Saturday, June 13, 2009
Cage Without a Key (1975)
Directed Buzz Kulik. I need to show somebody this movie, or at least about ten seconds of this movie. Because while I was able to verify on the Internet that this is indeed a TV movie, and the sound is not great on the copy I have, I could swear that in one scene this woman asks a guy, "Did she tell you to fuck off?" which to me seemed peculiar for a TV movie from 1975.
I'll tell you what does not seem peculiar for this TV movie. It's AWESOME! You'd expect nothing less from director Buzz Kulik, the director of "Bad Ronald," the greatest TV movie ever. If Alfred Hitchcock was the Master of Suspense then Buzz Kulik was the Master of Bad Ronald. "Cage Without a Key" was his follow-up to "Bad Ronald" and while it's not a sequel, it's almost as if he is metaphysically channeling Ronald's journey to prison at the end of that film by showing a completely unrelated character going to prison in a completely unrelated story.
Confusing the question for me as to whether this is a TV movie is that it came to me titled "Imprisoned Women" (see image icon above), which in it's own way is a much better title. In this movie there are many imprisoned women, who are indeed stored in cells not unlike cages but, in the interest of accuracy seem unquestionably to operate quite reasonably with keys even if the women are not provided access to the keys. Being imprisoned and all.
Anyway. Susan Dey is the imprisoned woman of central interest here and I'm not sure why it is not until my 40s that I've realized just how good looking she was. A little too skinny, but what a beauty. The demands on her acting in this particular flick change with the three acts. In act one she is naive and foolish. Act two involves a lot of crying and carrying on as she assimilates with imprisonment. In act three, she becomes hardened because society has failed her. It's all very distressing, except for the part about her being quite fetching.
I won't ruin the ending, although if you see a lot of movies from this period, you probably know what happens to an African-American when whitey go and be friends.