Lady in a Cage (1964)

Article #575 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 10-11-2002
Posting date: 3-6-2003

A woman becomes trapped in a personal caged elevator in her own home, and finds herself being victimized by psychotics intent on robbing the place.

This was one of the horror movies featuring older actresses (Olivia de Havilland in this case) that came in the wake of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? However, in place of that movie’s decayed gothic wittiness, we are given jarring, ugly, decidedly modern and alienating nihilism. The movie is violent, sadistic, painful, and just plain cruel, and this might have been more bearable had it not also been self-conscious (the woman’s comment about her tormentors being the human offal on which her tax dollars are being spent is such an artificial piece of dialogue that if the movie was capable of causing laughter I would have been on the floor) and pretentious (the final scenes with the woman crawling out of the house and being ignored by the passing traffic is so “fraught with meaning” that it’s hard to endure). The psychos are quite scary, but they aren’t exactly convincing, either; I find it impossible to believe that they’re real people. There are many familiar faces here; James Caan in an early role, Ann Sothern, Scatman Crothers, and Jeff Corey as the wino; it is for these that the movie is worth watching. It’s probably going to be a long long time before I slip this one back in my VCR.

1 Comment

  1. My only qualm with the movie is how, upon doing a preview screening (I only assume they did), did no one ask, “Hey, what happens to Ann Sothern’s character? He locks her in the wine cellar, then what?” Of all the films I’ve ever seen, this one has the most glaring unexplainable character omission (Karen Black’s abrupt departure from “Nashville” is a close 2nd).

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