Psychological aspects of life behind bars, particularly as far as femmes are concerned, get a generous probing in Women’s Prison [from a screen story by Jack DeWitt]. Villain of the piece is Amelia (Ida Lupino), supervisor of a women’s prison which adjoins a jail for men. A ‘border-line psychopath’ who’s never been able to hit it off socially with men, she takes it out on her femme inmates who apparently have done better with the opposite sex. Among the objects of her ire are Helene (Phyllis Thaxter), in for automobile manslaughter; Joan (Audrey Totter), doing time for a gun possession charge and wife of convict Glen (Warren Stevens); forger Brenda (Jan Sterling), et al.
Lupino, in portraying the heavy, makes herself intensely disliked. Howard Duff is an easy-going physician, patient and sympathetic despite his problems. Sterling scores nicely as a tough moll, Cleo Moore is a typical femme inmate and Vivian Marshall, as an ex-stripteaser gone wrong, shines in some amusing impersonations.