Prison Without Bars

Prison Without Bars is a 1938 British black-and-white crime film directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and starring Corinne Luchaire, Edna Best and Barry K. Barnes.[1] It is set in a girl's reform school, and was based on a play by Gina Kaus, previously filmed in France as Prison sans Barreaux (1938).[2] Corinne Luchaire starred in both versions.[3]

Prison Without Bars
Directed byBrian Desmond Hurst
Produced byAlexander Korda
Written byArthur Wimperis
Margaret Kennedy (dialogue)
Based onplay by Egon Eis
Otto Eis
Gina Kaus
Hans Wilhelm
StarringCorinne Luchaire
Edna Best
Barry K. Barnes
Music byJohn Greenwood
CinematographyGeorges Périnal
Bernard Browne
Edited byWilliam Hornbeck
Charles Crichton
Distributed byUnited Artists Corporation (UK)
Release date
  • 21 September 1938 (1938-09-21) (London, UK)
  • 9 April 1939 (1939-04-09) (US)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


A young progressive thinking woman becomes superintendent at a French girl's reformatory dominated by the harsh previous head. A young girl is blackmailed by her acquaintance over her love for the superintendent's fiancé, but is released to join him in the end, when all is revealed.[4]


Critical reception

In The New York Times, Frank S. Nugent dismissed the film as "another prison picture, and while we would not want to pass too harsh a sentence upon it, neither can we fairly pretend that it is innocent":[5] whereas, in December 1938, The Daily Telegraph selected it as one of their ten best films of the year.[6]


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