Caged Heat, also known as Renegade Girls, is a 1974 women in prison film. It was written and directed by Jonathan Demme for New World Pictures, headed by Roger Corman. The film stars Juanita Brown, Roberta Collins, Erica Gavin, Ella Reid, Rainbeaux Smith, and Barbara Steele.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jonathan Demme|
|Produced by||Roger Corman (uncredited)|
Sam W. Gelfman
|Written by||Jonathan Demme|
|Music by||John Cale|
|Edited by||Johanna Demetrakas|
|Distributed by||New World Pictures|
Two later films, Caged Heat II: Stripped of Freedom (1994) and Caged Heat 3000 (1995), made use of the Caged Heat name and the women-in-prison situation, but are unrelated to the original film.
Jacqueline Wilson (Erica Gavin) is convicted for illegal drug offenses and sentenced to a women's prison. She and several fellow convicts fight the repressive policies of the prison warden (Barbara Steele).
- Erica Gavin... Jacqueline Wilson
- Juanita Brown ... Maggie
- Roberta Collins... Belle Tyson
- Ella Reid ... Pandora
- Cheryl Smith... Lavelle (as Rainbeaux Smith)
- Warren Miller ... Dr. Randolph
- Barbara Steele... Supt. McQueen
- Crystin Sinclaire ... Crazy Alice (as Lynda Gold)
- Mickey Fox ... Bernice
- Toby Carr Rafelson ... Pinter (as Tobi Carr Refelson)
- Ann Stockdale ... Bonnie
- Irene Stokes ... Hazel
Demme had produced two films for Corman, including the women in prison picture The Hot Box (1972). He wanted to become a director, and wrote a script for Corman, but the producer did not want to fund it, as he thought the cycle had peaked. Demme succeeded in raising the finance on his own and Corman agreed to distribute it through New World Pictures.
Originally titled Renegade Girls, the final title is most likely a reference to two earlier prison-themed movies, Caged and White Heat, both of which Jonathan Demme discussed paying homage in his DVD commentary to Caged Heat.
The film was Jonathan Demme's debut as a film director. Producer Roger Corman thought that the content of his company's previous "women in prison" films was inadequate, so he instructed Demme to create a screenplay that would bring something novel to this genre. However, Corman also wanted Caged Heat to retain most of the violence and nudity that audiences for this genre had come to expect.
Demme introduced new aspects to Caged Heat, including a satirical approach and making the sadistic warden female instead of male. To a lesser degree, Demme also incorporated elements of liberal politics, feminism and social consciousness into his screenplay. Because of all these new elements introduced to the "women-in-prison" genre, and because of the film's status as Demme's first feature, some movie critics consider it to be more interesting than the average run-of-the-mill women-in-prison exploitation movie.
- Christopher T Koetting, Mind Warp!: The Fantastic True Story of Roger Corman's New World Pictures, Hemlock Books. 2009 p 64
- Maltin, Leonard. "Roger Corman Interview". Caged Heat [Motion Picture, DVD version]. USA: New Concorde
- TV Guide Movie Reviews. Accessed 25 Jul 2009