Arena in the Pacific?
April 20, 2011 9:56 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of a movie similar to Fredric Brown's short story "Arena," (or the Star Trek episode of the same name) that takes place on a Pacific island, with an American and a Japanese soldier pitted against each other? Note: I just watched Boorman's Hell in the Pacific, and it's not that.

I'm convinced I saw such a movie, possibly made for TV, back in the '70s. One scene in particular is stuck in my head—one of the combatants is cut while sliding down the trunk of a tree and develops gangrene in his leg.
posted by stargell to Media & Arts (11 answers total)
You are not by any chance thinking of the Hell in the Pacific-in-space Enemy Mine, right?
posted by Victorvacendak at 10:00 PM on April 20, 2011

Wait that was the stupidest response ever, sorry about that, I didn't see "Pacific island."
posted by Victorvacendak at 10:01 PM on April 20, 2011

None But the Brave? Amazon imdb

"Released in 1965, it revolves around the story of a platoon of U.S. Marines during WWII whose transport plane is shot down by an enemy fighter plane over an island in the South Pacific occupied by another platoon of Japanese soldiers. Both groups find are marooned and out of communication with their main forces. They engage each other in a series of battles until both sides decide to arrange a truce in order to save the life of a Japanese soldier suffering from gangrene resulting from his wounds."
posted by iconomy at 10:18 PM on April 20, 2011

Came here to second None But the Brave. Loved that movie!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:30 PM on April 20, 2011

I have a vivid recollection of seeing this movie in the 70s, along with the gangrene scene that you mention. If I remember correctly, the gangrene resulted from a booby trap--a poisonous razor blade, possibly--implanted in the bark of the tree by the Japanese soldier. The blade pierced the leg of the American as he climbed the tree, causing it to become black and gangrenous (so says my 35-odd year old memory). This factoid may weaken the case for None But the Brave (in which the Japanese soldier contracts gangriene).

I've always remembered this film as a grittier, less philosophic, and more graphic counterpart to Hell in the Pacific, and have debated posing this very question to AskMe. Here's hoping (begging?) that somebody can nab it.
posted by Gordion Knott at 2:33 AM on April 21, 2011

Gordion Knott, that is exactly the scene: poisoned razor in the bark of a tree. The American is the one injured.
posted by stargell at 5:04 AM on April 21, 2011


...not really. Just similar and SO VERY AWESOME.
posted by joelhunt at 6:02 AM on April 21, 2011

I think it might be The Challenge (ABC TV, 1970), with Darren McGavin. See this description on the TCM message boards.
posted by steef at 7:30 AM on April 21, 2011

I know this is not an answer, but I am very happy to see Frederic Brown appear here.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:09 AM on April 21, 2011

Gordion Knott, that is exactly the scene: poisoned razor in the bark of a tree.

Yep. And the arsenal included an unspeakably awesome (to my juvenile eyes) dual-barrel, possibly tripod-mounted machine gun. Based on this weapon, and the reference to booby traps in the second-from-the-top post to TCM message-board thread, I'm convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's "The Challenge."

posted by Gordion Knott at 11:46 AM on April 21, 2011

I KNEW I had seen it on ABC. God bless you, steef. Gordion—let's arrange a screening sometime!
posted by stargell at 6:55 PM on April 21, 2011

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