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Bad Girls Behind Bars

Wed 31 May 2006 In: Movies

Review: Bad Girls Behind Bars Dir: Sharon Zurek USA, 2005, Beta SP This would have been more fun with more people there. We did try to shout out 'new fish' and 'hit girl' but our efforts were pretty feeble. We wouldn't have survived five minutes in the Big House. But thankfully we were in a comfy OutTakes cinema. This 'concoction' weaves four women-in-prison movies together in a seemingly playful way, but underneath it all I suspect it's a little more serious than it pretends to be. The four movies are all about an innocent victim going to the Big House after she's been framed for something she didn't do. John Waters sent it up rotten in one of his early flics, Female Trouble. Apart from enjoying the similarities between the movies (covering a period of over 60 years), the greatest pleasure is watching one of cinema's great screen queens, the inimitable iron lady, Barbara Stanwyck. She does so little and yet she acts everyone in sight (and in the other films) off the screen. With a laserlike focus, a laconic delivery (match that Anne Heche!) and a manner so worldly wise it would stop an iceberg in its tracks, Miss Stanwyck is a treat to behold. And yes, Miss Heche tries to do her bit in a much later effort in the genre and she's ok in a slimy sort of way, but the other treat is Pam Grier as a corrupt lesbo matron (now all together, shout 'Yes, matron!'). She doesn't quite have Barbara's acting chops, but she can still make a shiver run down your spine ... mmmm, Yes, matron! John Curry - 31st May 2006    

Credit: John Curry

First published: Wednesday, 31st May 2006 - 12:00pm

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