Directed by: Jack Hill
Actors: Anitra Ford, Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Candice Roman, Vic Diaz, Carol Speed
Country: USA | Philippines
Also known as: Women’s Penitentiary II
Description: The guerrillas decide to grab a woman’s correctional facility. Women prisoners are living in long barracks. They are forced to work at a large wooden mill.
“Big bird cage” – is the actual continuation of the “Big Doll House” and “Women in the cells.” However, no direct connection – all the heroes of the previous films playing in the previous tape is called differently. Most likely, the creators were afraid of claims of copyright infringement and retained an identical style, locale, Sid Haig and Pam Grier.
However, what’s the difference. What is happening on the screen, the film is a performance not only by genre, but in effect, operated a topic that has been successfully tested in the “Big Doll House“.
On the subject of mention rather simply to comply with the formalities: on an island that is supposedly in the Philippines, there is a women’s prison. Also, on this island there is a camp of rebels. Once the rebels come to the conclusion that they need a woman. We’ll see riots, torture, escape, and a lot of shooting.
The result: probably one of the weakest films talented director Jack Hill. Probably the most enjoyable movie experience – a duo of Sid Haig and Pam Grier in a small, but very colorful role of the rebels.
The “Big Bird Cage” lacks the copious amounts of nudity and sex that most other WIP movies feature, but makes up with an incredibly gorgeous and attractive lead character – Anitra Ford -, witty dialogue and entertaining characters. The “Big Bird Cage” never takes itself too seriously, and its breezy vibe is in stark contrast to the usual grim and morose atmosphere that emanates from most prison films.
Ford plays Terry Rich, a rather famous American actress who is causing quite a stir in the Filipino social and political scene, apparently for “sleeping with half” of the local government. She attends a little party at a bar with her boyfriend, where the guests are entertained by Pam Grier’s Blossom and her boyfriend, the “Revolutionary” Django. Unfortunately for Terry, Django’s revolutionary ideals are big on armed robberies and small on actual revolutionary ideals, and in the confusion, Terry finds herself held hostage by Django as he attempts a getaway. With the Philippine popo hot on their tail, Django jumps off a bridge and into the river below, leaving Terry to be apprehended by the police. She pleads her innocence, but because of the brouhaha and political turmoil she has caused by sleeping with so many government officials, they decide it would be best for her to remain in jail for a short time while things “die down”.
The prison itself is much more akin to a labor camp, with no handcuffs or additional restraints, no fences/ gates and no cells. Prisoners sleep on cots and wake at 4 a.m. to perform their chores. They don’t even wear a standard uniform and are always barefoot. The warden, Zappa, is the archetypical sadistic control freak, and rules with something a shade softer than an iron fist. Inmates who do not complete their quota in the field are sent to warden Zappa’s creation: the eponymous Big Bird Cage. In reality, it is a roughly three story mechanical sugar mill, whose shoddy construction and elevated position makes it quite the hazard for inmates, and thus somewhere they all try to avoid being sent to.
The most interesting characters however are Terry’s fellow prisoners and the guards themselves. The prisoners themselves are not overtly ravenous, with the exception of Karen – a tall, blonde American who the guards have to chain to her cot at night because she frequently overpowers the other –smaller – prisoners. Carla, a petite blonde, actually pines for penis, saying she could bear prison if she could only “get some”. Jones is the de-facto leader, giving off a weird, vibrant energy in her dealings with her fellow prisoners. Before long, Terry settles in rather nicely with her fellow inmates. The real moments of levity, though, are provided by the homosexual guards Rocco and Moreno. This is a welcome relief from the usual stereotypes of predatory male guards who feast on the female inmates. They give very convincing performances as gay men.
Django eventually makes it back to his remote village where he makes up with Blossom. In one of the funniest scenes in the movie, Django’s stooges, in awe of Blossom’s beauty, quickly turn to look at their own women before remembering their homeliness. Deflated from their lack of attractive potential mates, they decide to try and free the women prisoners so they could be awash in beautiful girls. They float this idea by Django, and in the name of the revolution, decides to go along with it, enlisting Blossom as his inside woman. Soon enough, Blossom stages her arrest and arrives at the prison, where she promptly takes the title as top dog/bitch from Jones. As for Terry, she was being punished for trying to escape by being hung from her hair. Her attempted escape led to the funniest line in the entire movie, as Rocco, finding Terry being ravished by local village men whom she had tried to ask for assistance, asks aloud, “Why doesn’t this ever happen to me?”.
Django also infiltrates the prison, but as a guard. He does this by ostensibly seducing Rocco while posing as a homosexual. In perhaps the funniest scene in the entire movie, Django lures Rocco into the bathroom of a bar, and while side by side in the urinals, Rocco rather crassly takes a look at his dick, remarking “What big shoes!”
Soon enough, Django and Blossom are reunited, and with Terry’s aid, manage to incapacitate the guards, and with the inmates armed to their teeth, they manage to break out, but not before Carla and the other sex-starved inmates force Rocco to pleasure them all, under Jones’ threat of “get it up or I’ll cut it off”. Unfortunately for Django and Blossom, they are apparently killed by pursuing officers, and that fate soon meets many other prisoners, including Carla. Terry eventually manages to make it to the safe haven of Django’s village and other disciples of his “revolution”. Terry, now properly clothed and her feet (regrettably) no longer bare, promises to return, saying that this “would not be the last your of Terry Rich”, before drifting out to sea.