Thursday, February 22, 2024

Tubi Thursday: The Arena (1974)

 Well, I teased this one last week with zero idea if this was on Tubi or not.
As you probably guessed, it is.

Let's go to Rome...

In Ancient Rome, a bunch of people are being captured as Slaves.

A very-1950s Gay Character (this Film was made in 1974, as a reminder) buys our Heroines up.
They have to do all of the usual jobs- Housework, Entertainment and the like.

Shockingly, this is not good for them.
Their 'owner' also runs a Gladiatorial Arena (even though they only built about half of it) and makes them work around it.

They do namedrop Spartacus, by the way.

Weirdly, this Film marketed around 'hot ladies fighting' tries to milk TONS of drama and pathos.
With the crowds wanting more (and inspired by watching Grier and Markova fight in the kitchen), they decide to make the ladies into Gladiators.

This 'crazy' idea was a real thing.  After all, Gladiatrix is a thing.
Even Spell Check didn't mind the word.
Markova has a plan- get their freedom!

They get the help of the Trainer, who just lost his lady (also a slave).
Will they overthrow the rich elite?
Will they fight the powers that be?

More importantly, will Markova survive to the Credits this time around?

To find out, stream this weirdly serious Film now.
It's not bad, but it sure isn't great either.  Considering what you were expecting though, is that a surprise?

This one is all about Ladies fighting in a Gladiatorial Arena.  Were you expecting Oppenheimer?

That said, they definitely tried to make this WAY MORE of a Drama than I was expecting.  It is definitely an Exploitation Film- no question!- but it also tries to make commentary about how bad that all is.

I guess you can have your cake and eat it too if your Film takes place before that expression was coined.

Don't expect amazing Acting here, though Grier and company do honestly try.  Again- it was more than I was expecting.  Everyone gets an Arc (small as it may be) to their Character.

The Film is a good example of how you can make a Film like this, add more depth and still not lose the appeal.  It wasn't like, for instance, making a fun Horror Film about Witches in a Ballet School into a nearly 3-hour slog.

Mind you, the 2001 Remake is probably lacking much of the subtext and characterization...

A kind-of fun Film that really tries to make you feel drama and all that stuff.  You can take it or leave it, but I do kind of like it.

No comments:

Post a Comment