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Cliff De Young,
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Writer / director Paul Nicholas, who'd previously done the Linda Blair classic "Chained Heat", returns to the Women In Prison genre for this diverting bag of cinematic trash. Although it doesn't offer anything that W.I.P. fans haven't seen before, it still goes through its paces adequately, offering gore, atmosphere and titillation in respectable doses. The supporting cast is largely nondescript, but there are a few performers that stand out, which I'll get to in a moment. The movie does have a fair bit of set-up; the main character doesn't get to the prison until 16 minutes of screen time have gone by. But once she's there, there's plenty of sordid melodrama to keep an exploitation fanatic amused.
Lovely Shari Shattuck of 'The Young and the Restless' fame stars as Michelle, whose bank is held up by her no-count husband Willy (John Terlesky, "Chopping Mall"), who's met a ferocious femme fatale named Rita (Christina Whitaker) who has put him up to it. The robbery goes awry, and after all is said and done Rita falsely claims in court that Michelle was a willing participant, which gets Michelle sent to the slam for three years.
You get what you pay for with "The Naked Cage". Lesbian encounters? Check. Shower scenes? Check. Repulsive male characters such as rapist guard Smiley (Nick Benedict)? Check. And of course there's the usual corrupt warden (B movie veteran Angel Tompkins, "The Teacher") who's always got something going on. The ladies in this thing are enjoyable to watch; Shattuck is appealing as the "good girl" heroine who definitely takes her lumps before this is over. Faith Minton has an undeniable presence as butch top con Sheila. Buffs will note the presence of Carole Ita White ('Laverne & Shirley'), who'd already appeared in "Hellhole", "Chained Heat", and "The Concrete Jungle". Larry Gelman ('The Bob Newhart Show', 'The Odd Couple', "Chatterbox") has a cameo as the prison doctor. But it's the intense Whitaker who dominates things with a campy portrayal of a vindictive and vicious character.
All in all, if you're a devotee of this genre, you may not be blown away by "The Naked Cage" but you should have a pretty good time.
Seven out of 10.
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