Jackson County Jail

Jackson County Jail
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The cops are there to protect her… but who will protect her from the cops?
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5.2/10 by 10 users
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This is a powerful drama about a young woman who stumbles into a nightmare land of hijacking and humiliation while driving cross-country from California to New York.

Title:Jackson County Jail
Release Date:March 31, 1976
MPAA Rating:R
Genres:Crime, Drama
Production Co.:New World Pictures
Production Countries:United States of America
Director:Michael Miller
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:prison, rape, escape from prison, independent film, escape, psychotic, roadblock
Alternative Titles:
  • The Innocent Victim - [US]
  • La celda de la violación - [ES]
  • Vainottu - [FI]
  • Terror bag lukkede døre - [DK]
  • Väkivaltainen maa - [FI]
  • La prison du viol - [FR]
  • Thyma viasmou - [GR]
  • Eccesso di difesa - [IT]
  • I skydd av lagen - [SE]
  • Gefangen in Jackson County - [DE]

Jackson County Jail Reviews

  • B-Movie, 70's Style
    by dougdoepke on 8 May 2011

    11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

    Fast, tough, and unsentimental. Sure, a potboiler like this is not going to win any awards, but it's got more sheer pluck and energy than twenty A-productions of the time. Pity poor Dinah Hunter (Mimieux). One minute she's a bigshot ad executive in Hollywood; the next, she's ducking cop bullets somewhere in fly-over country. It's a yuppie nightmare all the way for poor Dinah, a steady downhill once she tries a cross-country car ride. On the way she meets homicidal kids, a chiseling waitress, a righteous cop, and a prison guard from heck. No wonder she's on the run with cool dude Coley (Jones). How else can you deal with a cross section of Roger Corman's rural America. Next time she better take the plane like other bi-coastal types.

    Corman really hit pay dirt with hillbilly epics like Boxcar Bertha (1972), Big Bad Mama (1974), Crazy Mama (1975), and this one. One look at these and you'd think rural America is just as bloody and hormonally driven as big city America. But these epics are also in the great tradition of the American B-movie, those cheap productions that show guts, energy, and style. Sure, a flick like JCJ is also what some might call vulgar and exploitative, which it is. Still, there can be a lot of truth even in exaggerated crowd pleasers. Besides, these drive-in specials are generally entertaining as heck, just like this one.

  • A superb 70's "don't go down to Dixie" Southern-fried drive-in exploitation gem
    by Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) on 18 April 2006

    15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

    Eternally entrancing firebrand actress Yvette Mimieux scores her best, strongest, most commanding and effective role to date as a smart, classy, fiercely self-sufficient no bulls**t Los Angeles businesswoman who runs afoul of psycho hicks and rapist redneck cops when she goes down South during her cross country trek from California to New York. Poor Yvette has one of those days which justifies the age-old cliché "sometimes it's better to stay home in bed": her car is stolen by a creepy backwoods hick nutjob (an intense, jittery Robert Carradine, who's genuinely frightening in a rare full-blooded sicko fruitcake part), she's wrongly put in the hoosegow by the local yokel cops after loutish bartender Britt Leach tries to sexually assault her, kills one particularly unpleasant hillbilly fuzzball after he brutally rapes her (the rape scene itself is quite graphic and upsetting), breaks out of jail and subsequently goes on the lam with tough, but tender-hearted career criminal Tommy Lee Jones.

    "Jackson County Jail" qualifies as one of those great legendary rarities: it's a 70's redneck drive-in exploitation movie that not only delivers the goods and then some, but also the kind of gritty, top-notch, fairly plausible flick that both wholly earns and completely lives up to its killer cult status. Mark Miller's remarkably artful and assured direction plays a key role in making the film the grind-house classic that it is: the quick, unrelenting pace never let's up for a minute, the action scenes are rousing and marvelously choreographed, and the solid, pretty complicated and arresting narrative hooks the viewer from the get-go. Moreover, the film's astute depiction of the relative differences and similarities between cops and criminals is wickedly subversive: The crooks for the most part are loyal, honorable and compassionate folks while a majority of the police are total a**holes. This deliciously amoral masterstroke, a typically twisted piece of 70's B-movie nihilism which boldly bucks convention, lifts "Jackson County Jail" well above the rut of your standard-issue by-the-numbers formula drive-in fare.

    However, that's not to say that "Jackson County Jail" fails to hit the bull's eye in other departments; it's an across-the-board winner in every conceivable way. The uniformly excellent cast alone testifies to this: Severn Darden as a prissy, kindly, quirky sheriff, Howard Hesseman as Yvette's faithless smarmy husband, Mary Woronov as a butch lesbian outlaw gal, "Revenge of the Cheerleaders" 's adorable lead bimbo Patrice Rohmer as Jones' jealous ex-girlfriend, Cliff Emmich as a loathsome male chauvinist CEO Yvette tells off at the start of the movie, and future "Hill Street Blues" TV series regular Betty Thomas as a saucy, outspoken greasy spoon waitress who tries to fleece Yvette out of ten bucks. Loren Newkirk's melancholy, harmonica-heavy, nicely down-home country score, the often razor-sharp dialogue (when Yvette tells Jones to be careful when he faces off with the pigs at the film's thrilling conclusion, Jones responds with this choice fatalistic retort: "I was born dead anyway"), the unsparingly bleak and harsh downbeat nightmarish tone, and especially Bruce Logan's agile, polished cinematography (the use of hand-held camera for Jones' climactic face-off with the law really does the stirring trick) are all also highly impressive. Gripping, suspenseful and exciting in comparable measure, "Jackson County Jail" stands tall as a sterling example of 70's hayseed exploitation cinema at its tense, tantalizing zenith.

  • An invigorating exploitation flick.
    by Scott LeBrun (Hey_Sweden) on 16 February 2012

    7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

    Fast paced, compelling chase thriller casts the lovely Yvette Mimieux as Dinah Hunter, who decides within the first few minutes of this story to head back to her old advertising job in NYC. She makes a couple of fateful decisions, however (starting with deciding to make the trip from LA to NYC by car), that land her in one unfortunate situation after another. Sadly, these circumstances are all too believable, and it's hard not to feel an immense amount of sympathy for her as she ultimately ends up a fugitive from justice, having killed a lecherous deputy after he forced himself on her in her jail cell. She's assisted by a natural born outlaw by the name of Coley Blake (Tommy Lee Jones); even while existing outside the usual legal boundaries, Coley is a man of some integrity and softly educates the somewhat naive Dinah on some of the cold, hard realities of their predicament. In fact, Coley is far more likable than the majority of the other characters; Jones, in his first substantial film role, displays a great deal of quiet charisma. And Mimieux remains feisty and likable throughout, as she's forced to deal with one rotten lowlife after another: a chauvinistic executive (Cliff Emmich), her unfaithful boyfriend David (Howard Hesseman), a sneaky waitress (Betty Thomas), a young pair of robbers (Robert Carradine and Nancy Lee Noble), a lecherous bar owner (Britt Leach), and, the real kicker, the rapist (Fredric Cook). The flavourful music score by Loren Newkirk is fine accompaniment for a straightforward story, written by Donald Stewart and directed with maximum efficiency by Michael Miller, who keeps the action flowing smoothly. Solid performances from a cast full of familiar faces helps, also featuring cuties Marcie Barkin and Patrice Rohmer (as the girl in the restaurant and Cassie Anne, respectively), the very amusing Severn Darden as the folksy sheriff, and the always welcome Mary Woronov as Pearl, one of Coley's associates. Look also for stuntman turned director Hal Needham as the Fallsburg police chief. The movie is exciting and involving all the way. What really makes it work is the interplay between the two leads, as highly unlikely outlaw Dinah gets to know Coley and care for him no matter how little time they actually spend together. The sequence where they have some down time before the climactic action kicks in is sweet and subtle, and is definitely the best. But trash lovers will still be reasonably satisfied with the level of female skin displayed and entertained with the standard unflattering depiction of the rural types / antagonists. The downbeat, violent ending is right in keeping with the ethos of the entire decade, with beautiful, melancholy music to follow it and play along with the end credits. Good fun overall; Miller remade it for TV two years later as 'Outside Chance' and it would be remade again as "Macon County Jail" in 1997. Eight out of 10.

  • Take a plane! For God's Sake, Take a Plane!
    by Coventry on 22 January 2015

    6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

    "Jackson County Jail" is raw, tough and compelling mid-seventies exploitation coming from the nearly inexhaustible vaults of producer Roger Corman. The film definitely isn't as violent or sleazy as many contemporary and similarly-themed movies, like for example "I Spit on your Grave", because the emphasis here merely lies on the thoroughly unpleasant atmosphere of hopelessness. So, instead of a nasty and gratuitous rape 'n revenge flick, this is more of a powerful drama centered on the suffering (physically as well as mentally) of the poor protagonist and the cruel injustice of this world. Underrated actress Yvette Mimieux is truly terrific as the strong leading lady Dinah Hunter. She's a feisty publicity woman in Los Angeles, avidly defending women's position in marketing, but her clients don't share her visions. When she also catches her husband with a much younger and exotic wench, Dinah impulsively decides to meet up with her sister in New York. She also decides to travel by car for this cross-country trip instead of by plane; a choice that she will deeply regret quite quickly and for the rest of her life. In a very short while, Dinah's car and everything in it gets stolen by youthful thugs, she's nearly assaulted by a filthy restaurant owner and then she's the one put in jail because she doesn't have any papers! But in jail the nightmare only gets worse, as Dinah is barbarically raped by the crazy deputy Hobie. She manages to kill him and escapes together with convict Coley Blake, who witnessed the whole thing, but from this moment onwards they are considered fugitive cop-killers by all police department of the neighboring counties. "Jackson County Jail" fully relies on a solid script by Donald Stewart (frequent adapter of Tom Clancy novels), tight direction by Michael Miller and stellar performances from both Yvette Mimieux and Tommy Lee Jones (still in the earliest phases of his awesome career). There are a couple of moments of adrenalin- rushing action, like the chase with the sheriff and the climax, but the strength of the film lies within the grim portrayal of America's underbelly-society. Highly recommended for fans of genuine 70's cult cinema.

  • Good film with powerful jail scene
    by ronryan85 on 23 December 2004

    10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

    I thought the film was good with fine acting coming from the stars : Yvette Mimieux and Tommy Lee Jones. Jones is in his first major movie of his career and performed well. The jail house rape of Yvette is very graphic and I doubt if any other movie will show such a powerful scene unless you see "Two Women" again where the Italian Star is similarly abused.Perhaps the scenes showing Jones in a gun battle with the local police was not too realistic as it might have been but overall I believe the story rang fairly true to life and regret that it had to be placed in the area that presented the law as having such men who would take advantage of a good looking blond woman in distress. The truth is that such things do happen and if nothing else the movie reminds us all that while it is good to try to help strangers in need,it is not wise to pick up hitchhikers.

  • A Very Well Made B Movie, exceeded many A-list films.
    by vitaleralphlouis on 27 July 2011

    3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

    First of all, forget about the supposedly infamous rape scene. There IS a rape scene. OK; but that's not the heart or focus of this gem of a movie. The story is excellent, as is the direction and photography; but the real asset is the interplay between Yvette Mimieux and Tommy Lee Jones (who was not yet an old geezer 35 years ago).

    Yvette Mimieux fills my memory of seeing this one back in 1976. Yvette was famously cute and pretty when she was 20 and just getting started in the 1950's. Many actresses lose it as they age; but not Yvette. Maturing added mind-staggering beauty to her face, as maturity added to her personality --- and she still had the same petite lithe body. Women with this combination usually have to fend off dozens of Grade A men while the Playboy types are sitting home waiting for a phone call.

    If you can find this movie anywhere, look it up.

  • Yvette Mimieux and Tommy Lee Jones on the lam from a tough-to-beat charge
    by msroz on 31 July 2015

    2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

    Yvette Mimieux is an advertising professional who's out of touch with the lower classes and the defective and violent criminal justice system that beats up on them. She can't drive from L.A. to NYC without running into a waitress who attempts to shortchange her, a pseudo-hippie couple that's armed and dangerous (stealing her car), a local sheriff who won't listen to her at all after an attempted assault with intent to rape, and then a deputy sheriff who does rape her. It takes a sympathetic thief, Tommy Lee Jones, who understands the system to educate her about its pitfalls after she beats the rapist-deputy to death when he tries for seconds. She and Jones who have escaped under his forceful direction look for all the world like cop-killers. Self-defense won't cut it. He tells her to go underground. Later he tells her simply to blame him for the manslaughter, even though he had nothing to do with it.

    Mimieux plays a strong and smart woman who runs up against characters she didn't imagine peopled the "country" she wanted to see close up. The veil of rural hypocrisy is torn away in "Jackson County Jail", none too subtly, as the police eventually stop Jones with bullets at an intersection with the painted letters stop. This is after he has toppled Uncle Sam in a 4th of July parade replete with hypocritical plaudits for the good old American way and justice.

    In the foot chase sequence, the hand-held camera-work and staging are first-rate, easily superior to a good deal of modern work. We are right there and we can see exactly what the action is. The rape sequence is done astonishingly well and realistically. Mimieux really fights back and her attacker really flings her down several times until her strength wanes.

    Jones was wisely directed to underplay because this supports his naturalistic approach to acting. While not as boisterous as James Cagney, he shares with Cagney a straightforward delivery without artifice. Jones's acting is not the product of an acting school but of being a character.

    This picture must be seen in a clear and bright widescreen version to be appreciated, also uncut. Full screen muddy versions undermine it radically.

    I was taken aback at just how powerful this film is, how good it looked, how well the supporting cast added to it, the strength of Mimieux's character, the tender relationship between Mimieux and Jones, and the strong message it was delivering. This film is rightfully classified as a neo-noir.

  • Entertaining and Well-Made Drama
    by Michael_Elliott on 11 November 2016

    2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

    Jackson County Jail (1976)

    *** (out of 4)

    Dinah (Yvette Mimieux) gets into a fight with her boss and when she returns home she catches her husband cheating on her once again. She's finally had enough and takes a job in New York and decides to drive cross country but after picking up a pair of hitchhikers everything goes to Hell. She's robbed by the hitchhikers and this leads to a run of bad luck, which has her thrown in jail with bad boy Coley Blake (Tommy Lee Jones).

    JACKSON COUNTY JAIL walks a fine line between a serious drama and the type of exploitation flick that were very popular at the drive-in during this era. I must admit that I'm really shocked at how well-made the film was and at how little exploitation there actually is. I say that because Roger Corman was the producer and we know what type of movies he was pumping out during the 1970's. Fans of good dramas should enjoy this picture.

    The greatest thing for the film are certainly the two lead performers as both of them deliver excellent performances. You just can't help but feel bad for Mimieux and she perfectly captures this character, her heartache and eventually her willingness to fight to try and live. Jones is also excellent in this early performance as the tough guy who was "born dead." The two actors share some great chemistry and really make for an entertaining team. We even have Robert Carradine in a small supporting role.

    The film features a pretty non-graphic but disturbing rape sequence, which is extremely well directed by Michael Miller. The sequence is quite tense without crossing the lines of bad taste. The film runs a very quick 83-minutes and there's really not a slow spot anywhere to be found. JACKSON COUNTY JAIL has a big cult following and it's easy to see why.

  • Very good of its type
    by preppy-3 on 16 May 2017

    from United States

    Dinah Hunter (Yvette Mimieux) is traveling cross country from California to New York. In the deep south she unwisely picks up two hitchhikers. They hold her up and take her car leaving her all alone. She goes to a bar to use a phone. The bartender tries to attack her but she fights him off. Then a policeman wanders in and the bartender accuses her of attacking him! She's hauled off to jail and locked up. Then she's brutally raped but kills the man who did it. With the help of a fellow prisoner (Tommy Lee Jones) she escapes and they're both on the run.

    What sounds like a typical exploitation picture is surprisingly not bad. Aside from the rape scene (which is downright disgusting) this is pretty tame. There's next to no nudity (Mimieux briefly bares her breast) and it has a good script. This has been praised as a feminist picture. I don't agree. Sure she fights back and kills the man who rapes her but so do other woman in other exploitation films. Also she almost immediately falls in love with Jones and clings to him to save her. That's hardly feminist. The film also has plenty of shoot outs and car chases and Mimieux and Jones are very good in their roles. So it's worth seeing but a little overpraised and not a feminist film at all.

  • Not quite the exploitation picture it at first seems
    by Martin Bradley (MOscarbradley@aol.com) on 9 May 2017

    from Derry, Ireland

    Fundamentally "Jackson County Jail" has all the makings of a crass exploitation picture but is, in fact, a hard-hitting pro-feminist expose of American mores. It also gives that fine and underrated actress Yvette Mimieux one of her best roles as a young businesswoman whose drive across America turns into a nightmare that begins when her car is hi-jacked and goes all the way downhill from there to rape and murder. Of course, whether the audiences of the day caught the film's underlying message or just enjoyed the blatant sex and violence is a different matter but it has certainly built up something of a cult reputation and is well worth seeing.

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