What’s The Rockbrat Viewing Today ? CAGED HEAT (1974)

A new column perhaps ? Maybe, but don’t expect weekly movie reviews, just whenever I watch something good that’s worthy of your attention, that’s in keeping with the Rockbrat doctrine of writing about all things cool. Cowboy Col is not just a radio fan – he also digs film, but not modern shite like Hollywood blockbuster super hero remakes or carbon copy ‘actors’ such as De Craprio and the like – no, he digs westerns, cult film, B stuff, noir from the 50s etc. The bible is a series of three movie review books which came out in 81 and then the early 80’s by a guy called Danny Peary. Peary likes film and baseball. Nice. The books are simply called ‘Cult Films’ 1, 2 and 3′ and are indispensible. No I don’t wanna watch some heart string tugging lefty art piece about life in Afghanistan, nor romantic dross like Titanic. I don’t want to watch any films with a subtle save the planet made with CG like Avatar. Nope, for me, it’s often the forgotten, undiscovered gems I search out, and today’s film that the Rockbrat is viewing is a cult classic from 1974 called ‘Caged Heat’. Directed by Jonathan Demme (who would later go on to direct such classics as Married To The Mob and Silence Of The Lambs. The film (also known as Renegade Girls) is a sexploitation movie of the “women-in-prison” movie genre. Caged Heat was written and directed by Demme for the New World Pictures company, headed by Roger Corman. Caged Heat stars the actresses Erica Gavin (Valley Of The Dolls), Roberta Collins, Juanita Brown, Rainbeaux Smith, Desiree Cousteau, and cult siren Barbara Steele. John Cale wrote and performed its soundtrack, which features the guitar playing of Mike Bloomfield. The story centres on the character, Jacqueline Wilson, who was played by Erica Gavin. Wilson is sentenced to a women’s prison after her conviction on illegal drug offenses. Wilson, naturally, becomes associated with a group of her fellow female convicts, and they fight against the repressive policies of the prison’s warden, played fabulously by Barbara Steele. Caged Heat was Jonathan Demme’s debut as a movie director. The movie producer, Roger Corman, thought that the content of his company’s previous movies about “women in prison” was inadequate, hence he instructed Demme to create a screenplay and a script that would bring something novel to this realm of movie-making. However, Codman also wanted Caged Heat to retain most of the violence and nudity that the audiences for this genre had come to anticipate. Dame introduced new aspects to Caged Heat, including taking a satirical approach and creating a sadistic female warden, instead of a male one. To a lesser degree, Dame also incorporated elements of liberal politics, feminism, and social consciousness into his screenplay. Because of all these new aspects in Caged Heat, and because of its position as Dame’s first feature movie, some movie critics consider this one to be more interesting than the run-of-the-mill, women-in-prison, exploitation movies. Certainly worse films than this one folks. Cowboy Col’s rating? 8 out of 10. (Much of this review courtesy of Wikepedia). Watch the trailer for the film here.

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