The Arena (1974)

The assistant director of Johnny Got His Gun, as well as the director of Big Bad MamaLone Wolf McQuaid and Eye for an Eye, Steve Carver directed this exploitation roughie, where slave girls become gladiators and rise against their masters. But hey — it has Pam Grier in it! And you know why it’s probably so sleazy? I blame the director of cinematography — Joe D’Amoto!

In the time after Spartacus, in the ancient Roman town of Brundusium, a group of slave girls are sold to Timarchus (Daniele Vargas, Eyeball), a promoter who puts together the fights in the colosseum. After the girls engage in a fight, she gets a big idea: make them fight to the death.

That’s when Mamawi (Pam Grier) and Bodicia (Margaret Markov) — who had just teamed up in Black Mama, White Mama — decide to team up and get out alive. Rosalba Neri (Lady Frankenstein herself!, as well as Lucifera: Demon Lover and Amuck!) is in this too!

Markov met her husband, producer Mark Damon, while making this movie, but couldn’t date until production was over, as director Steve Carver had made a rule regarding cast and crew intermingling.

Your enjoyment of this will depend on how much you enjoy watching women battle as gladiators and get treated as slaves. Go in wisely, dear reader.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.

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