The Arena (1974) torrent download

The Arena

1974

Action / Adventure

5.3

Synopsis

Two thousand years ago, the people of Rome are so blasée, so used to violence, that entertaining them becomes a political problem. Someone suggests, after a hectic girl fight in a kitchen between a Nubian and a Viking slave, as a joke, that they should fight in the arena, instead of male gladiators. The idea is approved, though - and a female "Spartacus" theme follows.

Director

Steve Carver

Cast

Pam Grier
as Mamawi
Paul Müller
as Lucilius
Daniele Vargas
as Timarchus
Maria Pia Conte
as Lucinia (as Mary Count)
Rosalba Neri
as Cornelia (as Sara Bay)

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Infofreak N/A

'Black Mama, White Mama' meets 'Spartacus'! Well, not quite...

On paper, 'The Arena' looks like exploitation gold. You're got the sexy and super cool Pam Grier and Margaret Markov teamed up again after their success in Eddie Romero's 'Black Mama, White Mama'. A script by the Corringtons, fresh from the success of 'The Omega Man'. Plus two directors, prolific king of sleaze Joe D'Amato ('Antropophagus'), and Steve Carver of 'Big Bad Mama' and 'Drum' fame. Unfortunately, the movie never really kick starts into high gear, and while entertaining enough, is a bit of a let down after the classic 'Black Mama, White Mama'. Grier and Markov play slaves forced to serve the decadent Romans who make up the jaded audience of the local gladiator battles. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess that before too long the women will have to fight in the arena themselves, initially against male gladiators, but eventually their fellow female slaves. Will their individual will to survive win out over their burgeoning proto-feminist consciousness? I'll leave you to find that out... This is an above average 1970s drive in movie helped tremendously by the presence of Markov, and especially blaxploitation legend Grier, who is tough and sexy and shows quite a bit of flesh. The spirited cast also includes Jess Franco favourite Paul Muller ('Vampyros Lesbos', 'A Virgin Among The Living Dead', Caiano's underrated 'Night Of The Doomed'). A fun movie if you don't expect too much.

Reviewed by lazarillo N/A

For Corman and Grier fans, but not for D'Amato and Neri ones

This an interesting mixture of two very different kinds of exploitation film. On one hand, it's basically a Roger Corman women-in-prison film (complete with lots of showers, catfights, and a big bust-out at the end)featuring WIP regulars Pam Greir and Margaret Markhof. On the other hand, it is an Italian "peplum" that was reputedly largely directed by its Italian cinematographer Joe D'Amato and which also stars the luscious Italian actress Rosalba Neri (aka Sarah Bay) as the villianess making her return to the peplum dramas that had made her (semi)famous in the 1960's.

As a Corman film it's not too bad. It has his usual trademark of faux feminism and gratuitous female nudity (by Grier, Markhof, and some of the other slave/prisoners)and it's very formulaic right down to the death of likable innocent(s) and the revenge plot at the end. Unfortunately, it's also a little too tame--it's certainly nowhere near as sleazy as what we've come to expect from the notorious Joe D. I was also personally disappointed at how much they wasted Neri. Not only does she not get naked (a lesbian scene with her and Grier or Markhof would certainly have been memorable), but as a villain she comes off kind of bland--not nearly what she showed she's capable of in films like "Amuck", "Top Sensation", and "Lady Frankenstein".

I guess whether you like this or not will depend on whether you're more of a Corman and Grier fan (in which case it's pretty OK) or whether you're a D'Amato and Neri fan (in which case you'll probably be a little disappointed).

Reviewed by Bunuel1976 6 /10

THE ARENA (Steve Carver, 1974) **1/2

A rare collaboration between U.S. and Italian exploitation exponents and the result is not all that bad either: director Carver, executive producer Roger Corman, producer Mark Damon, editor Joe Dante (I wonder whether these last 2 mentioned reminisced about it at the 2004 Venice Film Festival where I saw them both at the screening of Vittorio Cottafavi's THE HUNDRED HORSEMEN {1964}!) and co-star Pam Grier on one side, and cinematographer Joe D'Amato, composer Francesco De Masi and supporting actors Paul Muller and Rosalba Neri on the other. The film supplies a novelty to the Roman gladiator subgenre – which had seen service in many an Italian and Hollywood spectacular during the Golden Age of such fare, and would of course be revived with the Malta-shot GLADIATOR (2000) – by presenting us female combatants: in this respect, it recalls the contemporaneous "Amazon Women" flicks (and the girls here are even addressed as such at one point!) also emanating from Italy.

The plot starts off with a number of them (including statuesque blonde Margaret Markov and buxomy black Grier – the two had actually already appeared together in BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA {1973; which I also own but have yet to watch} and, for the record, the former would marry Damon and retire from acting not long afterwards!) from different tribes being separately captured and sold as slaves to work for the Romans at the arena, under the supervision of Neri. Muller, then, is a politician who, as if taking a leaf from any of the Jess Franco movies he had appeared in, rapes Markov in front of his peers as a demonstration of his power! As befits its pedigree, the film is filled with wall-to-wall violence and nudity (much of it gratuitous) but also other potentially tasteless ingredients – but who can carp when everything is clearly done in fun? – such as the presence of a sissy overseer.

At first, the girls are made to offer comfort to the male combatants the night before the latter are "about to die" – but, when they break into a veritable catfight in the kitchen, the flustered organizer of the bouts suddenly sees a ray of light in order to inject new blood (no pun intended) into the worn-out formula! Soon, the women (one of whom, annoyingly, is shown to be perennially drunk) begin to realize that someday they may have to kill each other: Grier is the first to have to make this difficult choice but only after her hesitation causes an archer to shoot an arrow and wound her (the result of her not complying with the arena-goers' thumbs down)!; the victim happens to be the love interest of their trainer, a Tor Johnson look-alike(!) who then changes loyalties and determines to help the girls escape. Eventually, the latter take control of the arena and exact a terrible revenge upon their captors (but also one of their number who had ingratiated herself with the 'enemy'); when the Roman militia sets out in pursuit, they (or, rather, the two protagonists since they predictably emerge as the sole survivors) escape through the caves to the safety of the sea. The film, essentially a variation on the Women-In-Prison flicks that were very popular around this permissive time, was actually remade by Russian director Timur (NIGHT/DAY WATCH) Bekmambetov in 2001!

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