Wednesday, 12 March 2008
Caged (John Cromwell 1950)
Georgia: Do you hear that train? People are going home on that train. Let me out of here! I don’t belong here!
Marie Allen (Eleanor Parker), a naïve and frightened 19-year-old is sent to prison for being an accomplice in an armed robbery. Marie – a pregnant widow – looks completely helpless and innocent (at the beginning it is difficult to believe that she is a convict).
The promises of the prison head (Agnes Moorehead) for a fair treatment and a possible parole after some months become nothing but good intentions. Under the surveillance of the menacing prison guard (Hope Emerson) Marie learns about the hard life in the penitentiary and she realises that behaving honestly she just has no possibility of being free.
As Kitty tells her: In this cage you get tough or you get killed.
The vision of the justice and society in this film is deeply negative. The underprivileged ones never have a chance: Marie has to give her child on adoption because nobody – no even her mother – wants to take care of him.
The judicial system appears to be corrupt and at the service of the wealthy classes. Besides the prison system proves to be not only useless but also damaging for the individuals.
Marie Allen: For that forty bucks I heisted I sure got myself an education.
So Marie Allen can only get the parole when she makes a deal with the crooked, powerful ones. But her future will be a life of crime…
Prison's secretary: What shall I do with her file?
Ruth Benton: Keep it active. She'll be back