I have been waiting for this film to come out on DVD like forever and now finally it has. I’m talking about The Arena released in 1974 with The Goddess Pam Grier.
Before Coffy , Foxy Brown and Jackie Brown, Ms. Grier starred in several low budget exploitation films produced by Roger Corman made in either the Phillipines (The Big Bird Cage) or, in this case of The Arena, Italy. (Read her autobiography Foxy in which Grier tells a funny story during the making of the film involving her on a runway horse and the legendary director Frederico Fellini)
The film was a rip-off of Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus in which Grier plays a “Nubian” slave along with co-star Margaret Markov, a Viking slave, forced to become gladiators when they get into kitchen fight and someone thinks it’s a good idea to have women fight to death in the arena. Little do those fools realize that it would lead to a slave rebellion led by Grier and Markov.
It’s all grimy, good violent fun, with plenty of ample female nudity back in the good old days when actresses didn’t mind taking their clothes off. The film comes out on DVD from Shout Factory on January 24, 2012 as part of their on going Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Lethal Ladies Collection.
Yet a perfect example of the kind of film they just don’t know how to make or could today. That’s the sad thing. Who for example would you cast in Pam Grier’s part? Yeah, you see? Can’t think of anyone? But on the other hand now you have The Help. Now you see why I long for The Arena.
Here’s the trailer: