LADY IN A CAGE - Paul Glass - "Have We An Anti-Satan Missile?" (1964)
Tonight's feature is a movie that literally freaked me out the first time I saw it back in the 60's. As far as I can remember, "Lady In A Cage" was the first film I ever saw that had truly vile, despicable, disgusting and depraved characters in it who were willing to kill just for the sheer joy of it!
The brilliant opening theme written by serious composer Paul Glass is a jittery and edgy stop and go affair that sets the scene to perfection and some of the best opening credits you'll ever feast your eyes upon!!
The warnings are all there right from the beginning, because what looks like a normal suburban neighborhood is actually fraught with danger and should be approached with caution!!
1964 was indeed a simpler time that we'll never be able to return to! AM radio wasn't dominated by right wing talk shows, but was actually the medium that would bring you music from the likes of The Beatles, The Trashmen, Dean Martin, Al Hirt, Roger Miller and The Temptations, all on the same channel!
"Lady In A Cage" is sick on multiple levels! What kind of guy calls his mother Darling?? It's a movie about obsession and oppression!
In the 1930's Olivia de Havilland was in movies like "The Adventures Of Robin Hood," and "Gone With The Wind." In 1964 she was in "Lady In A Cage," and "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte!" Her character here is that of possessive Mother Cornelia Hilyard! She has to use an elevator to get to the second floor of her home because she fell and broke her hip! Her son as played by William (The Monster That Challenged The World) Swan is on his way out the door, never to return!
It's a hot and sultry Summer Day, and the elevator just got stuck!
In no time at all, a drunken bum played by Jeff (Superman And The Mole-Men) Corey stumbles into what he considers to be a virtual goldmine, at least as far as the local pawn shop is concerned!
Three punks just happen to catch wind of the whole scene because they're also in the pawn shop to hock some stuff they've stolen!
This would be Jame Caan's first starring role in the movies, he had an earlier small role in "Irma La Douce" but other than that , he had only worked a bit in televsion! His pal was played by Rafael (Agent For H.A.R.M., The Astro Zombies) Campos, and his beat up girlfriend was Jennifer (C.C. And Company, The Thirsty Dead) Billingsley in her film debut!
Since this was the first time I ever saw anybody smoke pot in a movie, I didn't even know what they were doing!
Ann Southern has the role of the cheap whore who tries to help the bum steal some of the stuff. I didn't really find her character to be that necessary, in fact, she is later just basically pushed into a room, locked in and forgot about!
"Lady In A Cage" is a very good example of what kind of movie you can make with a minimum cast and set, and still be very effective! Pretty good disguises too, do you think anybody will be able to recognize them?
I found it interesting that James Caan's loathsome character chose to wear sandals!
James Caan has of course gone on to have an amazing career, and is still quite active today with at least five movies scheduled for release in 2013!
Olivia has just about had enough to make her go completely screaming yellow bonkers!
James looks like he's doing a pretty good job of channeling Jack, and seems like he would have been a prime candidate to star in "The Shining!"
The guys from the pawn shop show the kids what a bunch of pussies they really are!
In most movies, the viewer is thrilled when bad people finally get their just rewards, but after James first gets his eyes poked out by Olivia, and then wanders out into traffic and gets his head run over, you might think it's a bit more than he deserved! Out of all the movies I've seen in my life, this is a shot I will never forget since the first time I ever saw it, some forty plus years later, it has still remained etched in my cranium!! Yeecchh!!!
In the end, Olivia figures out that she herself is a monster when she realizes she has driven her own son away from her to the depths of despair and possibly suicide! The unwitting and stunned looky-loos stare on in horror without having a clue as to what has really happened!! Written and produced by Luther Davis, "Lady In A Cage" is tough and gritty, and is available from Netflix!