Syllabus: Film 1950
By Nathan Lee
�The pure examples of Camp are unintentional; they are dead serious,� wrote Susan Sontag. By that criterion, the 1950 melodrama Caged more than qualifies for inclusion in Warner Home Video�s recent boxed set of Cult Camp Classics (even if it pales in comparison to such company as the magnificent Joan Crawford fiasco Trog.) For a �women in prison� flick, this one�s awfully somber�or at least as somber as a movie can be when it opens by dumping a paddy wagon full of bad girls at the priosn gate with a verbal kick in the tush: �Pile out, you tramps! It�s the end of the line!� Oh, but it�s just the beginning for Marie Allen (Eleanor Parker, Oscar-nominated for the part), a pregnant 19-year-old tossed in the slammer for abetting her man in a theft gone wrong. Thick with injustice and crypto-lesbians (Agnes Moorehead, Hope Emerson), Caged casts a steely black-and-white eye on Marie�s transformation from supertraumatized na�f to demoralized jailbird. Essential pulp fiction for every drag queen/butch dyke slumber party.