a towering wooden machine ("The Big Bird Cage") in which the women risk their lives processing sugar as the evil warden looks on. The prisoners are subjected to sadistic cruelty from the guards and fellow prisoners, and all attempts at escape are dealt with...permanently. Terry's only hope for escape lies in Blossom and her revolutionary allies.Written by
Jonathan Ruskin <JonRuskin@aol.com>
This film was passed by uncut, rated 18, in the UK by the BBFC in 2000. It was previously cut by 2 minutes 45 seconds and lost footage from the rape and beating of Terry, and the entire torture of Blossom. See more »
There is a curious theme of homosexuality throughout the majority of Women In Prison (WIP) flicks. Usually there'll be a lesbian character in the sadistic warden - for the warden is ALWAYS sadistic - who is often a lesbian, like in "The Big Doll House" (this one's predecessor) and "Women In Cages", or it's one of the inmates, like the Sybil Danning character in "Chained Heat", who will protect the young ingenue from the prison gangs if she'll just scrub her back in the shower.
"The Big Bird Cage" is the only one I can remember seeing in which there are no lesbians, but there are gay men. It's notable for a scene where Sid Haig, that dependable b-movie stalwart who had a renaissance with Rob Zombie, pretends to be gay to con his way into the prison camp by flirting with the guards.
It's also notable for an inexplicable lack of shower scenes - though there is one point where women cover their naked bodies with chicken fat and streak through the camp in an escape attempt! This provides some of the first full-frontal nudity I have seen in the genre. The filmmakers were apparently slow to realise that shower scenes were the WIP subgenre main draw; they're pretty much the only reason anyone watches these movies now.
The only other thing I can think of to say about "The Big Bird Cage" is that it barely seems to qualify as "prison" movie; there are no bars on the windows or cells, and no high prison wall. It's set in what is more like a forced labour camp, which kept reminding me of Pol Pot's genocidal "re-education" program.
So it's an outlier for a few reasons, but none of them are particularly engaging.
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