Cage Without a Key (1975) - full transcript

A high school girl who needs a ride accepts one from a boy she doesn't know. He then forces her to participate in a robbery, in which a clerk is killed. They are soon caught, and the girl, despite her protestations of innocence, is convicted of first-degree murder and sent to prison. Once she gets there, she finds out that her troubles are just beginning. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
This is our science lab.

And over here is
the home ec building.

I don't think anyone
took home ec anymore.

Our girls do.

And you can quote me
in your paper, Miss McGinnes.

We want our girls to be
prepared to earn a living,

but we also want them
to be prepared to be women.

All our girls learn
to cook and sew here.

I'll quote you.

We have a fine
athletic program.

Very up-to-date.
Oh, Mrs. Little,

I was hoping to get something
a little more personal

about the girls,

their feelings,
their hopes for the future.

What are the chances of my just
rapping with one of the kids?

Well, I certainly don't see
why not.



Suzy Kurosawa,
Miss McGinnes.

Miss McGinnes is a reporter.
She's here to do a story on us.

Oh, hey, that's neat, heh.

Do you like it here,

I'm real lucky to be here.
It's the best school there is.

How old are you?


Everyone kids me
'cause I'm so small.

And, uh, what are you here for?

But I didn't do it.



She starts crying,
I got to be all kind.

We meant so much
to each other.

You know, 'cause he's
like, "I'm sorry, I did that."

Can you look at the ping-pong?

Means the world so much.
And I miss him so.

And, yeah, you did win.

You know, it's nice to...
Come on, let's go to lunch.

Oh, I miss him.

But I'm gonna see him soon.
He's gotta come over, right?

I hope they're coming, and
I hope they can get me out soon.

GIRL 2: All right.
GIRL 1: What are you doing?

GIRL 2: Oh, I'm talking about...

All right, girls. All right.
He's just adorable, is he?

The skirt, you know?

GIRL 1: In the yearbook.
GIRL 2: Hi. Hello.

He won't have
the rights to you.

I haven't gotten a letter
from my mother in so long.

I think she forgot I exist.


you haven't taken anything.

That's my stuff. It's my books,
my records, you know.

Yeah, but you're gonna be
gone for two weeks.

Oh, two weeks.
I am so excited.

I think that this is
the best graduation present

any girl ever had.

Well, you'll only be staying
with your cousins.

It's not like, uh, it's a trip
to Europe or anything.


But it's away from home.

I know how you are,

especially after
that little hassle last year.

And this shows that you--
You trust me again.

Thank you.

Well, Valerie,
I think you earned it.

Your daddy would have been
very, very proud of you.


Oh, you looked so pretty up
there on that stage last night,

getting your diploma.

I only wish-- I wish
he could have seen you.


Okay, now you
eat your toast, huh?



Yeah, there's Joleen.
But you haven't eaten anything.

Well, listen,
I'll call you every night.

No, no,
that's too expensive.

Twice a week is enough.

Hi, Mrs. Smith.
Hi, Joleen.


I love you.
I love you too, darling.

Now, Joleen,
no speeding, you hear?

You drive carefully.
In this?

I'm lucky if I can make 40.

Bye-bye, Mom.
Bye, baby.





I got shafted.

Oh, man.
Boy turn you down?

I polished up my attitude

like it's a bright,
shiny new apple.

I am straight arrow
with him for one year, right?

That's right.

I helped staff
with the new broads.

I do everything
that I am supposed to do.

I earned my four-month time,

and I got it coming to me,

Why'd they turn you down?

Someone snitched that I was
smoking grass in my room.


I really put
that dumb chick on.

Do you like it here, Suzy?

Oh, girl, gee.

Yes, ma'am. I would rather
be here than Disneyland.


You should have been there.
GIRL: No, thanks.


What's happening?

Tommy got turned down
by the review board.



Pity. Heh, heh.
GIRL: Yeah, ain't it?

And it's all because some broad
in this cottage snitched.

Now, I figure that broad
cost me about, um...

four months of my life.

So when I find out who did it,
I'm gonna hurt her.



your tire rod's


I'm gonna have to tow it
back to town.

Oh, great.

Are you sure?
MAN: Yeah.

How long will it take
to fix it?

Depends upon how long it takes
to get the part. Day or two.

Day or two?

Hey, we only have two weeks
before our summer jobs start.

I'm sorry, lady.


Hiya, Joleen.
Hi, Buddy.

You know,
I thought that was you.

Doesn't that old car
ever work?


Can I give you a ride

Oh, yeah, if you're going
to San Francisco.

It just so happens I got a gig
with a group in Seattle.

I'll be passing through.

Hello, Valerie Smith.


I didn't know you two
knew each other.

We don't.

She tries to keep
her love life a secret.


Oh, boy,
I'm really embarrassed.

Now, you used to work at the
library, and I had study hall.

We used to always talk.

I'm Buddy Goleta.
Don't you remember?


Graduated with my brother
two years ago.

are we gonna tow it or not?

I ain't got all day.

My car is at your disposal.

Well, I can't.
I gotta--

Hey. There's no reason for
both of us to be hung up.

Why don't you drive up
with Buddy?

No, I'll stay with you.
I'll meet you in a couple days.

No, I don't--
I really hate driving alone.

Hey, listen,
I'll call your mother,

and I'll explain
what happened.

I don't know.

As for me,

I always wanted
to ride 40 miles

in the front seat
of a tow truck.


Well, okay.

All right.

Thank you.

Okay, tow it.
Thank you.

You have my cousin's
number, don't you?



You really don't
remember me, huh?

I'm sorry.
I'm very nearsighted.

A lot of people think
that I'm stuck up

because I don't
remember them.

All when the truth of it
is I haven't seen them.


I know we haven't talked
in the library, though.

How come you said
we did?


the best way
to make things happen

is to pretend that
they already have.

I don't understand.

I like you, Valentine.

You're my type
of lady.

Look, I think I changed my mind
about riding with you.

Could you pull over
and let me out, please?

Boy, when I blow it,
I really blow it, don't I?


Wait a minute.

I didn't mean anything.

I apologize, Valerie.

Now, you're a nice,
sweet girl.

And you're hands off.


Look, I don't wanna come on
like a Girl Scout or anything.

It's just that
it's a long ride.

I get the message. Okay?


Let's go.

Let's go.

You found out anything?

I'll know something
this afternoon,

but, uh, we both know
who it is.

Hey, tough guy.

Four more months,
you'll be out of here.

Come on,
don't mess it up now.


You're always playing
my manager, huh?


Well, if I don't,
who will?

Hey, you guys,
I got a weekend furlough.

And you know what?
I'm gonna see him.

Your man.

Hey, did you get my clothes
out of the dryer?


Does Mrs. Little know
that's where you're going?

No. My pass is
to visit my aunt.

I gotta
find out about my father.

I mean, he's been sick
the whole time I've been here.

That's why he hasn't been up
or written to me or anything.

Wanda, you go back
to the old neighborhood,

you're asking for trouble.
No, Angel.

No. I'm--

I'm gonna stay clean.

I'm never gonna use again.

Look, I can't
even remember being 15.

I mean, a whole year of my life
is a complete waste,

and I don't wanna lose
any more.

So listen to the mama.

Why do you want to go back
where it all started?

My father's
all I've got.

He never was
very strong.

Hey, Suzy,
that's fantastic!

I wish you good.

Sorry, Mama.

Not this time.


Why are you
off the freeway?

I have to pick something up
from a friend.

It won't take long.

You got the word?
Loud and clear.

Bonareesie said she saw her
go into Little's office.

Suzy Kurosawa.

She been trying to get
my job as monitor

ever since she got here.

That broad got herself
some big plans.

And some big trouble.





Hey, Goleta.

Hey, Russo.

Meet my old lady.

This is Valerie.

Very nice. Hello, Val.

Hey, man.
You got the bread?

Sure. Wait a minute.

Why did you do that?

Do what?
Introduce me as your old lady?


because that's
what I want you to be.

Here you go.


It's short.

It's all I got.

Hey, man, it's short!

Well, you want blood,
take blood.

It's all I got, man.

Aren't we getting back
on the freeway?

Yeah. Yeah, sure.

I just gotta figure out
a couple things first.

I wish you'd tell me
what's going on.

It's real simple, princess.

I'm a little short
of cash money.

I wondered if I could borrow
some till we get up north.

All I have is $10
for food on the way.

My mother wired the rest
to my cousin's house.

Ten whole dollars, huh?

Your mama sure don't want
you getting fat, huh?

It's all she could afford.

Yeah, nobody's got any money.

Old Buddy gets sick as a dog,

but old Buddy
ain't got no buddies,

not when he needs them.

I wanna get out now, please.

Oh, she would like
to get out now, please.

Even buddy's chick
is gonna take a walk, huh?

I'm not your chick.
You're my chick!

Now, you're my old lady,
my woman.

And you are gonna help me
because I'm sick right now.

And I need you.


Get out.

Me and her got
some talking to do.

I stay.

I said, out.

We got a long score
to settle, woman.

You're crazy.

You've been trying
to have me busted all year.

You've been opening up my mail.

You've been planting stuff
in my room.

Oh, but now...

Now you cost me
four months of my life.


I didn't do it.

Like, you didn't wipe out
that 74-year-old drunk

who was trying to sleep it off
in the alley?

Listen to me, Tommy.
We could go in together--

That's not why
you're here. Stop!

And I had a connection

I know how to get stuff
that's narcotic.

You tell them
I was smoking pot!

We could make a fortune.

And I'd go half with you.

Oh, yeah.

Well, here's your half
in advance.



Come make some more!
You're gonna ask for it...

All right.
What happened here?

Washington needs a little time
to sort things out.

One week of meditation
in C wing.


You take that funny-time word
and you stick it in a tree.

You call it

It's solitary!

Let me go. Let me go.
Listen. Listen to me good!

Now, we're gonna go
in that liquor store together.

I'm gonna do a little business
with the man behind the counter,

and you're gonna look out
for anybody coming.

Are you crazy?

Hey, one wrong move
out of you,

and your mom
is not gonna be getting

any letters
from up north.


Thank you.

I keep telling you,
the candy bars,

they aren't good
for you, baby.

You gotta have
the natural foods.

Now, what
do they got here?

All right.

Keep an eye
on the door, okay?


Yes, sir?

All your cash.

Okay. Okay.




Now shut up!

Come on, he's hurt!





COP 1:
License number is

No, I'm not.
Yeah, okay. Later.

Book 'em.

Anthony Budd Goleta.
Valerie Ann Smith.


COP 2:
Murder one.

Oh, no!



WOMAN: Don't shave this morning.
MAN: Yeah?

I said, don't shave.

I think you'd be gorgeous
with a beard.

It's the first time
you ever had them?

You know what I mean.


MAN: Betty?

The phone
is driving me crazy.


What's the matter?
I don't have to answer it.

MAN: Hm.


MAN: It's 8:00.

Oh, Christ!

MAN: Get the phone.
WOMAN: I am.




Yeah, yes. He's just leaving.

Let me see if I can catch him,
sir. Just a moment.


Who is it?

Mr. Feiner. I told him
we were just leaving.


Mr. Feiner. You just caught me
going out the door.


I'm sorry.
Could you repeat that, sir?

That due?

That's very exciting, sir.

Twenty minutes, sir.


The brightest member of
the public defender's office--

That's me.
--just got a very big one.

A 17-year-old girl, baby.
Murder one.


Murder one.

I didn't do anything.




What is she doing here?

Her parents were picked up
by Immigration.

She's waiting for
an aunt.

How long has she been waiting?
Two days.

The aunt doesn't show
by this afternoon,

we'll send her to
a foster home.

That baby's been sleeping
in here for two days?

Don't yell at me.
I didn't make up the system.

Everybody says that.
I wonder who did.

Smith, Valerie.
I'm sorry I'm late.

Valerie did not commit
any crime.

She doesn't belong here
with-- With criminals.

Let's sit down.

When is my trial?

Next week.

Next week.

I was hoping for
a continuance.

We could have used the time.

Yes, but if she's tried
next week,

then she'll be home
all the sooner.

BEN: I hope so.
You hope so?

Is there any doubt?

Mrs. Smith.
You both know that I'm young.

That's my fault.

What you don't know is that
I graduated first in my class,

and I'm smart as hell.

In the three years
that I've had this job,

I have not lost a case.

Well then?
Well then...

the DA has three witnesses
that will testify

that Buddy Goleta and Valerie
were traveling together.

Which we know is not true.
Isn't it?

Buddy Goleta is telling
everyone who will listen

that you had sex with him
in the back of his van.

Oh, he's crazy.

And afterwards, you agreed
to go in on his plan.

He's crazy.

I keep telling you that.

I keep telling everybody that.

What are you trying to do?

I want Valerie to know

what she's gonna face
on that stand next week.

Judges hate tears.

I want her prepared,
and I want her calm.

Any woman on the jury
would understand.


Juveniles do not have the
benefit of a jury, Mrs. Smith.

It's not fair.
That's the way it is.

The fate of your daughter lies
in the hands of one man,

and I hope he had
a good breakfast that morning.


How can this
be happening to me?

I didn't do anything.

Yes, you did,

You accepted a ride
from a murderer.



Are you all right?

I was just daydreaming.

How's everything?

Oh, Tommy's in the hole.

Suzy is in the infirmary.

What can I tell you?

How did it go?

Oh, it was just perfect.

Daddy had a bad cold,
so I took care of him

and we talked,
and we made lots of plans.

We even went to the movies.

It's just like I hoped
it would be.

Well, welcome back.

She graduated
with honors in music.

She's never been in trouble
a day in her life.

She never saw that boy before.

He knew who she was right away.
He called her by her name.

They couldn't have
really known each other.

She would have told me.

Mrs. Smith,
is it true

that your daughter
was arrested for smoking pot?

My daughter
was never arrested.

She was detained
for questioning

with a bunch of kids
who were on a picnic.

One of the other girls
was found with marijuana.

Valerie did not use drugs.

How do you know that?

You testified that

there were things about Valerie
that nobody knew.

She kept things to herself.

That's true,

but I would have known
if she was using drugs.

Well, what about her
having an affair with a boy?

Would you have known
about that?

Well, probably, but the point
is that she didn't--

Are you willing
to testify under oath

that Valerie Smith
did not know Buddy Goleta?


I couldn't swear to it.

Look, all I know
is what I heard.

She said
she never met him before.

Thank you.
That will be all.

He said she did,

and she was trying to keep
her love life a secret.

That'll be all.

He drives up
with her in the van,

and he introduces her to me
as his old lady.

Did she protest
this introduction?

Did she deny it?

They walked into the store
hand in hand.

Then they
whispered together.

Then she walked over
to the book rack to look out.

JUDGE: Sustained.

Witness will refrain from
drawing his own conclusions

as to the actions
of the accused.

He passed me with
that one, Your Honor.

I mean, you want me to tell you
what I saw, I'll tell you.

Those two kids walked into
that liquor store together.

They stuck up the joint.

BEN: Objection.
Then they killed a man.

BEN: Objection!

Move to strike the answers
as a conclusion by the witness.


My regret that we have had
to meet again so soon, Tommy,

and under these circumstances.

Mr. Watkins, I'm really sorry
about what I did.

I know better.

I used my time in meditation
to think about my attitude,

and believe me, I'll never
mess up like that again.

Well, I certainly hope not,

It is the recommendation
of this board

that you spend one additional
year in this program.

That's all for now, Tommy.

Thank you.

H-he had a gun in my ribs when
we walked into the liquor store.

Maybe the man couldn't see it,
but he did have it.

You see, when I realized that
he was on drugs or something,

I tried to get out.
He wouldn't let me.

I don't know why
he's making up this story

about my
being with him.

I wasn't his girlfriend.

I never had sex with him.

I never saw him before.

Valerie and I used to
get together after school

at her house
when her mother was at work.

Nobody ever knew
I had another girl.

Valerie, heh, she had a thing
about me for a long time.

And we never meant
to kill that man.

That was a terrible accident,

something neither of us
will ever forget...

...or forgive ourselves
for the robbery.

That whole thing started out--
Out as a joke.

A dare.

She kept challenging me,

telling me I didn't have
enough guts to pull off the gun.


It's not true. It's not.

It's not.

Due to the conflicting
testimony in this case,

I've examined every word that's
been said in this courtroom

with utmost care.

I've read
the psychiatric evaluation,

and considered
the recommendation

of the
probation department.

Putting it all together

and considering
the seriousness of the crime,

and what I consider to be proven
beyond a reasonable doubt

the defendant's
participation in it,

I find no recourse

but to select a maximum-security
program for Miss Smith.

Valerie Smith,
please rise.

It is the disposition
of this court

that you be committed

to the custody of

the state Youth Authority
San Marcos School for Girls

for an indefinite term,

the length of which
to be determined by

the youth authority.

Goodnight, Ben.

Mr. Feiner?
Yes, Ben?

About the appeal.

Did you know it's gonna take
some court stenographer

six weeks to get it typed.
Yes, Ben.

Well, damn it, I don't want
an innocent kid doing their time

in San Marcos for six weeks,

while some bureaucratic
juvenile court secretarial pool

is learning how to use
an electric typewriter.

What would you suggest
as an alternative?


Why did the judge do it?

There are other programs.

And why San Marcos?
No priors. Nothing.

Why did he crucify her?

Have you read
the papers lately?

It's the same every day.

Juvenile crimes
pronounced epidemic.

Thirty-five percent of
the major crimes in the city

are committed by juveniles.

It's called
public pressure, my friend.

It's called
cracking down.

It's called horse manure.

You want statistics?

I'll give you statistics,
Mr. Feiner.

There are the latest figures
from the Department of Commerce

on how we spend our money.

Fourteen billion on alcohol.

Nine billion on tobacco.

Two billion on pets.

But on children
in reform schools, 200 million.

That's 90 percent less than
we spend on our dogs and cats.

What do you expect me to do?


This school is a place
Where you don't have a face

Where the welcome you get
Is a cold, steel embrace


Where they tell you it's real
But you don't know for sure

'Cause the mean-hearted thrive

On the weak and the poor




That's weird, you know?

Ha, ha! I mean,
that's really weird.

Oh, come on now, stop it.

Oh, Wanda, really.

No, no, Wanda.
That's all right.

Jamie has a right
to her opinion.

And Angel has a right
to hers.

What is weird, Jamie?

"When the mean-hearted thrive
on the weak and the poor"?

That sounds like
they eat them or something.


Well, Rosie?

Come in, girls. Come in.

Sit down. It's all right.
Come in.

These young ladies
just came in from orientation.

Which one of you is Valerie?
I am.

And you-- You must be Sarah.

Come in. Come on. Sit over here,
here on the floor.

That's right.



Little chickens.

Hey, chickens,
welcome to the roost.

Well, what do the rest of you
think about Angel's poetry?

It was a downer,

No, I-- I think she was
really trying to say something.

Don't you think
it would have been better

if she would've come out
and said it in plain English?

I think she did.

That's because you are looking
for negativity, Tommy.

Angel, I don't think I should
encourage this sort of thing.

We're not
an amateur writing club.

We're here to talk about
our feelings.

Man, there is something

I would like to talk about
right now.

All right. Go ahead.

You turn my gut.

And you make me feel
like a worm.

I hate you.

That little outburst will cost
you three early beds, Angelita.



What's the difference?



Mrs. Turner, that was so mean
what you just said to her.

You're crazy, Polsky.

Ever since you came back
from that visit with your aunt,

you've been really spaced out.

Look, just because
I can still feel things,

doesn't mean
I'm crazy.

I think you're crazy
when you can't feel things,

like you can't,


Is she beautiful?

Old nickel bag over there,
16 years old.

Every vein in her body


She's gonna tell
me about feelings.

Yeah, Wanda.

Why don't you tell us
what it feels like

when the needle goes in?

That'll be enough, Noreen.

Get off my back, Turner.

Well, as you can see,
Valerie, and...


Can't she speak for herself?
Yes, but you--

As I was saying,

this is the place
to let it all hang out,

as you girls would say.

This room.

Nowhere else.

Show me the finest, most modern
reform school in the world,

and I'll show you a revolving
door where one-third--

One third of the kids that are
released are back within a year.

They don't work.

You know that, Tom.
They don't work.

TOM: Is that something new?



Could we talk about
something else for a change?

I had this case.
I want to win this one.

A kid, a little girl, faced
with being sent to San Marcos.

No priors, nothing.

I want to get
some facts, figures,

back up my plea
for probation, right?

Well, I find eight books of
research on the raising of pigs.

But on juvenile justice, one.

Now, a guy who wants
to raise pigs or wheat or corn,

you can't mess with.
He's a farmer. He's gonna lobby.

But the poor little bastards
who fill our court,

they got zilch, man.

So what happened to your case?

What do you think?








Is that you, Valerie?

I'm right next door.

Are you okay?


I'm terrific.

When, uh... When did you go
into orientation?

Same time you did.

But I was in the infirmary
the whole time.

How come?

'Cause... I was taking reds
pretty heavy.

And they had
to withdraw me slow.

How old are you?

Fourteen. How old are you?

Uh, 17.

Why'd they put you in here?

The judge said
I was incorrigible.

That means "hopeless."

I kept stealing stuff
from my dad, he's a doctor,

and selling it.

My mom turned me in.

Said that I couldn't live
with them anymore.

Told the judge
she just couldn't handle it.


You should have heard
my mom screaming

the last time I got busted.

She just spent $3000

for decorating my room
green and white checked gingham

and English antiques.

Wasting all that money
really got to her.


Yeah, well...

$3000 is a lot of money.

We-- We could have
lived a year on that.

My mom works in a dress shop.

I guess that she's worked
most of her life for me.

What did you do?


they said
I helped commit a murder.

Far out.

Well, it wasn't true.

All I did was hitch a ride

with a guy I never met before
in my life.

He wouldn't let me get away,
and I didn't do anything.

I wanna go home.

I wanna go home so bad.

I didn't do anything.

Why won't anybody believe me?

Why won't somebody believe me?

I'm gonna bust apart!
I didn't do anything!


I didn't do anything!
I don't belong here!

I wanna go home!

I wanna go home!
I don't belong here!

Get a grip, this is not
good behavior.

Maybe you better go back
to orientation

and learn what is
expected of you here.

I wanna go home.



For Pete's sake, honey.
It's 3 in the morning.

How did it happen, Betty?
Where did I slip up?


You have to face the fact that
if you want to practice law,

you are gonna lose
as many as you win.

I feel so...

You know where
that girl is tonight?

She was as innocent as hell,
and the DA knew it. He knew it.

He was just
better than me.

I got into this business 'cause
I wanted to see justice done.

This business
is not about justice.

It's about the law.

He was better than me.



How you doing?

Okay, I guess.

Don't let 'em
get to you, woman.

Only one way to do easy time.

You just tune out their jive,
and you just coast.

I'm sure you're right,

but I'm not gonna be here
very long.

Yeah. It's all a mistake.
And my lawyer's appealing.

mine's kind of cute too,

but I've still been here
four years.

Catch you later.


Oh, no, look at that crud.
Eat that stuff.

You're not gonna
eat that stuff?

Are you kidding?
I'm starving.


Hi, Valerie.


I'm Suzy Kurosawa.

Ah, listen.

Kids were thinking you guys
look a little shook

or being you is all,

Come on over
and sit with us.

No. No, that's okay.

We were gonna go sit over there
for lunch. Thank you.

Can I give you
a word of advice?

Be careful of the company
you keep around here.


She was really nice,

Why can't we
sit with her?

Just because.

Lunch... Lunch...

Want some bread?
Oh, sure.

I've been sizing you up.

You are what is known as
the, uh, intellectual type,

which could leave you very alone
in a place like this

except for my friends,
Angie and Rosie here,

they're both right.

Angel writes poetry.


Not good for nothing
though. No.
Yes. Yes.

I do like to write though.

So do I. Do they
have a good library here?



But you want a book or--

Or anything else around here,
you just come to Tommy W.

Yeah, 'cause Tommy W. is

the sister with all
the jesters, heh, heh.


You like music?

Yeah. I was majoring in it.

Hey, I tell you what,

why don't I hustle up a--

A record player
and a few records for--

For our new sister here?

Excuse me, but why--
Why all the attention to me?

Because we like you.

We need you.

Listen, in this school,

there's only two kinds
of people, you know,

the good guys
and the bad guys.

We're the good guys.

We don't snitch on no one.
We don't steal from no one.

We just wanna do our time good
and get out of here.

We were told in orientation
to stay away from cliques.


Now, what is that
supposed to mean?

We are a family.

Angie is the mama.
I am the papa.

Wanda is one of our kids,
and Rosie's an aunt.

You see that child over there?
She's gonna be our baby.

So, uh, you need a family
in a place like this.

It's okay with me.

No. No, it's not okay.

Look, you girls, you're gonna
be in here for a while.

We're not.

She's gonna be out
on parole.

My appeal's gonna be up
in a month, maybe two.

All we want
is to be left alone.

We don't wanna be on
anyone's side.

Well, then,
you're gonna have a problem.

Because whether it's one month,
one year,

this school is a prison,

You don't get to sit back
in your seat.

You gotta choose.

Is she the
most boringest teacher

you ever heard
in your whole life?

Well, I don't know.
I was asleep the whole time.

Hey, Val. Wait.

I'm late, Suzy.

Hey, I said wait.
You're hurting me.


Gee, I'm sorry.

Guess I don't know
my own strength.

Anyway, you got my note?

What do you think?

I don't want my job changed,
thank you.

You're crazy.

Why scrub floors?

I can get you an easy job
in the library.

I have to go.


Gee, Val, now I thought
when you came here,

we were gonna be friends.

Tommy and those creeps,
they're low-class.

Because I come from
a very well-to-do family

in San Francisco, heh.

Any little goodie you want,
I can buy you.

Quaaludes, grass--

I don't want anything,
except to be left alone.

One, two, three, four, five,

six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

Okay. Do five windmills.


Ready? Begin.

One, two, three.

One, one, two, three, two.

One, two, three, three.

One, two, three, four.

One, two, three, five.

All right.
Everybody take a break.

We're gonna have a little family
get-together tonight at my pad.

You wanna come?

No, thanks.

Sarah's coming.

Oh, come on. She's still
a baby. Don't mess with her.

Let me get something straight
with you right here and now

because you're in a ballpark
you don't know nothing about.

If I want a woman,

I can have
any woman around here I want.

I mean,
that is a whole nother thing.

But, uh, this,
you and Sarah,

that is about family.

Don't ever
get the two mixed up.

Man, you're cherry
in so many ways,

I don't know how to count 'em.

But you're an upfront chicken.
I like it.


So come on by my pad tonight,

and I promise I won't mess with
your little sister.


What do you want?

You're pretty.

The prettiest broad
they ever had in this cottage.

No, please get out
of my room.

I'm better than
Tommy Washington.

Oh, sorry...



The sister told you
to stay away.

I wouldn't do that
if I were you.


You just bought yourself
a family war, Washington.

It's like
I was telling you, baby.

You got to choose.


Hey, Kenneally?

Oh, how are you,

Can't complain.

I hear Goleta's attorney

filed for a rehearing
on his conviction.

Yeah, every kid that shoots
somebody's automatically crazy.

This one is, Kenneally.


He lied about
the Smith girl.

Prove it.

I'm making
fried chicken today.

So what?

can you believe this?

Come on, this class
is really ridiculous.

Mix one cup of flour.

The big cup.

The big one...

What are you in here for?

Robbery and assault.

You wanna see
my deadly weapons?


I was a tough hammer
on the streets, man, heh.

You know,
you don't look tough.

One and a half.

I mean, I know you are,
but you don't look it.

How did--?

How did you become...?


Oh, man.

You wanna hear about
the poor Black child

who got shuffled
from family to family?

Who got taught in one of 'em
by a crazy dope fiend lady

about how to be amusing

while the man in the house
was gone?

You wanna hear about
my dope arrest?

You wanna hear about

my friend I lived with
for two years and loved

who got shot down one night
in a gay bar?

You really wanna hear
about that?

Shoot, girl,
I had it easy compared to some.

I mean, you ought to hear
Rosie's story.

How do you keep going?
How do you keep staying here?


I don't let anyone
lay their trips on me anymore.


Hey, Valerie,
Turner's looking for you.

You're in trouble.


Mrs. Turner,
I don't smoke.

Didn't you steal this
from the recreation room?

No, I never saw it before.
I never touched it.

Your protestations
of innocence

are getting
a little boring, Smith.

Mrs. Turner--
This will cost
you two early beds.

And that goes on
your record.

Now, wait a minute,
Mrs. Turner.

Mrs. Turner, I never saw it
before. I don't smoke.

You haven't made a very
good adjustment here, Smith.

The parole board
will not be impressed.

Thank you, Suzy. You may return
this to the recreation room.

Go back to class,

what happened?

Nothing. Nothing.
Stay out of it.

Why'd you do that
to me?

I'm sorry, Val.

I would have covered for you
if you were my friend.

You little creep.

You put that ash tray
in my room.

Now why?

What do you want
from me?

I want revenge on Tommy W.

What does that have to do
with Valerie Smith?

Tommy W. has some
tight people around her.

She's hard to get to.

But for some reason or another,
she's courting you.

Now you can get to her.

All you have to do is tell me
the right time and place

to find her alone.

I'll do the rest.

I can't imagine what
could have happened to you

to make you like this.

I don't even
wanna understand.

I don't want
any part of it.

Come in, Valerie.
Have a seat.

Thank you.
I'll be right with you.

what can I do for you?

I would like a transfer,
Mrs. Little.

From here?

Well, can you
tell me why, Valerie?

I know there's a school
up north.

You can send me there.

Well, I can only make
recommendations to the board.

But I'd have to have reasons
to make a request like that.

Oh, please, Mrs. Little.
I'll go crazy if I stay here.

I know it's hard,
but you must try to adjust.

This is the best juvenile
rehabilitation facility

in the country.

It doesn't even look
like a penal institution.

I'm not talking about
how it looks.

I'm talking about
what's going on.

What? What is going on?

Well, I guess
it's what's not going on.

I mean, there are girls in here
for assault and murder.

And instead of
rehabilitating them,

dealing with their problems,

you're teaching them
how to sew and style hair.

I don't have to defend
our program.

We know what we're doing here.

You don't know
what's happening around here.

Like what?
Like homosexuality, like drugs.

You have proof?

Then give me names.


So you can find me
behind one of those cottages

with my head bashed in?

Valerie, this is San Marcos,
not San Quentin.

You really believe
there's a lot of difference.

You think that if you put a cute
name in front of something,

you're gonna change
the essence of it.

Now, what's that
supposed to mean?

You lock a girl up in her cell
for two weeks,

and you call it meditation.

We are completely surrounded
by brick walls and-and guards.

But it's called
a school for girls.

We are not prisoners.
We are wards.

All of that is designed

to help you girls adjust
when you get out.

It's an Alice in Wonderland
existence, Mrs. Little.

Can't you see that?

Valerie, I sincerely hope
that your appeal is heard soon.

Because if you can't make it

my dear, you wouldn't last
one day anywhere else.



There's been an accident
in the kitchen.

We called for ambulance.
Who is it?

One of the new girls,
Sarah Harris.



What happened?
What happened?

What happened?
What happened?

Come on now, girls.

Excuse me.
No, no.

This is a friend of mine.
To your rooms.

Break it up, everybody.
You know what happened?

Back to your room. All right.
Back to your room.

Girls, out.

Do you know
what happened?

Do you know what happened?
Is it serious?

Vat of boiling water, heh.
Fell on her.


Scalded her really bad.

Oh, God.

It was a terrible,
terrible accident.

Your little friend got hurt
real bad.

You should have been
looking out for her

instead of talking to
Mrs. Little.


Help me!



She's in
county hospital.

She's messed up real bad
right now, but...


Well, she'll be all right
after a while.

This may be the best thing
that's happened to Sarah.

How do you figure that?

She won't have to
come back here.




They got the baby.

And next, it'll be you.

Are you ready to join
the family now?


She turned 14
two weeks ago.

She hadn't even
gotten her period yet.

Just a baby.

I know you're hurting bad.

And-- And I'd like to hold you

and tell you that everything's
gonna be okay, but...

Hey, someone might walk by

and get the wrong idea,
seeing it's me, heh.


It's okay.

Heh, you ever have
a Black family before?


Well, you got one now.

Thank you.


I'm gonna
bust out of here.



I got a plan.

You want in with me?

No, my lawyer's
working on my appeal.

I'll be out of here
in a month.



You're working next to
something I need.

I mean, just a small piece
of information.

Will you help me?


Can I--?

Can I do it
without getting involved?


Yeah. Oh, yeah.




In the meantime, uh,

you stay very close
to the family.

I mean, you don't go anywhere
by yourself. You get me?

I got you.

Right. Right.

BEN: You know what I figure?
BETTY: What?

Well, that is
a classic psychopath, right?

Ben, are you still on that?
Yeah, I'm still on it.

So is
Goleta's attorney.

He's got three psychiatrists
examining the kid right now.

Okay. They find out he doesn't
know right from wrong. So?

So if they prove he's psycho,
it helps our case.

And what we have to do

is make him confess
that he lied about Valerie.

Well, how are you
gonna do that?

The DA won't even
let you talk to him.

Wait a minute.

What do you mean
we have to make him confess?

Good work, Holian. Very good.

You're a reporter,

And psychopaths are vulnerable
to flattery, to publicity.

They love to talk.

No, Ben. No.

Come on, honey.

The DA doesn't know
what you do for a living.

Think about it.

An exclusive interview
with a young musician

who gives a lift
to an honor student

the day after
her graduation

that ends in
coldblooded murder.

It's fantastic.
Makes great copy.

Okay. So I get my editor
to go along with it,

and we interview him,
and he gives the same story.

Ah. But maybe
he won't.

And you, Betty Wakefield Holian,
get to catch the rat.

Come on. We both know
that implicating Valerie

was a spur-of-the-moment thing.
Who knows why?

Sexual rejection.
Hates his mother.

Should have had mine,

Honey, I got a hunch.
Come on, it's a good one.

If you keep him talking,
give him a romantic image,

the misunderstood outcast,

He doesn't have to share
the spotlight with anyone.

I don't know.
You think it's crazy.

Do you think it's unethical?
I don't care.

I want the kid out of prison.

Honey, is it your outraged
sense of social injustice

or is it your ego?

If it works,
does it matter?


Another postponement?

Darling, I--

I know it's hard,
but please.

Another postponement?

Please. Please try to keep
your spirits up, huh?


No, no.

Mr. Holian
has a whole other--

He has a whole other plan.
He's very encouraged this time.

Oh, well,
how nice for Ben Holian.


Um. This place
isn't so bad.

Heh. Looks just like
a regular school.

Yeah, that's
how it looks.

I mean, the girls seem,
you know, like us.

They are us.

You know
what I mean.


Hey, Linda Ackerson
got engaged,

but not to
Greg Martin.

Are you ready?

After going steady
for three years.

She just met this boy,
and they're getting married.

I had a friend who had a pot of
boiling water poured over her.

They're doing skin grafts now.

Valerie, I didn't know
about Buddy Goleta.

I didn't know that he was
using drugs or any of that.

My brother told me afterwards.

I know, Joleen, it's all right.


Look, thanks for coming.

I'll talk to you later,

Valerie, I--

Pair of threes. Fantastic,
Karen, you did it!

You did it!

You have a gift

and a week's vacation
in Mexico at Guadalajara.

Be back in a minute.

James, if you'll take this
lucky lady back to her seat.

In just a moment,
our three players

are gonna be taking
their chances

in the most fabulous game
in town.

Stick around.

And in a day,
$250, huh, girls?

All right, if you want to...
ANGEL: Hey, you got visitor.

What are you
doing here?

There wasn't much
to talk about.

What are you doing?

Just writing a poem
about my kid.

I didn't know
you had a kid.

Oh, yeah. Elena.

She's a year and a half now.
Heh, heh.

Oh, you should see her.

You know, Eduardo, me and him,
we were doing so good.

He got a job.

I didn't have to hustle
no more tricks.

I made a vow before God

never to get myself
in no more trouble.

So what happened?

Sometimes God don't
hear so good in the barrio.

There was this guy,
this friend of Eduardo's,

he came over one night
to spend the night with us.


Well, within two hours, the
pictures broke through the door

and the cat turned out to be
a big dealer.

And Eduardo knew.

So we all
ended up in the joint again.

You know
something funny?

I don't even care.

I mean, all my friends
are dead or in jail.

I tell you, when you're born
in my neighborhood,

it's not a birth,
it's a sentence.

You know what your life
is gonna be like, heh.

Well, I guess you don't know
nothing about that, do you?


I don't want Elena
to know either.

You know, my brother,
he's in the Army,

and he sends money
to my mother

so she can take care
of the baby

and move away from
the barrio.

They're leaving next week.


Oh, wow, that's nice.

Yeah. I hear
it's so clean up there.

Oh, yeah.


I love the country.

So when you get out of here,
you'll be up there with Elena.

Oh, no, no.


No, no way.

I'm gonna stay away
from my baby's life.


Because I'm a whore.

I got the plan.

Rosie's coming.
Are you in, Angel?

Sure. I'm here for the next five
years, one way or another.

I've got
nothing to lose.

You change your mind,
little sister?

Not her.

She stays out of this,
and so does Wanda.

She gets out next month.

Hey, that's cool.
The less of us, the better.

What's the plan?

Up and down, two ways there.

Next one is 13.

We have the diagonal,
two ways on the diagonal.

And the next one is a 16.

Okay, we have across
three ways of 15,

which they're crossed
for Sharon

that David turns up.

It is a 15 bingo across.



How about that, Sharon?

In four days,
the county is putting in

a new waterline
right through here.

That means there will be
a lot of bodies

floating in
and out of here.

And everyone coming in and out

has to clock their time
in the visitor's book,

which is at
the reception desk, Valerie.

Now, on August 10th,
the plan calls for

some cats to be digging
a trench under the wall.

And there will only be one guard
back there on duty.

How do you know all this?

I heard that
the plans were locked up

into Mrs. Little's
office safe.

Must have been some mouse
or something that got in there.


Now, if we're lucky,
we will have exactly one hour.

Little Valerie here

will tell us the exact time
the last workman went to lunch.

And then there will be a little
hassle out on the field.

And the guard will come in
to do his thing,

and then we will walk the dog

right out the back
of the property.



What about her?

Are you gonna let her get away
with what she did to Sarah?

She's gonna go all the way.
How about--?

No, little sister.

I got some fine plans
for her farewell present.


What are you gonna do
when you get out?

Oh, my dad and me
are getting a new apartment.

All new furniture
and everything.

And he knows about a beauty shop
where I can get a job.

And he's doing AA too.

He sure made a lot of plans
when I was home.

What about you?

I don't know. I guess
I'll go back to school. Ready?


Just, uh,
get in front of me.

I mean, act casual
and keep talking, okay?



Tommy, I've been thinking
a lot about your plan.

I'm scared.

I think you should call
the whole thing off.

Are you crazy?

They give me another year
for that hassle with Kurosawa.

You mean, I'm gonna do it?
You know their game. Play it.

They'll cut your time.
It's too risky.

If you want out,
little sister, it's cool.



The coach
is coming.

Come on, girls.
Break it up.

Washington, you're the
captain of the team.

Move it.

Come on, Denise.

Hit it!

Now, set them up. All right.


Set them up, set them up.

GIRL 1: Clear.
GIRL 2: Doubles now.

Come on.

GIRL 1: Almost there.
GIRL 2: Go in.


Come on, come on, come on.

Oh, you did it.

Oh, no.


You're really bad.

Did you hear her?

Is she all right?

GIRL 1: Wanda.
GIRL 2: Oh, blood.

Is she gonna be all right?
Get the nurse out here, fast.

I'm sorry.

It was an accident.

Yeah, it was.

You were heading
for me, man.

You're crazy.

I saw the whole thing,

You were aiming for Tommy,

but you weren't there
fast enough, were you?

It was an accident.

Okay, girls,
let's break it up.

I said, break it up!

Ain't nobody
ever see nothing no more.

Oh, man.


Hi, Valerie.

Boy, oh, boy.

Did you rea--?

You really scared us.

We forgive you.


Oh, thank you.

Oh, they're so pretty.

And I got all
dressed up for you.

Thank you, heh.

How are you?
Are you all right?

Yeah, I'm fine.

I'll be out of here
by tomorrow.


That's great.
Let me put these by the sun.

That's terrific.

'Cause this place is worse
than the rooms. Gosh.

Uh, can I get you a magazine
or something to read?

No, I don't wanna read.


I've just been lying here,

About what?

Well, since we're family
and everything,

I can talk to you,


If you're out by the time
I get out next month,

could I look you up?

Oh, of course!

"Could I?" You'd better.

Could you help me find a job?
I will try, yeah.

What about that thing

with you and your dad
and the beauty parlor?

I haven't seen my father
in two years.


We never had a visit.

When I got there...

...he was gone, heh.

And I...

I sat in that apartment
for two days, and...

And just waited,

but he never showed up.

I guess he got scared again.




Wanda, what if when--
When you're out and I'm out

and we're out together,

what if you came to stay
with me?

You're kidding.

No, I think
it's a terrific idea.

I have a...

I have twin beds at home,
and then--

Oh, I always wanted
a sister.

Oh, me too. Me too.

I used to make believe--
Make believe. Right.

Oh, I guess I make believe
all the time.

No, it's good. It...

Oh, I can see it.
I mean, I really can--

I know that you and my mother
would like each other.

Oh, Valerie.

Oh, listen,
I'm from here.

And I got a long record
and stuff.

Yeah, well,
that's all part of it.

I mean, I realize that

I will never be
exactly the same again

because I'm from here too.

And that's why
it would be so terrific,

because we'd have something
in common to share out there.

Oh, Valerie,
I'm so glad I met you.

Oh, I think this is
so terrific. I--

I haven't felt like this
in so long. I...

I'm gonna leave you
and write my mother, heh.


Oh, um...

My last name is spelled

S-K-Y. Do you snore?


Do you snore?
Because if you snore,

it's all over with.
I don't.


I'll see you.

Okay. Bye.

I'm so excited.


I'm Betty Whitefield from
the Evening Clarion.

I have an appointment.

Okay, Buddy.
Now you just hold still.

You be sure
you get my good side, okay?


How could I
possibly miss?

You know, you are
a very good-looking boy.

Are you gonna put me
on the front page?


I heard you were sick.
How are you feeling?

Who told you that?

You had a pretty heavy habit,
didn't you?

Heh, yeah.

Biggest one they ever saw
in this place.

But I kicked it easy.
No sweat.

Why don't you put that down?

I'll just record, if that's
all right with you. Okay?

Did you ever shoot dope
with Valerie?

Valerie Smith.



Well, this story's about
both of you.

You know, you were very nice
to offer her a ride,

and, in return, she teased you
and made fun of you.

Are you gonna write
that down about her?

That dumb little
virgin. No way.


You don't have
to prove anything to me.

You know, I can see that
you're all man.

I just had
the impression

that Valerie was
giving you a hard time,

that the robbery
was her idea,

or at least
she went along with it.

Listen, anytime a girl
is with me,

she does what I tell her.

'Cause I'm the man, huh?



You know, I'm very lucky
that I interviewed you first.

Do you know
I had the whole story wrong?

Valerie didn't
go along with it.

What did she do?

She tell you
to bug off?

If she did, it would have taken
a lot of glue

to put her back together,
huh? Ha, ha.

But Valerie's in one piece.

She must have known
how to handle you.

Yeah, she sure is.

But you know that she's
in the joint, huh?

Oh, you mean,
there's more than one way

to get even with a chick
that puts you down, huh?

You said that, not me.


Oh, you are cagey.
You're very cagey.

You know, there's one thing
I don't understand, Buddy.

What does a sharp guy like you
have in common

with a girl
like Valerie Smith?


She's just some chick
I picked up on the highway.

Hey, wait a minute, what are we
talking about her for?

I thought this story's
about me.

Oh, yes.

Buddy, it will be now
that I know

Valerie's not your girlfriend.

Hey, she wasn't my girlfriend.

No, I never-- I never
even talked with her before.



Is it enough?

If our luck holds,
when this hits the newspapers,

the killer confessed

I could have Valerie out
in a day or two.


I love you.

Are you gonna tell
Mrs. Smith about this?

Not yet.

Not till I know for sure.
I don't wanna get her hopes up.

"To be perfectly honest, Mom,

"so much has happened to me
since I've been here,

"that I was getting scared
at the idea of coming home.

I know you'll love Wanda.

"Heh, she's about
the sweetest girl I ever met.

"Just the thought of her
coming to live with us

"makes me feel stronger.

I think we'll be of great help
to each other."

GIRL 1: Someone got hit.


Somebody got hit.

What's going on?
I have to go.

Somebody got hit.

WOMAN: Everybody in your room.
VALERIE: What's going on?


Oh, man.


Hey, Tommy, what is it?

Oh, man, she's wasted.

What are you saying?

Wanda died 10 minutes ago.
Blood clot.


GIRL 1: Try it like this.
GIRL 2: That looks too good.

You bet your sweet life
it looks terrific.

Hey, am I dry yet?

No, babe.

Can I come out of the dryer?


Anybody wanna practice on
real hair?

Mine is just
a mess.


Well, uh,
step this way, madam,

and let my 10 magic fingers
do their thing, heh.

Hey, Tommy, I changed
my mind. I'm in.

Don't sweat it, little sister.

I got it all arranged
somewhere else.

No, you don't understand.

I really mean this.

I'm going with you.


I'm going with you.



I see.




It did?

He did?
He--? He confessed?

He did! It worked!
You're beautiful.

Oh, I-- It worked!

The phone. I--

Yeah, I'm here.
When did it happen?

Last night?

He confessed
of his own free will. Oh!

To the DA's office. Oh, man.

You bet. I want her
out of there today!

Listen, listen.

I don't care if the judge
is on a fishing trip

or if he's
in an oxygen tank.

I want the release signed

Mr. Feiner, I didn't mean--

Yes, I did mean to.

Extend yourself, Mr. Feiner.

Pull some strings.

I want our client released
by 2:00 this afternoon.

I'll be right down.

Tell Allison to call
Mrs. Smith, and--

Never mind.
I'll call her myself.

You notify the school that
I'm coming down. I'll see you.


Mrs. Little's office.

No, I'm sorry.
She's out just now.

About an hour.

Valerie Smith?


I'll tell her
the minute she gets back.

We're gonna have to take
that whole...

Oh, could you guys watch it,
I just mopped there.

Oh, I'm sorry, sweetie.
That's okay. This is dry.

Go through there.

Any more of you
gonna come through?

Not till
we get back from chow.

Is there a decent
hamburger joint around

where we can get
a bite to eat?

Yeah, about a mile
up the road.

Thank you.

She's cute, huh?

Reminds me of
my little sister.

Oh, Mr. Holian,

I don't think I'll ever find
the words to thank you.

I'm so very,
very grateful.

You may not believe this,
Mrs. Smith,

but I'm just as happy
as you are.


Why do they torture us
like this?

Because they're a bunch
of sadistic creeps.


I think I'm having
a heart attack.

What's wrong, Laurie?
I'm not gonna run.

Laurie, get back in line.

I said get back in line.
I'm not gonna run.


You ass-whore bitch!

I'll break your head!

Let's go.



Run! Angie, let's go!



You leave her alone!

You bitch, you!



GIRL: Tommy!

Tommy. To--



Tom-- Tom--

Tommy, Tommy!


Fourteen billion on alcohol.

Nine billion on tobacco.

Two billion on pets.

But on children locked
in reform schools, 200 million.

That's 90 percent less than
we spend on our dogs and cats.