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Monday, September 21, 2015

The Weak And The Wicked (1954)

A young woman (Glynis Johns) with a gambling problem is sent to prison for fraud. She is sentenced for one year and during that year she gets to know the other prisoners and their stories of how they got there. Based on the novel WHO LIE IN GAOL by Joan Henry and directed by J. Lee Thompson (GUNS OF NAVARONE), it's a softer version of a film like CAGED. The women aren't mistreated and the conditions of the prison are reasonable. The backstories of the women are a varied lot, some amusing (Olive Sloane's shoplifter) and some are tragic (the dead infant) but the film avoids the trashy "women behind bars" syndrome. Naturally prison conditions have changed considerably in the last 60 years so the film has an almost quaint dated feel to it but it's strongly acted and until the phony ending, it manages to avoid sentimentality through out. The ensemble cast includes Diana Dors, Rachel Roberts, Anthony Newley, Dame Sybil Thorndike, John Gregson, Sidney James, Athene Seyler and Simone Silva.

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