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The Big Bird Cage (1972)

Action & Adventure, Cult Movies, and Special Interests movie directed by Jack Hill

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Jack Hill, precursor to 80's action directors?

  • Mar 31, 2005
I'm not out and out familiar with the Women In Prison genre, nor am I all that familiar with the work of Jack Hill. I came to this flick by way of a growing interest in Transgressive/Exploitation cinema of the 60's and 70's.

That being said, The Big Bird Cage is a strange animal of a flick. The trailer for the film comes off as a mean, angry, sadistic prison exploitation movie, when in actuality it's more light-hearted than it lets on. The plot is fairly simple, a band of revolutionaries, lead by Pam Grier and Sid Haig, plan to raid a women's prison/work camp in the hopes of boosting the morale of their troops (by getting the men some ladies) as well as starting a revolution (e.g. the storming of the Bastille in the French Rev.)

What follows is fairly entertaining fare involving bumbling overweight homosexual guards, a angry, tall, blonde, Amazon-like woman greased in chicken fat, and one of the best performances from Sid Haig this side of House of a Thousand Corpses. Though firmly rooted in the exploitation genre, this film feels more like an 80's action film than standard 70's exploitation fare (Thriller: A Cruel Picture, 2000 Maniacs, Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS). I think it's because the film is more concerned with entertainment and crass humor than shock value and gore.

All in all the film feels like a long episode of the A-Team with a lot more nudity, mud wrestling, and female leads.

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September 24, 2010
Tag your movies with "low Budget" and "cult movies" and they'll go into my cult movies section of Movie Hype. We can give your reviews a shout out then.
More The Big Bird Cage (1972) reviews
review by . November 09, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Toning things down a bit from Big Doll House, Hill returned to his old stomping grounds the following year to make The Big Bird Cage, essentially a spoof of the WIP genre. If you don't take it too seriously and can handle a few sudden 180-degree mood swings, it's one of the most entertaining and certainly best-made women's prison movies of the 1970's. Somewhere on a dictatorially reigned tropical island, American actress Terry (Anita Ford) is taken hostage by revolutionary Django (Sid Haig), when …
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Shawn Robare ()
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   I watch a lot of movies, read a lot of books, and buy a lot of useless nostalgia crap. I run, am a co-organizer of the Up! Fair (, and am one of the co-hosts … more
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Pam Grier and Sid Haig stole the show in Jack Hill's Filipino-women-in-prison hitThe Big Doll House, and they pretty much power this superior action-packed semi-sequel as a South American Bonnie-and-Clyde team. The revolutionaries with mercenary hearts decide to liberate the inmates of a jungle women's prison at the urging of their lonely army of single men. All the conventions are there--scantily clad women, a deranged warden (so evil he kicks a puppy in his first scene!), catfights, the occasional kinky punishment, and of course all those showers. But Hill softens the usual sadistic formula with tongue-in-cheek humor (Haig infiltrates the all-gay prison-guard squad by shamelessly flirting with the captain) and a zippy pace. Though not quite as empowering asCaged Heat,The Big Bird Cageremains one of the most energized and entertaining women-in-prison films ever made.--Sean Axmaker
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Director: Jack Hill
DVD Release Date: February 19, 2002
Runtime: 88 minutes
Studio: New Concorde
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