Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Orange Is the New Black and the women's prison film

Here's my latest Baffler piece, in which I review the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black in the context of some classic Hollywood-era women's prison movies. My take, basically, is that while the show is enjoyable and has moments of real power, ultimately it falls short by indulging in too much audience-pleasing sentimentality and comedy shtick. For a far tougher look at a women's prison that does a much better job at looking at prison as a system, I strongly recommend the classic 1950 film noir Caged. The critic Jonathan Rosenbaum called Caged “probably the most ferociously effective and politically potent women’s film ever made.” He was right.

Eleanor Parker in Caged (1951)


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