Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Big Bird Cage (1972)

Director: Jack Hill

Starring: Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Anitra Ford, Candice Roman, Teda Bracci, Carol Speed

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Women so hot with desire they melt the chains that enslave them!

Plot: The girlfriend of a radical guerilla leader named Django (Sid Haig), buxom bad girl Blossom (Pam Grier) and her man devise a plan to liberate the inmates of a local women's prison when Django's mercenary friends itch for some female companionship. With the help of a nymphomaniac inmate (Anitra Ford), Blossom and Django go up against a tyrannical warden (Andres Centenera) to stage an explosive breakout.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

#58 on Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

The words, "Written & Directed by Jack Hill" mean an awful lot in B-movie circles. He wrote & directed SWITCHBLADE SISTERS (1975) for cryin' out loud so this cat knows how to make an entertaining movie on a small budget. His characters are fun, the action is good and the pacing healthy and there's rarely a dull moment.

The last picture I watched, WOMEN IN CAGES (1971), the lovely Pam Grier didn't fare so well. There's a world of difference in her acting between these two flicks. Her performances are as far apart as what you'd get from George Luca$ and Quentin Tarantino. She's a hoot in CAGE, though. But the real star performance was Sid Haig. He's hilarious. When he pretends to be gay (all of the guards are) to get a job at the prison, I about lost my shit. He plays stereotypical movie gay a little too easily and I loved every minute of it.

Hill's Women in Prison story is different than what the genre typically spit out. Even though the 'revolutionary' aspect was hokey, I dug it because that idea and the picture didn't take itself too seriously. And the Philippines location shooting is gorgeous. William Loose's score was fun. There were more than a few spots that reminded me of the music he wrote for Russ Meyer's pictures.

I don't know who the guy is that voices the trailer but I absolutely love that man's work. He's got that Orson Welles intensity thing goin' on that just cracks me up every single time. Classic.

I think this may have been the inspiration for the "Greased-Up Deaf Guy" on FAMILY GUY.
Seriously, she's covered in chicken grease.

One of the better entries in the Women in Prison genre, THE BIG BIRD CAGE is an entertaining flick and a great little picture to kill 96 minutes. It's at the beginning of the spat of WiP films that flooded the market in the 1970s/80s and it's a prime example of how a talent like Jack Hill can produce so much with so little.

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