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The Arena (1974)

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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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Steve Carver
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Margaret Markov ... Bodicia
Pam Grier ... Mamawi
Lucretia Love ... Deidre
Paul Muller ... Lucilius
Daniele Vargas ... Timarchus
Marie Louise Sinclair Marie Louise Sinclair ... Livia (as Marie Louise)
Maria Pia Conte ... Lucinia (as Mary Count)
Rosalba Neri ... Cornelia (as Sara Bay)
Vassili Karis Vassili Karis ... Marcus (as Vic Karis)
Silvio Laurenzi Silvio Laurenzi ... Priscium (as Sid Lawrence)
Mimmo Palmara ... Rufinius (as Dick Palmer)
Antonio Casale ... Lucan (as Anthony Vernon)
Franco Garofalo ... Aemilius (as Christopher Oakes)
Pietro Ceccarelli Pietro Ceccarelli ... Septimus (as Peter Cester)
Jho Jhenkins Jho Jhenkins ... Quintus
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Storyline

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. Written by Artemis-9

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

See wild women fight to the death! See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Naked Warriors See more »

Filming Locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy

Company Credits

Production Co:

Rover Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rosalba Neri did her own stunt when she gets tripped during the food fight scene. See more »

Alternate Versions

Shout Factory's DVD of this film was missing two scenes, so they had to patch them in from a full frame video source. See more »

Connections

Edited into Diario di una vergine romana (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE ARENA (Steve Carver, 1974) **1/2
15 April 2011 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

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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