Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 20th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Canada, 1971
Director: Ed Forsyth
Writers: Joseph E. Duhamel, Ed Forsyth, Paul Fulford, Jerry Thomas
Cast: Ross Stephenson, Maureen McGill, Jeremy Hart, Edward Blessington, Abdullah the Butcher
DVD released: November 22nd, 2011
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98
Synopsis: A young man wants to impress his girlfriend, so he robs bank. Unfortunately when the robbery goes wrong, she turns on him and he ends up in jail for two years.
Caged Men was directed by Ed Forsyth, who’s man claim to fame is the Superchick. The only crew member of note on this production was assistant cameraman, who was the camera operator on a pair of Bob Clark films, Black Christmas and Breaking Point. Other alternate titles that Cage Men is also known under include, I’m Going to Get You… Elliot Boy and Caged Men Plus One Woman.
It is difficult to gauge whether this film is meant to be a no holds bar expose about the brutality and copious amounts of sodomy that occurs or if it is just a out and out exploitation film in same vein as it’s female counterparts WIP (women in prison) films.
And while the film often makes foreshadowing hints about what it truly means to someone’s prison bitch. This aspect of the plot, is actually woefully underdeveloped. Thus further adding to the confusion of what this film is really trying to say.
Another area that is also hard to gauge are the performances, which range from merely adequate to good. it should also not come as a surprise that for the majority of the cast that this is their one and only screen credit. Without a doubt the films most memorable performance comes from a actor named Jeremy Hart, who is cast in the role of a prison that uses his position of power with the warden to help him sodomize all the new prisoners. Also the film features WWE hall of fame wrestler Abdullah the Butcher as one of the prisoners.
Though it is frustration trying to forge through this film’s indecisive narrative. First and foremost, its many peaks and valleys along the way, most of which occur in the films middle act. Fortunately all is not lost, since the film comes very close to redeeming itself by its shocking finale act.
Code Red presents Cage Men in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the films original aspect ratio. The source used for this transfer are in excellent shape, colors look nicely saturated, black levels look very good and details look sharp throughout. There are no problems with compression or edge enhancement.
This release comes with one audio otpion, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. There are no problems with distortion, dialog comes through cleanly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film under the title ‘I’m Going to Get You… Elliot Boy’ (1 minute 27 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), unmatted nude scene (2 minutes 13 seconds – letterboxed widescreen) and two audio commentaries, the first one with film critics Alonzo Duralde and David White and the second one with film critic Nathaniel Thompson and filmmaker David DeCoteau. Other extras include a music video with Maria Kanellis, who sings a song titled ‘Fantasy’, while dancing around in skimpy outfits and trailers for Stanley, Cut-Throats Nine, Love me Deadly, Scream, The Last Chase and Schoolgirls in Chains.
Also there are two ways to watch the main feature, ‘Watch the Movie Only’ or ‘Watch the Movie with Maria!’. This seconds option is essential two segments with Maria Kanellis, one before the film and the second one follows the film. In her opening she set’s what this film is about, while dressed up as a character from the film. For the closing segment she capsulizes what we have just watched, of course all of her comments are done in a tongue and cheek way.
For the unmmated nude scene, the viewer is given the option of seeing more male genitalia. The two audio commentaries couldn’t be more night and day, with the only thing that they have in common is that neither are actual about the actual film at hand. The first one with Alonzo Duralde and David White is the more unfocused of the two, as they spend the majority time cracking jokes about watch is unfolding on screen. The second one with Nathaniel Thompson and David DeCoteau provides some insight into Canadian cinema from this era and Gay themed cinema in general, which apparently was in vogue in the first half of the 1970′s. It should be noted that they also from time to time poke fun at what is going on screen, at least they do it in very small doses that it does not wear thin as it does on the other commentary. Overall Code Red once again rescue a forgotten film and give it an exceptional release.