Lady in a Cage Studio: Paramount Year: 1964, B&W Rated: NR Length: 94 Minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0 (mono) English Subtitles Closed Captioned Special Features: None S.R.P.: $14.99, USD Release Date: March 29, 2005 Lady in a Cage is an early 60’s example of an exploitation flick. Shocking for its time, the film is disturbingly sadistic with moments of gore. Most notable, however, is the hamfisted performances from virtually all involved. Olivia de Haviland plays Mrs. Hilyard, a woman recovering from a disabling hip injury. Well-to-do, she has had a personal elevator installed in her upscale home. She smothers her adult son with love, and he can’t stand her for it - though he’s too afraid of her to tell her. Alone for a long weekend, Mrs. Hilyard becomes stuck in her elevator during a power outage, suspended a dozen feet above the floor. A passing drunk hears her alarm ringing and goes to investigate. Seeing her trapped in the elevator, he takes advantage of the situation. Instead of assisting Mrs. Hilyard, he steals liquor from the residence. The sadistic Randall (James Caan, in his first credited film role) hears of the woman’s plight, and takes his accomplices to rob the home while the helpless Hilyard can only watch. Then, things turn ugly, with threats and violence and more - such as a whole sublot that unravels around Hilyard’s unhealthy relationship with her son. Caan is the only one who is watchable in this film. De Haviland turns in a sub par, over the top performance, under poor direction from Walter Grauman. De Haviland fans would be better served watching her other film of that year, Hush Huh, Sweet Charlotte. The film also features Ann Southern, Jennifer Billingsley, Jeff Corey and William Swan. Lady in a Cage is from the “so bad it’s almost good” file. Decidedly not for all tastes, the film does have a bit of a cult following. Personally, I find it’s an unpleasant film, and not one that I would revisit. The Transfer The picture is presented in an anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 aspect ratio. While the black levels are reasonably strong and consistent, the picture comes across with above average brightness. Highlights are usually okay, but the picture seems unnaturally bright, overall - even in scenes where the power is supposed to be out. I have no idea what the theatrical experience for the film was like, but the lighting is so flat that I suspect the experience on DVD is pretty much as photographed. The picture enjoys good sharpness, with a hint of ringing visible on occasion. The print is relatively clean of damage, displaying a mild amount of scratches and debris throughout. The DVD includes the original mono soundtrack, and a remixed 5.1 track, as well. The remix is quite well done, opening up the eclectic score and providing subtle directional cues when warranted. It works well for the traffic scenes and other outdoor effects, while remaining minimalistic in terms of directionality in the more subdued indoor scenes, and with dialog. The monaural track is clean. Frequency response is good, dialog is consistently clean, clear and intelligible. A slight background hiss can be heard on either track, but it isn’t at all distracting. Final Thoughts I wouldn’t recommend this film for general audiences, but if my description appeals to you, this disc is priced right. You’ll likely find it for around $10 at retail. The transfer is good, but there are no extras.