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  • The only movie of the FRench thirties dealing with reform schools (for girls).The movie,very dated ,and in spite of its high rating , really a relic ,features two parts lasting about 45 minutes each.

    The first part shows how a young daring headmistress (Annie Ducaux) imposes her "new " methods based on loyalty,courage and respect.The old one,a shrew,is almost a caricature like the other "tutors" :sinister-looking (only good-looking people are good?),treating her inmates as dogs (the scene when the girls undress before going to bed is the best).

    The second part gets lost in second-rate melodrama ,one of the girls falling in love with the doctor (who is also the new headmistress's fiancé),and one of the girls (Ginette Leclerc,who at 26,was cast as an adolescent!)blackmails her to get cigarettes and alcohol.

    The conclusion predates the Vichy ideology;reneging on her love,the noble woman will devote her whole life to help girls redeem themselves.

    Word to the wise: Take Duvivier' s "Au Royaume Des Cieux"(1950) instead ;it's the same subject ,with a great director,which Leonide Moguy was not.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I rate 5 "Prison sans barreaux", it is far for being a good movie. Maybe the subject of reform school for young girls was new but the story is too melodramatic. Annie Ducaux is OK as the new director, nothing special. And Roger Duchesnes is quite dull. The main attraction in this movie are Ginette Leclerc and Corinne Luchaire, Ginette blackmailing Corinne to steal cigarettes and alcohol.

    If you like that subject, I advise you the true masterpiece directed by Julien Duvivier "Au Royaume des Cieux". And also "Unchained" ("Prison sans Chaînes") directed by Hal Bartlett.