Caged (1950)

96-97 mins | Melodrama | 10 June 1950

Director:

John Cromwell

Producer:

Jerry Wald

Cinematographer:

Carl Guthrie

Editor:

Owen Marks

Production Designer:

Charles H. Clarke

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film's working titles were Locked In and The Cage . Actress Sheila Stephens' surname is misspelled "Stevens" in the opening credits. According to contemporary sources, screenwriter Virginia Kellogg, a former newspaper reporter, spent several weeks in four of the country's worst women's penitentiaries in order to gather material for the screenplay. In three, she observed from the matron's quarters, but in the fourth, she was smuggled into a cell where she lived for two weeks, according to a 14 May 1950 LAT article. The Var review commented that the film's story was "based on actual prison life incidents." Eleanor Parker won an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress for her portrayal of "Marie Allen;" Hope Emerson was nominated as Best Supporting Actress; and Kellogg and Bernard C. Schoenfeld's screenplay was also nominated for an ... More Less

The film's working titles were Locked In and The Cage . Actress Sheila Stephens' surname is misspelled "Stevens" in the opening credits. According to contemporary sources, screenwriter Virginia Kellogg, a former newspaper reporter, spent several weeks in four of the country's worst women's penitentiaries in order to gather material for the screenplay. In three, she observed from the matron's quarters, but in the fourth, she was smuggled into a cell where she lived for two weeks, according to a 14 May 1950 LAT article. The Var review commented that the film's story was "based on actual prison life incidents." Eleanor Parker won an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress for her portrayal of "Marie Allen;" Hope Emerson was nominated as Best Supporting Actress; and Kellogg and Bernard C. Schoenfeld's screenplay was also nominated for an Oscar. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 May 1950.
---
Daily Variety
2 May 50
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 May 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 49
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Sep 49
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 50
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
14 May 1950.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 May 50
p. 286.
New York Times
20 May 50
p. 8.
Variety
2 May 50
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Sheila Stephens
Gertrude Hoffman
Francis Morris
Helen Eby-Rock
Grace Hampton
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Locked In
Release Date:
10 June 1950
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 19 May 1950
Production Date:
mid July--early September 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 May 1950
Copyright Number:
LP126
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
96-97
Length(in feet):
8,672
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Among the new arrivals at the Women's State Prison is nineteen-year-old Marie Allen, who has been sentenced as an accessory in a gas station robbery during which her husband was killed. Marie's physical examination reveals that she is pregnant, and so Ruth Benton, the warden, assigns her to work as a checker in the laundry. When Evelyn Harper, the matron of Marie's cell block, who exchanges favors for money, learns that Marie has no money, she reassigns her to cleaning the cells. Marie is befriended by toughened convicts Smoochie, Kitty Stark and Claire, who reveal that, like Marie, most of the women are in prison because of men. As her pregnancy advances, Marie becomes ill. Although she will still be in jail when the baby is born, Marie hopes that her mother and stepfather will care for the child until she is paroled. Kitty suggests that Marie join her shoplifting racket when she gets out, explaining that even if she is paroled, she will be forced to stay in jail until she is offered a job. Marie, however, turns the offer down. One of the convicts then has a psychotic breakdown, and when June, another convict, is denied parole, she hangs herself. After Marie goes into early labor, the volunteer doctor expresses his disgust at prison conditions, and Benton makes a proposal to the medical board that her budget be increased. Benton is aware of Harper's sadistic treatment of the women, but her efforts to have the matron fired are always stymied by Harper's political friends. Similarly, her demands for teachers and a psychologist are denied by the prison board. ... +


Among the new arrivals at the Women's State Prison is nineteen-year-old Marie Allen, who has been sentenced as an accessory in a gas station robbery during which her husband was killed. Marie's physical examination reveals that she is pregnant, and so Ruth Benton, the warden, assigns her to work as a checker in the laundry. When Evelyn Harper, the matron of Marie's cell block, who exchanges favors for money, learns that Marie has no money, she reassigns her to cleaning the cells. Marie is befriended by toughened convicts Smoochie, Kitty Stark and Claire, who reveal that, like Marie, most of the women are in prison because of men. As her pregnancy advances, Marie becomes ill. Although she will still be in jail when the baby is born, Marie hopes that her mother and stepfather will care for the child until she is paroled. Kitty suggests that Marie join her shoplifting racket when she gets out, explaining that even if she is paroled, she will be forced to stay in jail until she is offered a job. Marie, however, turns the offer down. One of the convicts then has a psychotic breakdown, and when June, another convict, is denied parole, she hangs herself. After Marie goes into early labor, the volunteer doctor expresses his disgust at prison conditions, and Benton makes a proposal to the medical board that her budget be increased. Benton is aware of Harper's sadistic treatment of the women, but her efforts to have the matron fired are always stymied by Harper's political friends. Similarly, her demands for teachers and a psychologist are denied by the prison board. After Marie's mother refuses to take her baby, he is put up for adoption, and as Marie's parole hearing nears, Kitty renews her job offer. Despite Benton's favorable recommendation, Marie's parole is denied. Meanwhile, Elvira Powell, an enemy of Kitty's, is sent to prison. Her wealth easily buys Harper's favoritism, and she is made comfortable. Elvira tries to befriend Marie and recruit her for a call girl ring, but Marie remains loyal to Kitty. One day, while Kitty tries to train a convict in shoplifting techniques, a more hardened Marie demonstrates how easy it is to fool a spotter. Elvira then suggests that Harper inform Benton that Kitty is recruiting women for her shoplifting ring. Kitty is placed in solitary confinement and beaten. After Marie finds a lost kitten, Harper's efforts to remove it lead to a riot. As punishment, Benton rescinds all privileges for the woman and sentences Marie to solitary confinement. Without Benton's knowledge, Harper shaves Marie's head, and Benton again tries to have Harper removed from her position. Harper's friends see that her efforts backfire, and Benton is asked to resign. After Marie returns from the hospital, Kitty kills Harper with a fork. Determined to leave prison at any cost, Marie asks Elvira for help and obtains parole. Despite her efforts, Benton has been unable to reform her prisoners, and after Marie leaves, instructs her secretary to keep her file active, because "she'll be back." +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.