Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 25th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1978
Director: Karen Arthur
Writer: Don Chastain
Cast: Lee Grant, Carol Kane, Will Geer, James Olson, Budar, William Sherwood
DVD released: October 26th, 2010
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: Ever since the death of their father, Ellen has been taking care of her mentally unbalanced sister named Cissy. Instead of getting Cissy the help she desperately needs. Ellen caters to her every whim. Making if more and more difficult to reign in Cissy’s emotional outbreaks.
The Mafu Cage was directed by Karen Arthur (Legacy, Lady Beware). The screenplay was adapted a French play titled ‘Toi et Tes Nuages’ that was written by Éric Wesphal. The cinematographer on The Mafu Cage was John Bailey, who’s other notable film’s include American Gigolo, Cat People and The Big Chill. The editor on The Mafu Cage was Carol Littleton, who’s other notable film’s include Body Heat and E.T. The Extra- Terrestrial. The African tribal infused score The Mafu Cage was composed by Roger Kellaway (Silent Scream).
Content wise The Mafu Cage takes on a subject matter that many may find hard to stomach. Like violence towards animals, via the Cissy character beats to a pulp several primates and a incestuous relationship between Cissy and her sister Ellen. And while the aforementioned incestuous relationship was exploited in previous releases of this film, especially its initial theatrical release. There is actually a deeper connection that goes beyond anything sexual between the two sisters. Anchoring this most unusual relationship and the madness the unfolds are spectacular performances from its two leads actresses Lee Grant (Shampoo) in the role of Ellen and Carol Kane (When a Stranger Calls) in the role of Cissy. Ultimately The Mafu Cage is a compelling melodrama that will linger in mind long after the film’s unforgettable conclusion.
Scorpion Releasing Presents The Mafu Cage in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors look a tad off, print debris varies in degree throughout, black levels fare well and details generally look crisp. In all despite the short comings of this transfer. It is the best this film has looked on home video to date.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Outside a few very minor instances of background noise. This audio mix is in pretty good shape as dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a photo gallery, a deleted scene, two alternate title sequences, interviews with director Karen Arthur (44 minutes 33 seconds – 4:3 full frame), cinematographer John Bailer and editor Carol Littleton (26 minutes 59 seconds – 4:3 full frame), actresses Carol Kane (20 minutes 7 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and Lee Grant (16 minutes 51 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and two audio commentaries the first audio commentary with Karen Arthur and the second audio commentary with John Bailer and Carol Littleton. There is a wealth of extras which are candid and insightful. The amount of over lapping information between the interviews and the audio commentaries is minimal. Overall The Mafu Cage gets a strong DVD release from Scorpion Releasing.