Young Smitty has just come to prison. His cellmates are Rocky, a "dangerous and unpredictable" 19-year-old; Mona, an 18 year-old, who is regularly abused by prison mates and Queenie, a flamboyant gay man. Rocky explains the system: Unless the kid places himself under the protection of a regular old man, in this case Rocky himself, who has a place in the power structure, he'll be the victim of gang rape by everybody else in the cell block. Queenie encourages Smitty to beat up Rocky and spread the news so he can win a better protector from amongst the "politicians" for his own benefit rather than Smitty's. Smitty beats up Rocky and makes an offer to become Mona's "old man", which Mona refuses. Smitty becomes upset, but Mona comforts him with Shakespeare's poem When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes. The two are laughing and embracing when Rocky and Queenie begin to beat Mona, accusing him of making a sexual advance on Smitty. Angrily, Smitty threatens both Queenie and Rocky, establishing himself as the new dominant male in the cell.
As mentioned before, I have of late recently seen quite. A few films of similar theme, but given the fact that this film came way back in 1971 is just so shocking to me. I mean, the boldness of the subject and the treatment itself is something to talk about. Of course you can't take it seriously, where somehow every prison mate os looking for sex and the whole dynamic but it nevertheless makes for an interesting watch. Smitty's growth is the only thing to watch out for. He grimly comes to the realization that there is no one to turn to and no way out of his horrific situation. Mona's character was also interesting. Others were ok. Its way ahead of it's time when it was released and I can se why this subject interest many film makers but I have had too much of this type, so it failed to keep my attention alive.
Strictly ok for me. (4.5/10)