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Caged (1950)

Caged, is a Film Noir from 1950, a gritty expose that was part of the 50's socially aware movement in films.

Screen writer, Former LA Times reporter Virginia Kellogg actually had her self locked up to experience prison life first hand. She then wrote a book about her time in prison called, Women without Men. Warner Brothers then hired her to write the script for Caged. The movie plays like her personal diary of the corruption and abuse of a women's prison. She was nominated for an Academy Award for best Screen Play.

Elanor Parker I find her to be excellent in most all of her movies. Here she plays a frightened 19 year old girl who's sent to prison for being an accessory to a robbery that her husband committed. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actresses.

The film could have went with the tired cliche of an innocent girl locked away for a crime she didn't commit...But the film intelligently decides not to say she's innocent, instead if focuses on how the prison system hardens a first time offender.

Each of the women prisoners have their own backstory as to why she was stuck in the jail system. Prisons might not be like this today, but a half century ago they were ripe with corruption and abuse. In a small way, films like Caged help to bring about prison reforms.

This is a little known film that deserves more attention.