Caged (1950) - full transcript

A gentle, naive, pregnant 19-year-old widow is slowly, inexorably ground down by the hardened criminals, sadistic guards, and matron at a woman's prison. Will she be the same person when her sentence is up? - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
Pile out, you tramps.
It's the end of the line.

Grab your last look at free side, kid.

- Hi, Emma.
- Hi.

Shut up!

Line up by twos.

Take them to the receiving room,
Cassie. You know the way blindfolded.

Heard you was falling back in.

Still got you scrubbing,
Meta? Give me some skin!

No guy's given me a tumble in months.

Shut up!

The lists are alphabetical. Marie Allen.

Court says you're married. Legitimate?

All valuables must be turned over
to us until you hit free side.

Wedding ring, too.

Some county-jail gum heels
must have been here first.

Do they still soak you a fiver
for a phone call or a visitor?

Sign this. I'll fill it in later.

Mother living? Father? Any brothers? Sisters?

Well, there's just my
mother. She got married again.

Nothing like this has ever
happened to anybody in the family.

No previous criminal record.

In case of death, who do we notify?

Death? Oh, Mom, I guess.

Belong to any church?

We used to go. It's a church on State Street.

I forget its name. I think...

Armed robbery, huh? For one to 15 years.

The judge called me an accessory.

I've got to get to your
version of the crime, so shoot.

Well, we'd only been
married a couple of months.

We tried to find a place to live,
but everything costs so much,

so Mom let us move in
with her and my stepfather.

Well, Tom was always fighting
with Gus. That's my stepfather.

He tried to find a better
job, and then he got fired.

Get to the crime.

When Tom drove into that gas station,
I stayed in the car while he...

Then the attendant hit Tom over the
head, and I went out to help him.

I guess that's why they
called me an accessory.

They took back the $40.

Five bucks less, and it wouldn't be a felony.

Don't try to kid me. How old are you really?


Sign this. I'll skip the mental
test. You look normal enough.

Lots of them haven't all their marbles.

You can take your physical.

- Where?
- The infirmary. Your number's 93850.


No, 93850. Remember it.

The infirmary's at the end of
the corridor. Follow your nose.

Next, Emma Barber. Snap into it.

Say, you got real skinny, didn't you?

I hope your batch is
cleaner than the last lot.

I had to scrub them with brooms.

Eyes okay.

No drugs in the ears. Open your mouth wide.

I said, wide.

No drugs in the mouth. Teeth sound.

Lung tap sound.

Heart excited but strong enough.

What's the matter?

I feel a little sick.

Get that way often?

Yes, the last week or so.

Say, you expecting company?

I don't know.

Another pregnant one. Get up.

You know who the father is?

My husband.

Well, ain't we getting respectable?

Could he help with the expenses?

He's dead.

Another bill for the State. Get dressed.

Shall I put down "pregnant"?

No, better wait. See what the doc says.

That trained seal sure
can ask a lot of questions.

Who's this Pearl Harbor,
anyway? Is she an inmate?

- Shut up, Emma, and strip.
- Oh, goodie.

Never mind the glamour, puss.

Couldn't I have a comb?

What's the difference?
There's no men in here.

Can I write a letter to my mother?

No, not while you're in isolation.

You gotta stay here until
your blood test comes back,

so for two weeks, there'll be
no mail, no visitors, no nothing.

Welcome to Lysol Lane.

Did you just get in today?

I'm on the last lap.

Ten to 20. They had to put me in here.

No beds in the infirmary.

I'm sick.

I got it bad.

Oh, I'm sorry.

You better not stay too
close to the bed, sister.

It's just the break you get.

Sometimes you get a matron who's a louse.

Sometimes you get a good egg.

I'd walk a mile for a
cigarette if they'd let me.

I was just thinking.

Quit bragging!

It's all the judge's fault I'm here.

When Joe first beats me up, I grab his
gun and just wing him in the shoulder.

Do they arrest me? No!

Then a year later, I fires
at Joe again and miss.

Do they give me a rap
for attempted assault? No!

Then last year, I defends
myself again with a gun,

and the police still treats
me like I was poison ivy.

And then finally I finish Joe off for good.

Well, it's that judge. If he had nabbed me

the first three times
while I was just practicing,

I wouldn't be here now for murder.

It's all the judge's fault.

Read it and weep.

Rubbing it in because we're behind the iron.

Heads or tails, you lose.

You girls are moving along today.

Marie Allen, I've got news
for you from the infirmary.

Your blood came back okay. No treatment.

Now, the Superintendent will see you first,

and Doc says you're two months on the way.

That's swell, honey.

I got a grownup son older than you.

It's funny. You get a baby from a guy, and
then 20 years later, you finish him off.

Hello, Ann. Well, it's good to see you.

How are things up front?

Busy. Who's first?

Marie Allen.

Good luck, kid. Be seeing you.

It's tough at first. I know.
I've been through the mill.

Been here eight years.

Kept my nose clean, and Mrs. Benton
let me help her in the office.

Having a regular job like that
certainly makes you feel good

after working in the bakery for five years.

What are you in for?


Come in. Sit down here, please.

Don't be frightened.

I want you to know that
we're all here to help you.

I want you to believe that I'd like
to be your friend if you'll let me.

What is it? What's troubling you, Marie?

I have been so lonely the last two weeks.

Those other women, the way they
talked and the awful things they said

and those matrons, always
watching, never leaving you alone.

You'll find all kinds of women in
here, just as you would outside,

but every large institution must have rules,

and the matrons are here to
see that the rules are obeyed.

You weren't sent here to be punished.

Just being here is the
punishment. That's all.

You know, first offenders like you,
Marie, are our greatest concern.

Unfortunately, they have to be
crowded in with more experienced women

simply because we haven't more space,

and you'll be with such women.

Of course, I want you to have friends.
All of us need an outlet for affection,

but no prison is a normal place.

How soon can I go home?

If your record is good, you can
come up for parole in 10 months.

But I'm going to have a baby.
Do I have to have it in here?

I know how you feel, Marie,

but the inmates aren't allowed
to go home to have their babies.

Don't worry.

Any blood relative can take care
of your child until you get out.

Then my mother will take care of it.

But they wouldn't let me
write her. Can I write her now?

Of course, now that we're sure
that your relatives actually exist.

That's because some of the inmates
change their criminal contacts

into kindhearted uncles and cousins

and sometimes even sick grandmothers.

I know how strange all this is
to you, but you were sent here

because you were involved in a serious crime.

We want to help you so that when you go home,

you can start a new life.

I want to do the right thing.

You're an intelligent girl.
You know good from bad.

Try to keep busy. It's important.

Now, as to your work,

I'll bet you helped your mother with
your father's shirts, didn't you?


Well, we'll put you in
the laundry as a checker.

It will be easier for
you because of the baby.

You can see me anytime.

Hi, Ann.

Hello, Harper.

Since you went fancy working upstairs
for Benton, I kind of missed you.

This is Marie Allen. Mrs. Benton
says to put her in laundry.

Marie's gonna have a baby.

A baby, huh?

Why, you're just a kid yourself.

- So long, Marie.
- Goodbye, Ann. Thank you.

Let's you and me get acquainted, honey.

You may be a number to
the others but not to me.

Sit down in this chair. It's kind of roomy.

You like the stuff in here, huh?

Just little presents from my
girls for taking good care of them.

- Caramel?
- No, thank you.


You know, you're gonna find out

that a lot of things
are tough to get in here.

This is just a little
personal service of my own.

On the side, sort of. Understand?

I like to do a good turn for my girls.

Why, sometimes, on my night off,
I drop in on their relatives.

I could get real news to your husband.

He's dead.

What about your people? What do they do?

My stepfather's a mechanic,
but he's not working.

Well, I bet they saved up for a rainy day,

like me investing in real
estate for my old age.

Why, you think how much
easier I could make it for you,

you being in a delicate
condition, so to speak.

The little comforts.

Maybe you got a habit that's hard to break,

cigarettes or something.

I know how it is.

I could get you whatever you wanted.

Time's money to me. I can't
favor every one of 60 girls.

Mom would be glad to help if she could.

No dough, eh?

Follow me.

Home, sweet home.

Just like the big cage in the zoo, only
you clean it up instead of the keeper.

Bucket and brush is in the corner closet.

Mrs. Benton said I was
going to work in the laundry.

I'm the boss here. Start scrubbing.

But Mrs. Benton told me...

Where do I begin, Miss Harper?

Now you're getting hip.

Use this lye. Soap's low.

Okay, get going.

Didn't you ever scrub a floor
before? Put your shoulder in it.

You're doing okay.

Keep that up, and you and me
are gonna get along just fine.

Pipe the new fish.

Millie, the old dame in the bed
says you loud-talked to Harper.

That took guts.

How much time are you pulling?

One to 15 years, but I come
up for parole in 10 months.

Just a hot minute. What's your rap?


Society. Larcenists don't talk to CPs.


- Are you kidding?
- CP, common prostitute.

Where you been living, the moon?

Her name's Smoochie.

Glad to meet you.

Got news for you. She's all right.

I'm Kitty Stark, and that's
Claire. What's your name?

Marie Allen.

Stop scrubbing. Chew the fat.

Hey, Lottie, check her.

Maybe you need bifocals.

The dish is poison, Harper's pet nose.

- I'll tell Evelyn!
- Evelyn! Don't kid me.

Harper's first name is Filth.

Kitty! Kitty! Oh, Kitty.

What's the beef?

The matron said if I broke
another dish, she'd report me.

She refuses to believe I've
never worked in a kitchen.

Yeah, I know, but ain't I told you

not to go shooting your
mouth off about yourself,

all about the servants you
had and your governesses

and the yachts your old man bought?

Oh, why won't anyone understand?

It's always been like that.

Even as a child, I had no one
to go to when I was in trouble.

My parents were always away.

Even after I was married, I...

You're new here, aren't you?

I'm Georgia Harrison. I'm
not supposed to be here.

I didn't forge those
checks. It was all a mistake,

but wait until my appeal comes
through. Then I'll get out of here.

My father's waiting for me,

and he knows I'm not guilty.

We have a rose garden out in back,
and in the summer, it's beautiful.

All day, I'll sit and watch the roses,

and in the evening...

She's a real lady, Georgia,

only she married some guy who
likes spending other people's dough,

so he got her to write
out a bunch of bouncers.

I got news for you. Georgia
gives this place class.

She ain't the only one.

I had two real mink coats and a
closet full of black lace nighties

and a shelf full of real French perfumes

that my girls lifted right out of
one of the swankiest stores in town.

Don't rub it in.

All I ever had was a different
pair of shoes for every night.

Chow line!

Lottie! Millie! Dottie! Look at...

Did you read all about me in the
papers? They even had my picture.

Get those things out of here.

Next time, I'll get somebody to
show you how to scrub a floor.

In line!

Get back to the bullpen!

Squealer! How did you get word to Benton?

I didn't.

You're a liar.

You're riding a phony, Harper.
It was me got word to Benton.

I'm a tall weed in the grass,
and the grapevine's blooming.

You old buzzard.

Lay a hand on me, and
I'll put your lights out.

I'm in for life. One more like
you is just so much velvet.

I ain't got no time to argue.

Line up for count!

- Lewis, Millie.
- Christiansen, Velma.

- Kopsky, Gita.
- O'Connor, Mary.

- Devlin, Claire.
- Wagner, Rita.

- Roberts, June.
- Menard, Tina.

- Barber, Emma.
- Minnelli, Nina.

- Cassidy, Katie.
- Bates, Naomi.

- Stark, Kitty.
- Klein, Julie.

- Marie Allen.
- Allen, Marie!

- Allen, Marie.
- Mullen, Elaine.

- Cardnum, Ruth.
- Branigan, Lottie.

- Hoffman, llsa.
- Stone, Louise.

- Vogel, Dottie.
- Elkins, Peggy.

- Laverne, Frankie.
- Orangeman, Hope.

- O'Shaughnessy, Mitzi.
- Carter, Mamie.

- Hansen, Alison.
- Jacobs, Hattie.

- Yosta, Violet.
- Twitchell, May.

- Smith, Peggy.
- Harrison, Georgia.

- Taylor, Alice.
- Fuller, Mimi.

- Danzig, Lulu.
- West, Minnie.

You're stir-simple if you
think you made more dough

playing the con game than I did in my racket.

Who are you calling
stir-simple, you cheap crook?

Oh, quit bragging about how
much dough you used to make.

Both of you are giving me a pain.

I made double what any of you
made, and I'm not bragging.

There wasn't a crooked jeweler
in town who didn't come to me.

Once, I stashed a load of
hot ice worth 50,000 bucks.

What a sweet racket we had!

Six suckers a day bit the hook,

and we'd lam out of town
before the coppers caught up.

Joe and me lived high.

Gee, you girls are lucky.

I always fall in love
with a guy that won't work.

Last one beat me up, then beat out of town.

But I got news for you. Men are important.

Personally, I'd hate to see them abolished.

If it wasn't for men, we wouldn't be in here.

You said it. I've been married five times.

What's wrong with that?

Nothing, if you're not married to
them all at the same time, like I was.

I bet you got some story, too, huh, Kitty?

Your husband in the stir?

He was killed in a holdup.

If he was alive, he'd have another
dame when you get out anyway.

- Good night.
- Good night.

How many jobs did you pull
before they nabbed you?

I don't want to talk about it, please.

You will.

I want to go home.

I want to get out of here.

Do you hear that train?

People are going home on that train.

Conductor, wait for me.

Let me on that train!

Let me out of here.

I don't belong in here. I'm Georgia Harrison.


Father! Father!


Oh, Father!

- No.
- Grab her.

- No! No!
- She's bleeding like a stuck pig.

A cold hose will quiet her down.

No, Harper, the infirmary.
She's cut an artery.

File out, you tramps!

- Christiansen, Velma.
- Kopsky, Gita.

- O'Connor, Mary.
- Allen, Marie.

That old lady of mine, the things she writes.

"And I know you'll be a good
girl and keep out of trouble. "

How much more trouble can I get into?

Get lost.

You ain't deep.

I've been watching you.

You're no squealer, so
I'm gonna give you a break.

What are you gonna do
when you flop out of stir?

Ever figure on boosting?

This kid wouldn't know
a booster from a hustler.

Boosting, shoplifting, the
department store circuit,

none of your five-and-dime
stuff like your first rap.

We operate on a big scale.

The boys will protect you
just like your own mother.

If they protect you, why are you in here?

I knocked a guy off.

The syndicate pays me for recruiting,
so I can take care of Harper.

Live easy.

You just leave it to me, and I'll
see that you get your parole quick.

You see, these guys I'm
working with, they got drag.

Time to flop out, and they'll
fake a legit job for you.

With the soft dough you can make shoplifting,

you can get the things a girl likes.

I know what's going through her
head. She's been listening to Benton.

Rehabilitation, taking cold
showers, working for good behavior.

When I get out, I'm not coming back.

- After I'm paroled...
- Parole? Didn't the parole board okay me?

I've been packed a solid
year pulling dead time.

You're a repeater.

They don't let any con out of stir

until the parole officer gets
her a job and a place to live.

We think we're flopping out, then
wham, they can't find us a job,

and we're packed in here pulling dead time.

You see, kid, in this cage,
you get tough or you get killed.

Better wise up before it's
too late. Now, how about it?

Don't think I'm not grateful,

but I don't want to get mixed up in anything.

I don't think boosting is
the only way to get along

when I get out of here.

I've got to do it my own way.

You was a nurse in the free
side. What's the matter with her?

Nothing that vitamins
and calcium wouldn't help.

You got them pills in the pogey?

They never heard of anything but aspirin.

Tell the nurse I said she should go
out and get you whatever stuff you need.

That slob will do it. She owes me plenty.

I'm all right now.

Marie knows where taking
favors from you will land her.

- Ain't you learned nothing?
- Quit needling her.

The only thing important is my baby.

If you're old enough to have a kid,

you don't need this big sister
sticking her nose where it don't belong.


Tomorrow's parole-board day.

Would you find out if my name's on the list?

- Mrs. Benton promised that the moment...
- You're on the list.

3:30 tomorrow, Benton's office. Be there.

Nice work, kid.

I got a new bra you can have.

I got some slick, new perfume you can have.

Let me iron your dress.

Want me to put your hair
up in curlers for you?

Do they fit?

They pinch a little, but
they look better than mine.


Well, how do I look?

Oh, fine.

3:00. Three hours away.

I'd have gone crazy if I
had to pull another year.

I'll be 30 soon.

After you got out the first
time, what made you fall back in?

The same thing that got me in the first time,

a guy.

When I met him, I was wet behind the ears,

sex and love and marriage all mixed up.

When I got out of school, he hired me.

I didn't know until it was too late
what kind of a dirty racket he was in.

I loved him too much to walk out on him.

You're lucky your man's dead.

- Don't say that!
- Your man's dead.

He can't turn you into a
two-time loser like mine did.

Even after I got out the first time,

there he was, waiting for me,

but that's all over with.
I'm starting from scratch.

They flopped me back.

They flopped me back.

Quit cheating, you dirty crook.

Who you calling a dirty crook?

Shut up, the both of you, and play cards.

- She called me a dirty crook.
- Well, it's true, ain't it?

Yeah, but I got a right to be
sensitive about it, ain't I?

I'll call you and up two.

You're loaded with nothing.

There's your two and three more.

You in this pot, June?

The twister and the slammer.

Three hundred and sixty-five more
nights and days, and I wake up.

Get a load of the new look.

By the time we get out of
here, it'll be the old look.

I got news for you.

If that's what dames are wearing
now, I'm glad I'm in here.

The guy outside likes the way I look.

Just bought himself a brand-new car.

Must be a truck.

He's taking me to a show.

Tough they flopped you back in.

We could have double-dated with his friend.

After the show, he's taking me to his place.

He's got a room up over
the bar where he works.

Real comfortable, if you know what I mean.

Every time he kisses me good night,
I just want to keep on leaving him.

- He's got...
- Keep your snoot out of our business.

Good night, girls. Pleasant dreams.

At least we got honest matrons in here.
When I bribe one, she stays bribed.

Anything you want?

Harper! Harper!

Before you go, you better tell
Benton. June's acting stir-bugs.

All repeaters act queer
when they're flopped back.

Pete don't like me to keep him waiting.

See you in the morning, girls.


June. June.

I'd like to speak to Dr. Saunders.

What? I can't hear you.

Yes, I know.

He's not here. He went out on a case.

Dr. Ashton? This is Ruth Benton.

I'm sorry to call you at such an hour,

but I remember your offer
to be a free consultant.

An emergency. A premature birth.

Eight months.

Yes, thank you, Doctor.

What's everybody blowing their fuse for?
I've delivered kids in here by the dozen.

It's a miracle he didn't die.

Get a clean blanket.

When my dog had distemper,

I took him to a cleaner
infirmary than this one.

Yes, I know, Doctor.

Twice I've put in requisitions

to have this place modernized and repainted.

Why not use $1,000 of your
budget for the purpose?

Maybe if the medical
board were to take it up.

Five inmates have told me June
was acutely depressed last night.

They swear they asked you to advise me.

You believe any bull these inmates hand you?

I've asked you time and time again
to watch changes in a girl's behavior.

You mean to tell me you couldn't
see that she was acting strangely?

With 60 girls in my bullpen, my only
job is to see that nobody escapes.

You helped to kill June just as
surely as if you'd hanged her yourself!

Will they investigate?

I wish somebody cared enough
to make an investigation.

So what are you going to do? Suspend me?

I'm going to do everything
I can to have you fired.

You gave me three suspensions,

and you couldn't make one
of them stick, remember?

This time, I will.

So you call the Commissioner. So what?
I call my friend, Thornton Goodrich.

He gets the Commissioner on the phone,
and, bingo, I'm back on the job again.

You sit there on your bustle, the big boss,
and think you know how to run this place.

Do you know how it ought to be
run? With a piece of rubber hose.

Break them in two if they talk out of turn.

Anyone who doesn't toe the mark
sits in solitary for one month.

Bread and water.

One funny move from a girl, and
I clip every hair off of her head.

That's the way it used to be run,
and that's the way it ought to be run.

Just like they're a bunch
of animals in a cage.

Get out of here.

Is she alone?

- She is, but...
- I'll go right in.

If you'd just let me ask her, sir...

Mr. Donnolly.

Blame the Lieutenant Governor for this visit.

He asked me to drop in.

I'm always glad to see you, Mr. Donnolly.

Too bad about what happened last night.

- Please, sit down, Mr. Donnolly.
- Thank you.

Someone on the state medical board got
in touch with the Lieutenant Governor

early this morning and raised a big howl.

A zealous young doctor. I've...

I forget his name. He called the board.
He was shocked about the infirmary.

I warned you that something
like this would happen

when the board voted us
$8,000 instead of $80,000.

Can't you understand that in the long run,

$80,000 would have saved the State millions?

What do you want for your girls now?

A swimming pool? Television
sets? A beauty parlor?

No, merely the things I worked to
get in other prisons and did get.

Teachers, a full-time psychiatrist...

Now, don't tell me that
your inmates fell in love

with their grandfather's
bicycles when they were little.

I'm afraid I'm too tired to
appreciate your wit, Mr. Donnolly.

I only know what we need.

I wish we could drag the public in
here to watch the inmates decaying.

I have a great respect
for you. You're a fighter.

I used to be a Golden Gloves
boy myself in the old days.

They taught me that, when the
odds were against a good fighter,

to cover up if you wanted
to keep on your feet

because even though you lose the decision,

it's better than a knockout.

Good morning, Mrs. Benton.

Good morning.

- Does it say on his birth certificate...
- You got a break.

Mrs. Benton insisted we just
put the name of the town.

Your mother's downstairs
in the visiting room.

Can she come up and see the baby?

It's against orders.



Marie, baby, you feeling all right now?

I'm okay. How are you?

Oh, ailing a bit.

I hope you understood about me not writing.

I mean, I ain't much on writing.


Isn't it wonderful about your grandson?

Yeah, wonderful.

I'm gonna call him Tommy. Oh,
Mom, you're gonna love him.

Already he's got hair,
the same color as Tom's,

but he's got your eyes.

I can't take the baby. Oh, I want to.

What woman my age don't want a grandchild?

But your stepfather won't
have it in the house.

We argued and argued till
I was blue in the face.

So help me, if I had a dime to
my name, I'd walk out on him.

I keep figuring how I could take the baby.

I can't leave Gus.

There'd be no one to take
care of me till you get out,

and I ain't getting any younger.

I don't know what to do.
I don't know what to do.

Mom, stop crying. Tom's folks are dead.

If you won't take him, they'll
put him up for adoption.

What do you want me to do?

You've got to leave Gus.

I'll be out of here in three months.
I'll get a job and support you.

We'll have a real home,
you and the baby and me.

Mom, find something until I get out!

Well, I'm not as young as I was.
I tire easy. The doc says my feet...

Can't you think of anyone but yourself?

Maybe it would be better
if someone else took him,

some nice family with money.
They could bring him up real nice.

I don't want anyone else to have him!

Oh, my God! Oh, my God!

You're his only flesh and
blood. You've got to take him!

Don't keep saying that!
Don't keep saying that!

Mother! Mother, come back here!

You gotta take him! You gotta take him!

Mother, come back! Mother! Mother!


Don't let it throw you,
honey. You're still a kid.

If you get paroled soon enough,

there'll be a lot of guys
that will tumble for you.

You can even get hitched and have another kid

if you're dope enough to want to.

The trick's to flop out as quick as you can.

Like I've told you, the boys
can get your parole moving fast.

How about it? Don't it make sense, honey?

Think it over, sweetie, but
get this through your head.

If you stay in here too long,
you don't think of guys at all.

You just get out of the habit.

Line up, you tramps! This
ain't no upstairs delicatessen.

Time for count.

- Lewis, Millie.
- Christianson, Velma.

- Stark, Kitty.
- Taylor, Alice.

Allen, Marie.

3:00 tomorrow, Benton's
office. Parole hearing.

- Mullen, Elaine.
- Cardnum, Ruth.

- Branigan, Lottie.
- Hoffman, llsa.

- Elkins, Peggy.
- Vogel, Dottie.

When you get in there, say
anything you got on your chest.

It's the one chance you
got to spill the works.

Benton will be pulling for you.

And when you get out of this cage,

go take yourself a bubble bath
for me and park in it for a week.

Have your breakfast,
dinner, everything in it.

You know, honey, you're gonna find
out that most people in free side

wouldn't hand you a job
cleaning out a hog pen.

- If you'd listen to me...
- You're wasting your time, Kitty.

Your funeral.

Hey, Foley, wait till Kitty Stark sees this.

- Are they friends?
- Friends? They hate each other's guts.

What's so funny?

We've got a new fish coming in.

Maybe if you're real nice, you
might get her for a roommate.

And old friend of yours, Elvira Powell.

It's going to be a rich haul.
None of your penny-ante stuff.

You'll still do what I pay you to do.

Them days are over.

Hey, girls, take a look at your queen
bee. She's buzzing off the throne.

She never was nothing
but a dime-a-dozen booster

with so little influence
she couldn't even get off

on self-defense for a murder rap.

I ain't got nothing against you. It's
just a matter of dollars and cents.

Elvira Powell's an institution
with a big bankroll stashed away,

and I always wanted to meet an institution.

Someday I'm going to
get my hands in her hair,

and I'm gonna pull it out by the roots.

I made it! I made it! I made my parole!

This is Marie Allen.

Marie, we have to decide

whether nine months has taught you that
robbing people at the point of a gun...

I never wanted to, but my
husband wouldn't listen to reason.

I couldn't leave him. I loved him.

Now, what type of work can you do?

Speak up.

I could be a salesgirl or wait tables,

work in a laundry after all
the experience I've had here.

Please try to make your answers brief.

This report states your stepfather
refuses to have you in his home.

Where would you live if paroled?

Well, where would you live? With relatives?

With my Aunt Rose and Uncle
Harry. They're very respectable.

Uncle Harry's a gateman for
one of the biggest factories.

They're very fond of me.

If they're so fond of you, why
didn't they take your child?

Well, a baby would have
been a lot of trouble.

I wouldn't be.

We'll investigate them.

Maybe it would be better if I lived
alone, anyplace the parole officer found.

Out of the question. We must make certain

that you have beneficial
surroundings and guidance.

You're hardly more than a child, only 19.

A girl grows old here before her time.

Marie's been married. She's
seen her husband killed.

She's borne a baby here in prison.

She's had the baby taken
away from her by law.

How can anyone be called young who
has lived through such experiences?

I've lived a lifetime in a year in this cage!

If I have to fall back in,
I'll be like the others.

And I'm not like them!

Oh, please. Please, give
me a chance to prove it.

I've paid my debt. Let me out, please.

You'll never regret it. I promise I'll...

What? What?

Wait till I fix this thing. I
haven't gotten the hang of it yet.

At your age, with no
favorable home conditions

and no beneficent influences on the outside,

we feel that nine months is too short a time

to prepare you for your
responsibilities outside.

Parole is not granted.

We'll review your case in a few
months, and you'll hear from us.

Got flopped back. Tried to do a mope.

Hanging on a bush, eh?

Benton says no solitary.

Oh, Benton's a fool. If I had her job, I'd...

Benton's okay with me.

So I go on this picnic, see?
Skinny takes me out in a rowboat,

begins criticizing my family, though,
and to make it worse, he slaps me,

so I slap him back.

You just slapped him?

Well, I did have an oar in my hand.

He kept on hitting me,
so I kept on slapping him.

Still with your oar in your hand?

What did you keep on slapping him for?

Well, he kept on coming up.

Pipe the new fish.

Get a load of Elvira Powell.

Hello, girls.

So help me, I never saw such
an old-looking bunch of bags.

I've checked in here for maybe six months.

Grand jury's having itself a little fun,

so in order to save some
of my friends embarrassment,

I got myself a phony rap so they
can't subpoena me as a witness.

It'll all blow over by spring. I'm
used to comfort, and I'll expect it.

Pick up your check at my lawyer's, Big Davis.

There's $100 waiting for you
every week for value received.

Hello, Kitty.

Read about you and Ed. Divorcing
him would have been easier.

Gimpy Sullivan says you're drumming
up shoplifters from the inside.

I got a concession.

No more. While I'm in, I
want no kibitzing from you.

What's your name? How'd you hurt your hand?

I'm a big girl, and this isn't
my first year away from home.

My name is Marie Allen.

If I said no to Kitty, I'm
sure not gonna say yes to you.

She's a cute trick.

Oh, wake up, Lottie. You're playing a game.

Sure, you could sit down in a
department store some places.

That could be a gold
egg you got in your hand.

Okay, now try it again, and make out
like that cake of soap's a diamond pin.

- How much?
- $150.

Okay, wrap it up.

Spotters would have nabbed you.

I'm too dumb to be a booster.

Some dames got more talent than others.

But I got to have some trade
if I ever get out of here.

You any good at it, Marie?

Anybody with half a brain could
figure out how to fool a spotter.

Pigeon like you would get her
wings clipped first trip out.

Now, let's see.

If this is the jewelry counter,
what counter would be over there?

I guess perfume, gloves.

Then the elevators would be over there?


- That's showing her.
- Guess she showed her!

A bull's eye, baby! By
the time you're sprung,

I can have you connected with
one of the biggest outfits...

Come on, you tramps. Line up for Christmas.

Nina Minnelli.

Emma Barber. Emma Barber.

Mary O'Connor.

Santa Claus couldn't get in here. He's a man!

Marie Allen.

Sadie Fillmore.

Naomi Bates.

Mary Brown.

What do you know? Jungle red.

It's funny how lipstick can
make you feel all prettied up.

Who sent them?

Powell slipped Harper a
check to buy them for us.

That bloated buzzard! Who
does she think she's kidding?

Lipstick. She knows we can't keep them.
She only did it to get Benton sore.

She'll drool when she sees the Super
coming and taking them away from us.

Well, until Benton finds out,
I sure feel like a new woman.

Rhinestones are phony.

You can have real ones
anytime you change your type.

There's $100 extra in it for you

if you get word to Benton
that Kitty's recruiting.

- Merry Christmas, girls.
- Merry Christmas!

- Merry Christmas.
- Oh, how pretty.

I hope you'll all have
a pleasant day tomorrow.

Let's hope that many of you
will be home this time next year.

Now, tomorrow morning, there will
be Christmas services held here

for any of you who might like to attend.

Oh, Ann, where did the lipsticks come from?

Elvira Powell.

Oh, of course, by way of Harper.

Girls? Girls, could I have
your attention a minute, please?

I didn't know what else to
do for you for Christmas,

but evidently, someone thought of it for me,

so from now on, all of you
will be allowed to use lipstick.

Merry Christmas, Marie.
Why aren't you singing?

Give me one good reason why I should.

I know this is a frame, and I
got a rough idea who's back of it.

I've been stretching muscles that
haven't been stretched in 30 years.

Even that soft job in the mailroom poops me.

I've been a lady of leisure too
long. What's new in the social set?

Kitty Stark is still in solitary.
I think she'll listen to reason now.

Meaning what?

She tried to play rough with me when
I was taking her down to the hole.

I didn't tell you to get tough with her.

By the time I got through with
her, she knew I meant business.

Look what she's got.

I found it outside the
laundry. I'm gonna keep it.

Sure must be a dopey cat to crawl in here.

Boy or girl?

I'm not taking any chances.
I'm gonna call it Fluff.

Harper will pitch a doozy if she finds it.

I'll bring my milk from supper.

Line up for count!

Line up for count!

- Lewis, Millie.
- Christiansen, Velma.

- Kopsky, Gita.
- O'Connor, Mary.

- O'Brian, Julie.
- Wagner, Rita.

- Devlin, Claire.
- Minnelli, Nina.

- Barber, Emma.
- Menard, Tina.

- Cassidy, Katie.
- Bates, Naomi.

Okay, where is it?

You don't get no breakfast
till you hand over that cat.

You know it's against the
rules to have any pets.

Hand it over.

Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!

All of you know this is one
of the most serious offenses

that can happen here.

I'm taking away all privileges
until further notice.

Now, I want to know who started all this.

It's dead.

She attacked me when I
tried to take away the cat.

Then she tried to escape.

Is this true?

The first time you tried to escape,
I gave you the benefit of the doubt.

This time, you have to be disciplined.

I'm going to put you in
solitary for three days.

All I wanted was the kitten.

Three days?

Those are my orders.

My room.

No, Evy. No!

Do like I said.

If Benton ever finds out...

Shut up.

- Marie Allen, three days.
- I'm taking Kitty Stark back.

You better have the doctor
see her before Benton does.

She looks stir-bugs to me.

I'll take her over to the infirmary.

Nothing to be scared about.
Being alone isn't so tough,

and bread and water never killed anyone.

Maybe I'll sleep for three days.

Stop thinking about it. It'll grow back.

Let me out of here! I'll
do anything you want!

Oh, God! Let me out. Let me out.

Please, please, please!

That's what you think!

Don't leave. I want you to hear this.

Send a wire to the Commissioner.

Demand that you immediately
dismiss Matron Evelyn Harper.

Inmate in serious condition of
shock due to clipping of hair.

Harper repeatedly ordered to
discontinue these barbarous practices.

Insubordination reflects on my position

and the health and
well-being of the inmates.

I'd count 10 before you sent that.

Benton sure means business.

Medford, 5342.

I can't afford to lose
my job, Evy. I got debts.

Shut up.


I want to speak to Thornton Goodrich, please.

Tell him Evelyn Harper.

Yes, ma 'am.

We're sort of distant cousins,
you know, Thornton and me.

Good morning.

Happy New Year, Thornton. How are you?

Oh, just fine, thanks.

I got something you ought to know.

Oh, I couldn't tell you over
the phone, but it's dynamite.

Those filthy lies!

But at least it's nice to know we
have the support of so many people.

Three welfare leagues,

a half a dozen women's clubs
from all over the country.

If they'd only get
together and stick together,

then maybe situations
like this wouldn't arise.

You can just bet the
others have organization.

And they won't stop there.
What are you going to do?

I'll know better after I
talk to the Commissioner.

They're sitting outside looking so smug.

Send them in.

Good morning.

Good morning, Commissioner.
Won't you sit down?

I think there are ashtrays handy.

The Governor's madder than a turkey gobbler.

Everyone's on my neck
because of what you've done.

Aren't you confused, Commissioner?

It wasn't I who gave those
ridiculous stories to the papers.

What's the idea getting Harper
sore over nothing at all?

I suppose a man would call the clipping
of a girl's hair nothing at all.

Well, you could have talked it over with
her instead of flying off the handle.

The Commissioner means,

your predecessor never
quarreled with the staff.

My predecessor refused to
regard criminals as human beings.

I've tried to change that attitude.
I intend to keep on trying.

There is no place on my staff
for matrons like Evelyn Harper.

It's too bad all this had to
happen before she was fired.

Who said anything about firing her?

Why fire a political appointee

just because of a minor
difference between you and her?

Besides, firing her won't do us any good.
It's this stink we've got to squelch.

How do you intend doing that?

I can get Harper to take back what she said.

She can call it a mistake,
admit that she was hot-headed.

The directives, Sam.

Well, I'm coming to that.

At the same time, we'll announce

that these directives are to
be put into effect immediately.


The Commissioner has put it
in the form of a memo to you.

"Inmates who have been honor
women will no longer be put

"in subordinate positions on the staff.

"The proposed plan to allow
occasional work outside the prison

"when merited by selected girls is denied

"as well as the proposed
plan for educational... "

You don't honestly think I'd consent to that?

Why, I'd be betraying every man and woman

working to free prisons
from methods like yours,

to insulate them from the abuses
of politicians, cheap politicians.

Have respect for my position, Mrs. Benton.

I wouldn't allow the Governor
to speak to me like that!

Oh, Fred, Mrs. Benton,
let's not lose our tempers.

Look, we came here with the
best intentions in the world,

hoping to get together with you,
to let this thing all blow over,

but you leave me with no alternative,
except to ask for your resignation.

If he asks for my resignation,
I'll demand a public hearing.

Now, just see here. We can get together.

We can if you tear up those
directives and fire Evelyn Harper.

That will clear my name
and allow me to do the work

that must be done around here.

He'll do nothing of the kind.

Then I'll announce you've
asked for my resignation,

and I'll demand a public hearing.

The State allows me such
a hearing, and you know it.

Let the public learn how this prison is run.

Fire me, Commissioner. I insist on it.

I want that public hearing.

Marie Allen, back from the hospital.

Stop it! Stop it!

Stop it!

Peggy Elkins.

Naomi Bates.

Honest, sometimes I wish
that old lady of mine

- would stop writing me.
- Julie Klein.

- "I sure wish you could be out by Easter...
- Tammy Slovo.

"... so you could see your kid brother...

- "... graduate from high school. "
- Thelma Graham.

She must think I'm in a country club,

- taking a rest cure.
- Ruth Cardnum.

- I got news for her.
- Nina Christiansen.

My kid brother's gonna
get graduated without me.

Mimi Fuller.

Judas Priest!

Mary O'Connor.

Arlene Sidney.

Evelyn Mason.

Alma Jones.

Mary Adams.

Luana Cohen.

Gee, look how she looks.

- Guess you'd look that way, too...
- Tracy Swanson.

...if you had a week in solitary.

- Yeah, and almost a month in pogey.
- Helga Jorgensen.

I didn't know what kind of a heel Harper is.

She's like a cop I was sweet on once.

He used to work guys
over for no reason at all,

just because it made him feel important.

If I'd known, I wouldn't have started on you.

Quit shaking the tambourine.

I'll be sprung soon.
You'll run the cage again.

If I can do anything for you,
try to get your rap shortened...

What did you say?

- Wagner, Rita.
- Devlin, Claire.

- Minnelli, Nina.
- Barber, Emma.

- Menard, Tina.
- Cassidy, Katie.

Bates, Naomi.

Don't be smart. Let's have the name.

Stark, Kitty.

Taylor, Alice.

- Allen, Marie.
- Mullen, Elaine.

Okay, dummy, if you can't hold
that cup, get back to the bullpen.

Feed your faces and keep your traps
shut if you don't want to get...

Kill her! Kill her! Kill her! Kill her!

Kindly omit flowers.

Sunday. Nothing for me to do except
think about the next 10 years.

Here today, here tomorrow.

What's your itch?

Oh, I keep thinking of Kitty sitting
in the death house, and I get...

Take it easy before you blow a tube.

You got to hand it to Benton.

Even with all her trouble, she
tried to keep Kitty off the hot seat.

Yeah, she kept telling them
Kitty was off her trolley.

Boy, what's going on in Benton's office!

There's six matrons spilling over

and a bunch of girls from the other bullpens.

- What did you tell Benton?
- I shot the works.

Helen wrote down every word,

all about Harper chiseling
the liquor and soap and things,

what she did to Kitty. I
sure gave them a earful.

You know something? I think Benton
might use me as a witness at the hearing.

Maybe there are a few things
I can tell her tomorrow, too.

I've got news for you. She talked
to me like I was anybody else.

Bet you a pack a week

you'll still be pulling
dead time next Christmas.

Keep your big flapper shut.

Claire's giving it to you straight.

Ain't you played the honest John too long?

You could have made a swell booster.

You still can get out of here.

You ain't got much time.
She's being sprung tomorrow.

What do you want Powell to do,
send you an engraved invitation?

These birdbrains giving you
spiel what to do out in free side!

Hand me a laugh. I got
a file long as your arm.

I was queen of the con women
when Claire was wearing diapers.

There's nothing I ain't
done, including murder.

Stop tooting your horn.

But that makes me the crookedest
crook of any of you, don't it? Okay.

Before you get any bright
ideas, listen to me.

I had a first time like you, but
I can't remember how long ago.

Then the second rap, then
the third. Now I'm a lifer.

I'll be 71 soon. Been a con 40 years,

and you know what I think?
Nobody got cheated but me.

Forty years taken away.

So I'm giving it to you straight.

Wait a year on dead time, but
get a legit job slinging hash.

Then, get a good guy, have a kid.

What I'd give for a sink
full of dirty dishes.


No, that's all right.

Ain't they cute?

Amateurs coming for lessons.

Bullpen B, 60 inmates,
all types of offenders.

This place smells like a zoo.

What's she in for?

And men call us the weaker sex.

- Look at those faces.
- Environment, my dear. Environment.

They say the Superintendent
has a murderess working for her.

- Did you make it?
- Yeah.

Gee, she's getting out.

Mamie will press them for you.

Marie Allen, checking out. 93850.

That's six cents a day for laundry work.

Deduct 10 days for having
a baby, three days solitary,

that's 502 days times six cents.

You can cash this on your way out.

Oh, wait a minute.

Guess you want your wedding ring, don't you?

Thanks for the haircut.

Sit down, Marie.

Now that you're leaving,
let's not lie to each other.

- What do you mean?
- This cashier's job is just a blind.

The parole officer okayed it, didn't she?

Elvira Powell has a lot of friends.

In a couple of more months,

the parole officer could have found you work.

You'd have made some honest money,
have self-respect and decency.

Where did those things ever get me?

Why do you give up now
that you don't need to?

When you're free?

Free for what? Go to my baby?

To sit down to a turkey dinner with a family?

To kiss my husband?

I know it's difficult to
start over again, but...

From now on, what's in it
for me is all that matters.

You did your best and where did it land you?

You can't lick the system.

Well, if you've got nothing more to say...

Well, if you ever need any help...

Thanks, but I won't.

Well, I hope you win.

For that $40 Tom and I heisted,

I certainly got myself an education.

Here's the address of
the parole officer, Marie.

- Goodbye.
- So long.

Front gate, 93850 coming out.

That's right.

What shall I do with her file?

Keep it active. She'll be back.