"BIG DOLL HOUSE was the second film for my new company New World Pictures and I wanted a sure hit. Hollywood had a long tradition of women-in-prison movies and no one had done one recently. While the script of BIG DOLL HOU... more »SE was originally set in Los Angeles, I realized I could get a bigger-looking film for the same money in the Philippines. So I sent director Jack Hill there with a number of great-looking women, including Pam Grier, who left her job as a secretary. BIG DOLL HOUSE broke drive-in records and launched a new series of successful films for me." -- Roger Corman~~Pam Grier joins a group of sexy young female prisoners in their struggle against a sadistic warden. This shocking film is perhaps one of the most influential of all women-in-prison films!~« less
Classic "chicks in chains" flick set in a typically hellish third-world women's prison. Five hottie inmates spend half the movie being victimized by their butchie cellmate (Pam Grier!) or tortured by the twisted lesbo warden, before they finally mount an all guns blazing escape.
This delightfully sleazy flick features plenty of violence and T&A, and has no socially redeeming value whatsoever. In other words, it's totally awesome sauce!!
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Big Doll House equels Big Fun
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow....I just finished watching this movie and it is a real jem. Ladies in prison flicks are cool but this one takes the cake as far as campy goes. Here are some of the things you will experience if you watch this flick.
1. Tons of 70's babes with tight skimpy outfits on.
2. More babes with skimpy outfits on.
3. Homosexual prison gaurds
4. Homosexual prison warden
5. A Philipino Revolution
6. More 70's babes with tight outfits on.
7. A woman hanging by her ponytail as punishment for trying to escape
8. Mud wrestling
9. Crazed women inmates imprisoned in an cage with other crazy wild women (they act like animals....funny!)
10. Inmates who want to be "raped" by men, because they haven't "had any sex in a very long time".
11. More sex starved female inmates in tight outfits.....especially one very "hot blond babe" who begs for sex!!
I must admit this is by far the funniest and sickest movie I have seen in a long time. The plot centers around this band of revolutionaries who want to take over thier country by force. They come up with the crazy idea of breaking into an all "womens prison" and freeing the women who will help them with the revolution.(This is the first time I have ever seen anyone break "into" a prison.) Not much of what goes on makes any sence but it sure makes for one hell of a laugh riot. Roger Corman impressed me again. I have only seen one other Roger Corman movie "Bucket of Blood" and I have to admit that this film is stranger and funnier than "Bucket". As I was watching this film I kept asking myself "Is Roger Corman for real?... is he trying to be serious or trying to be funny?"....the script is a zany hoot and the film kept my attention all the way through. I recieved the VHS version and there was 2 spots where the audio did not sync up to the film, this error actually added to the wierdness of the flick. The entire movie had that "made for T.V" feel to it. There is some nudity and bad launguage but the contentnt is so bizzare and offbeat that it deserved a "R" rating. I highly recommned this film for the cinema nut who thinks he has seen it all. You will not be dissapointed!.....the highlight of the film is when halfway thru the movie you find out the prison guards and warden prefer men sexually over women...gay prison guards!!!!.....this twist in the scipt is just TOO FUNNY!!........buy it today....you will thank me!!"
Pam Grier stars in a "Women in Prison" action film.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While any movie starring Pam Grier is worth watching, the Big Doll House is a particularly entertaining entry in the "Women in Prison" film genre. Produced by the great Roger Corman and filmed in the Philippines, this movie features all the violence, mayhem, and nudity one expects in a 70's "Girls Behind Bars" flick. It also has the added bonus of a great scene where Pam Grier and another woman fight it out in the mud of the rice fields (where the women are forced to toil). Don't miss it!"
Judith Brown & Pam Grier!
Johny Bottom | Jacksonville, NC | 08/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a combo. 'Ladies in Prison' movies is the best idea next to breast implants, and we all know Pammy don't need those. Nudity, violence, one liners, sex, and the great cat-fights. Pam is the star, but Judith don't take no back seat! When farmer man wants to feel Pam's melons through the bars, he get's more than what he bargained for. Talk about plowing. All these characters pop up again and again in the 'Pam Prison' series. SOmetimes she the prisoner, sometimes the warden, and sometimes the revolutionist. Why does every 'woman in prison' film have to have a revolution anyway??? Well no matter, Pam and Judith like I said are a pair that can't be beat!"
"Search them...inside and out!"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 02/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the late 1960s actor/producer John Ashley, initially famous for appearing in a number of JD flicks, hooked up with writer/director/producer Eddie Romero in the Philippines to crank out a handful of inexpensive (i.e.cheapo), somewhat successful horror features. Always an eye towards the frugal, producer/director/writer Roger Corman jumped on the bandwagon in the early 1970s, teaming up with the pair to release his second feature under his newly formed `New World' (later to be known as Concorde) film group, a chicks in chains flick titled The Big Doll House (1971). Directed by Jack Hill (Spider Baby, The Big Bird Cage, Switchblade Sisters), the film features Judith M. Brown (Willie Dynamite), Roberta Collins (Women in Cages, Caged Heat), Brooke Mills (The Student Teachers), Pat Woodell (The Twilight People), and Pam Grier (Coffy, Foxy Brown), in her first major role. Also appearing is Christiane Schmidtmer (The Giant Spider Invasion), Kathryn Loder (Foxy Brown), Jerry Frank (Voodoo Island), and Sid `tall, bald and bearded' Haig (Spider Baby, Diamonds Are Forever).
The film starts out with the arrival of three new inmates at some podunk, backwater, women's prison located in the Philippines, I'm guessing, given the large number of Philippino extras running around. As the women are processed (full body cavity searches for everyone!) we meet Collier (Brown), one of the three prisoners, along with a butcher than butch head guard named Lucian (Loder). After this we get to meet Collier's new cellmates, and they're quite the assortment...there's Grear (Grier), who got tossed in the pokey for hustling and has a real hate/hate complex towards men, Bodine (Woodell), a political prisoner whose boyfriend is a rebel insurgent leader hiding out in the hills, Harrad (Mills), a weird junkie type with pyromaniac tendencies, incarcerated for killing her baby (that's lovely), a blondie named Alcott (Collins), and so on...life is difficult in the prison, as the days are filled with tedium labor either toiling in excessively muddy fields or weaving baskets, while the nights involve entertaining oneself with cockroach races, shankings, snitching on your cellmates, or spending time in Lucian's private chamber of sadomasochistic delights. As the film progresses we witness scenes of torture, a gratuitous and pointless shower sequence, more torture, talk of escape, a food fight, a mysterious figure in a hood overseeing the torture, a catfight that devolves into a fine display of mud wrestling, time outs in the hot box, electroshock therapy, snakes, and fun and games with Harry (Haig) and his new partner Fred (Frank), a pair of entrepreneurs who sell food, smokes, and what not to the prisoners (don't worry if you don't have the cash, as Harry will let you slide for a good groping), fantasizing about all the man hungry flesh locked behind the bars. Tired of being used and abused, a core group of girls plan an elaborate escape attempt, one that involves kidnapping the head mistress named Miss Dietrich (Schmidtmer).
What The Big Doll House lacks in aspects like cohesive story, good acting, and solid characters it more than makes up for in unmitigated sleazy fun. One thing that did surprise me a little was the fact there wasn't as much nekkidness in this movie as I would have expected. Oh, there was a decent amount, most all topless shots, a lot limited to flashes of flesh soon to be obscured by an arm, or someone turning their back towards the camera. This didn't bother me because what there was, was pretty nice (hello Ms. Grier...nice to see you and the twins). What was most notable was the complete absence of any Sapphic action. It was often alluded to in the story, but the film never delivered the goods (I wasn't looking for any hardcore dueling batwing action, but a little face suckage and copious fondling would have been nice). The plot is of the loosey goosey variety, meaning this is more or less an assemblage of sleaze soaked sequences eventually leading up to the big escape attempt. This was pretty much what I was expecting, as director Hill obviously knew enough to avoid attempting the premise of serious, social commentary in an effort to cover up the exploitive nature of the material, as was done in Corman's earlier film The Student Nurses (1970), which tried to conceal its lurid and skeezy nature by touching awkwardly upon a slew of feminine issues. While the characters themselves were of the garden-variety stock one would normally expect in a feature like this, some of the performances did stand out. Pam Grier makes one helluva butch prisoner, and I thought Haig's character just a whole lot of fun. Loder's character of Lucian, the sadistic, snake loving head guard was decent, but I only wish she would have turned it up a notch or two, as there was certainly room to do so...and check out the various native to the region extras in the prison...looks like they were recruited off the streets, having little idea what was actually going on...the last half of this film could have been titled `The Misadventures of Harry and Fred', as the pair play a more prominent role in the story, becoming entangled in the escape attempt as the women use the lure of hot prison lovin' to get the pair of knuckleheads to unwittingly help them in their plans, culminating in a sequence where the two end up in their underwear, forced at gunpoint to engage some naughty fun in the back of their truck in a twisted effort by the escapees to return some of the humiliation and degradation heaped upon them by their once captors. To say anymore would spoil things, so I'll leave it at that...overall, The Big Doll House was generally what I expected, an entertaining film packed with good, wholesome, scuzzy fun. This film was followed up a year later by one titled The Big Bird Cage (1972), which also featured Grier, and was written and directed by Jack Hill.
The fullscreen (1.33:1) picture quality on this DVD release is decent, and the Dolby Digital audio comes through well. As far as special features, there's cast and crew biographies, an original theatrical trailer, and a five minute interview piece between Leonard Maltin and Roger Corman where the two talk about this film like it was some form of high art. Corman also claims he decided to make this film in the Philippines because he thought he could get more for his money, but I think it was really just an effort to keep more dough in his pocket rather than spend what he saved on better production values. Also included are previews for the films Death Race 2000 (1975), Grand Theft Auto (1977), Eat My Dust (1976), Big Bad Mama (1974), and Humanoids from the Deep (1980), all recently re-issued onto DVD by Walt Disney Video, which, within the past year, acquired the release rights to Corman's extensive Concorde-New Horizons catalog of films.
If I learned anything from this film, it's that if you ever find yourself in prison, avoid, if at all possible, sharing a cell with a junkie. "
A sleaze classic!
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 01/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Good old Roger Corman; he never saw a film genre he didn't like. Moreover, he never hesitated to make cheap knockoffs of hit films. "Star Wars" breaking box office records? Enter Corman's "Battle Beyond the Stars." "Jurassic Park" raking in the dough? "Carnosaur" and its sequel will do quite nicely, thank you. How about films full of car chases? Those were quite popular in the 1970s, weren't they? You bet, and Corman rolled out "Eat My Dust" and "Grand Theft Auto" to capitalize on the craze. I could go on and on, mentioning how Rog saw fit to make "Big Bad Mama" to present his own take on 1930s gangster epics, or how he tossed out "Humanoids From the Deep" to cash in on a resurgence of monster films. The vaunted women in prison subgenre of the 1970s was yet another field of endeavor for this King of the B-movie rip off. Corman underwrote several of them, beginning with director Jack Hill's classic "The Big Doll House." Hill went on to make his own name in exploitation films with "Coffy" and "Foxy Brown," two movies that formed the foundation of the blaxploitation genre. Thanks to DVD, a new generation of schlock film lovers will finally see these classics.
We see "The Big Doll House" unfold through the eyes of Collier (Judy Brown), a woman convicted of murder on trumped up charges and sentenced to life in a Philippine prison. She has a tough time adjusting to her new digs at first, largely due to the tough as nail attitudes of her fellow cellmates. The tough and cynical Alcott (Roberta Collins) runs the cellblock with an iron fist, and she makes it crystal clear to Collier early on that she will not tolerate any dissension in the ranks. Of course, there is always opposition to Alcott's tyranny, usually in the form of Grear (Pam Grier), a just as tough black girl who smuggles drugs into the prison as well as acting as a stoolie for the prison authorities. Bodine (Pat Woodell) could run the entire prison if she wanted to thanks to her size and fearsome reputation, but she's one of these gals who finds contentment sitting back and avoiding prison politics. She also corresponds infrequently with her boyfriend, a revolutionary currently engaged in a struggle to overthrow the government. No discussion of the prison would be complete without mentioning the hapless Harrad (Brooke Mills), a kooky chick drifting along in a haze of heroin. Perhaps it is appropriate that the phrase "A Dead Bee Makes No Honey" is etched on the wall of the girls' cell because there is very little sweetness exhibited here.
It should go without saying that the name of the game in "The Big Doll House" is figuring out a way to escape from the prison. After the other girls finally come to accept Collier, grudgingly in a few instances, she starts agitating for a plan. No one has ever successfully fled the penitentiary, apparently, so it will take awhile to come up with a ploy that works. In the meantime, the film treats us to all sorts of sordid activities, including whippings, electroshock treatments, and poisonous cobras. We also see Grear make a play for power by wrestling Alcott in a mud pit. Other characters emerge to engage our attentions, too, such as the vicious female warden with her schemes of corruption and intrigue. Comic relief arrives in the form of a couple of guys from the outside, the most important of whom is Harry (Sid Haig), who brings supplies into the penitentiary. These two can get anything, including drugs and hard liquor, for the right price, a price most of the female inmates are unwilling to pay. If you think that most of these characters, the ones that survive anyway, will come together in the film's denouement, you would be correct. "The Big Doll House" is an often squalid film whose bleak tone carries all the way through to its downbeat conclusion.
This is the type of film that lovers of low budget cinema adore. It's got everything, from lots of beautiful '70s babes running around in prison attire to over the top violence to Sid Haig hamming it up. "The Big Doll House" also has Pam Grier, which is always a big bonus. Her acting isn't that great here, probably due to the fact that this was only her second film, but she puts enough heart into the role that the viewer quickly forgives her failings. Her scenes with Haig are particularly memorable. Hill was so impressed with Grier that he cast her in his future productions, namely the aforementioned "Coffy" and "Foxy Brown," which led to her becoming a major presence in 1970s' cult cinema. Considering how big a fan he is of these types of movies, it's no wonder that Quentin Tarentino based an entire film around the beautiful Grier, who, I might add, looks absolutely amazing today. Can you tell I'm a big Pam Grier fan? The primary reason I enjoyed this film is because Grier gets a lot of screen time. But even if you aren't a fan, you can still kick back and chuckle over the seedy set pieces, the crazy dialogue, and the wacky situations that pop up in this film every five minutes or so.
The DVD version of the film contains a commentary from Jack Hill, cast biographies, a trailer, and additional trailers for "Big Bird Cage," "The Arena," and "Women in Cages." The commentary track is rather dry, something I've found rings true for other Hill commentaries, but it does contain plenty of interesting information on the production of the film. "The Big Doll House" is arguably the best women in prison film I've seen so far; it's certainly light years ahead of films such as Pete Walker's "The House of Whipcord" and Bruno Mattei's "Violence in a Women's Prison."