Women in Cell Block 7 (1974)
Release Date: August 17th, 1974 MPAA Rating: R
Director: Rino Di Silvestro Actors: Anita Strindberg, Eva Czemerys, Jenny Tamburi, Cristina Gaioni, Gabriella Giorgelli, Bedy Moratti, Olga Bisera, Valeria Fabrizi
omen in Cell Block 7” (also known as “Hell Prison” and “Love in a Women’s Prison”) is, unfortunately, not hilariously bad; it’s mostly just unentertaining. All the classic ingredients for a women-in-prison exploitation film are present, but the execution and the combination aren’t pieced together in any sort of amusing fashion. While violence and torture make their way into the picture, little is shown and it’s overly tame, especially for this genre. Combining a mobster movie and a grindhouse flick had potential, but the ideas play out separately – even the excessive nudity can’t make up for this poorly plotted, ridiculously structured, nonsensical disaster.
Interpol sets up a drug bust to capture mob boss Don Carmello, but rival Tonino gets away with the 20 kilos of heroin instead. Tonino had used his unsuspecting girlfriend Daniella Vinci (Jenny Tamburi) as a mule before the botched operation, so she winds up in a maximum-security prison. Fortunately for her, it’s the kind of stronghold in which the girls have nicely manicured hands, glisteningly smooth skin, and are required to take frequent soapy showers. Daniela also has an ally (Anita Strindberg as Hilda, the daughter of Carmello) secreted away in the prison to keep tabs on her wellbeing, but when word gets around that she may know the whereabouts of Tonino’s stash, she becomes the vulnerable target of ruthless interrogation.
The film is equipped with cheesy music, which is actually well placed most of the time and evolves with a bit of snazzy action-movie flair and a surprising range of instruments and styles. The only other redeeming quality comes from a marginally exciting car chase during the first 20 minutes. There is also an abundance of narration to guide viewers through the setups, getaways, double crosses, undercover agents, mob henchmen, hits, accidental deaths, and informants. But the main appeal is supposed to be the randomly inserted lesbian sex scenes and spontaneous showers, most of which barely pass as erotic.
With tons of dirt and grain, bad dubbing, pointless dialogue, haphazard framing, and miserable colors, it’s a good thing the script was intended not to interfere with the nudity. This lack of quality works against the few steamy softcore scenes, preventing “Women in Cell Block 7” from distinguishing itself from other run-of-the-mill women-in-prison exploitation attempts, while it also manages to be one of the most timid and docile of the bunch. “Get back in the sack you rotten lesbo!”
– Mike Massie