Prison Girls (1972 USA)

A bunch of female inmates get a weekend pass from St Helena prison. These jail birds are supposed to go out into the real world to secure jobs for when they are released. But they prefer tracking down their husbands and boyfriends to get it on. If you don’t mind the stench of some slightly grainy, slightly unclean cinematography on display then you may enjoy one of the greatest ever shower scenes to be put on celluloid. After Norman Bates and Marion Crane’s one of course. Anyway, how can I be rude about a flick that kicks off with a six-way (count em) cat fight? The 94 minutes pass like three hours but I can forgive that. We’re talking broads who are buck nekkid here so obviously this post is NSFW. (Just kidding)

Up first is Kay, who was in for prostitution. She means to be done with the life, but first she has to go pick up a small fortune in skanky clothes from her boyfriend and former pimp, Mike. She comes home to find that he has two new girls, and these two bitches she’s never seen before have been helping themselves to her stuff in her absence. Kay makes a big show of objecting to being treated thusly, but from the way she and Mike fall into bed together after he makes the other girls doff the stolen duds, I don’t think St. Helena has seen the last of her.

Now let’s skip ahead to Joyce. She’s doing time for stabbing her worthless, abusive husband, and the unfinished business she means to attend to during her 48 hours on the outside concerns her brother-in-law, Ken. Unlike his brother, Ken was always unfailingly decent to Joyce, even to the point of siding with her over his own family in the aftermath of the murder. Joyce is confused and a little pissed off she hasn’t heard from him for so long. When she drops in on him at his auto repair garage, Ken explains that he thought it would be best if he left Joyce alone, even though he didn’t want to; he felt like he owed his no-good brother that.

It’s obvious to us, although Joyce is perhaps only just starting to catch on, that Ken has been in unrequited love with his sister-in-law since probably the day his brother introduced them, but this isn’t going to be the tender reconciliation that might normally imply. Just as Ken and Joyce start moving in that direction, a bunch of his friends barge in with trouble on their minds. These are the local chapter of some outlaw biker gang, and when their leader, Hawk, sees Joyce, he decides that the afternoon simply won’t be complete without a nice gang-rape. And when he realizes that Ken has feelings for the victim, he insists that his friend enjoy the ‘honour’ of going first. This is where things get very 1972: in other words, not very feminist.

Finally, let’s meet Cindy (Uschi Digard super Aryan sex symbol of the 70s). She’s the girl Jack the prison warden was thinking of when he put tails on all the recuperating prisoners, and she does indeed lead the cops straight to Johnny’s safe house.  Johnny knows he’s in big trouble, and now that Cindy is back on the outside, he wants her to go on the run with him. Cindy, however, is dead serious about this whole rehabilitation thing, and tries to talk him into turning himself in. After all, he waited for Cindy; it’s only fair that she be prepared to wait for him to serve his time, too. The discussion is cut short, though, when those cops following Cindy make their presence felt. This being an exploitation movie from the 70’s, it was probably inevitable that the final segment (apart from the scene at the prison that wraps up the framing story) would not come to a happy ending. Apparently, Prison Girls is hotter than Satan’s bollocks if you are lucky enough to watch it in 3-D. Alas, I don’t have 3-D glasses.


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