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Mandingo (1975)

A slave owner in the 1840s trains one of his slaves to be a bare-knuckle fighter.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writers:

Kyle Onstott (novel), Jack Kirkland (play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Mason ... Warren Maxwell
Susan George ... Blanche Maxwell
Perry King ... Hammond Maxwell
Richard Ward ... Agamemnon
Brenda Sykes ... Ellen
Ken Norton ... Mede
Lillian Hayman Lillian Hayman ... Lucrezia Borgia
Roy Poole ... Doc Redfield
Ji-Tu Cumbuka ... Cicero
Paul Benedict ... Brownlee
Ben Masters ... Charles
Ray Spruell Ray Spruell ... Wallace
Louis Turenne Louis Turenne ... De Veve
Duane Allen Duane Allen ... Topaz
Earl Maynard Earl Maynard ... Babouin
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Storyline

Slave owner Warren Maxwell insists that his son, Hammond, who is busy bedding the slaves he buys, marry a white woman and father him a son. While in New Orleans, he picks up a wife, Blanche, a "bed wench," Ellen, and a Mandingo slave, Mede, whom he trains to be a bare-knuckle fighting champion. Angered that Hammond is spending too much time with his slaves, Blanche beds down Mede. Written by Allen Smithee

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Expect all that the motion picture screen has never dared to show before. Expect the truth See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

25 July 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mandingo - O Fruto da Vingança See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | 4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charlton Heston turned down the role of Warren Maxwell. See more »

Goofs

During Mede's first fight in the city, he and his opponent are wrestling on the grass. When they roll over the floor, the grass is moving like a slipping carpet would, revealing it to be a sheet of artificial green, probably lying on the floor of a sound stage. See more »

Quotes

Hammond Maxwell: Raise your head. Raise your head. Now you're lookin' away from me. I can't see ya. Put your eyes on me. Look at me straight. Into my eyes.
Ellen: I can't, Master.
Hammond Maxwell: I craves you to do it, Ellen.
Ellen: Niggers don't...
Hammond Maxwell: Don't what? Look a white man in the eyes? If'n you're told to do it. If asked to do it, you can do it. Ellen. Don't you be a-feared. If you don't like me, you don't have to stay.
Ellen: I like you, Sir. I want to please you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The international version of the film (released on PAL region 2 DVD) contains a different cut of the film that runs approx. 5 minutes shorter than the U.S. release but also has many scenes presented in alternate clothed takes. In all 12 scenes were either trimmed or re-edited with alternate shots/angles/takes:
  • Scene where slave is bent over and inspected for hemorrhoids is cut.
  • Scene where the wench is being prepared for her deflowering is presented in an alternate take where her breasts are not exposed.
  • Scene with pregnant wench is shot with alternate angles to obscure nudity. Perry King's full frontal nudity is cut and replaced with a closer shot that reveals he is wearing shorts when he kneels down to pray (It looks like a goof - only a bit of the waistband can be seen at the corner of the frame).
  • Alternate takes of the slave being strung up to be beaten are used to obscure nudity, and many shots of him being beat and left bloody are cut.
  • A few seconds where Perry King's cousin rips off a wench's dress and bends her over to begin beating her is cut to remove nudity. The beating is left intact.
  • The slave market scene is edited to remove the topless wenches on display, and the shot where the German widow sticks her hand into Ken Norton's shorts and "inspects" him is cut short. The second shot with her hand in and then removing it is left intact though.
  • An alternate take is used with a prostitute clothed rather than nude at the bawdy house.
  • A few seconds of a prostitute rubbing on Perry King's crotch is cut.
  • An alternate take is used during the fight at the bawdy house so that a prostitute is seen holding her dress up while she cheers whereas in the original she lets it fall and her breasts be exposed.
  • The entire scene between Perry King and Brenda Sykes in which she asks him if he'll let their child go free is presented in alternate clothed takes. In the original film they are both completely nude. Even the camera angles and setups are the same, only with clothes in the international version.
  • In the scene where Ken Norton fights a man to death one long shot where the other fighter claws his back is cut. Also cut is when Ken bites down on the other fighter's neck, is pulled off, and then bites into his neck again. All the close-ups are cut.
  • The Susan George/Ken Norton love scene is almost entirely missing. Ken Norton's nudity is cut, and then the scene ends in an alternate take when the two go out of frame onto the bed. The original scene went on for much longer and exposed Ken Norton's buttocks and Susan George's breasts. The German theatrical version does not feature any of these alterations and is identical to the U.S. release.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Wings: The Spark and How to Get It (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Born in This Time
Music by Maurice Jarre
Lyrics by Hitide Harris (as Hi Tide Harris)
Sung by Muddy Waters
[Played during opening title and credits]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The 30th Anniversary
29 December 2004 | by raysondSee all my reviews

Even some thirty years after its release,the motion picture Mandingo is mainly but not to be compared with films like Birth Of A Nation,or Triumph Of The Will that be contemplate objectionable content of the material while reluctantly allowing mitigating qualities relating to the vast subject matter and to this day,it still gives shock value. In spite of what some may say about Richard Fleischer's exploitative film,since it is still hardly a artistic landmark,and it not on the same level as his other masterpieces,although he has a brilliant career as one of Hollywood's most talented directors. This was the man who was responsible for some of the greatest films ever to be released from Hollywood. He was responsible for crime dramas(Armored Car Robbery,1950) (The Don Is Dead,1973),psychological thrillers(10 Rillington Place,1971) (The Boston Strangler,1968),Disney classics(20,000 Leagues Under The Sea,1954),historical dramas(The Vikings,1958),(Barabbas,1962),and the dramas that inflict the horrors of war(Tora! Tora! Tora!,1970),westerns (Between Heaven and Hell,1956),(Bandido,1957),(Che!,1969),musicals (Doctor Dolittle,1967),(The Jazz Singer,1980),and well as science fiction,(Fantastic Voyage,1966),and (Solvent Green,1973). Each of these movies were made with great professionalism since these films are still a pleasure to encounter and still holds up and some of the best entertainment value anywhere. However,Richard Fleischer's most controversial work,Mandingo still holds the title some 30 years later and still is as shocking as ever.

Mandingo is very much a pulpy,lurid antebellum potboiler that really turns the fantasy world of a classic romanticized film like Gone With The Wind inside out,and to put in bluntly a slap in the face. For those used to the cozy image presented of the American South,this wasn't a Garden of Eden before the fall,but this was a nightmarish version of slavery that at the time audiences never seen,and the horrors of cruelty and in treatment of human beings became one of the most graphic and tarnished chapters in American History. Here this is a version of the Old South,which is nothing more than a turn on,where everybody seems to be sex-starved,slightly mad or depraved,or sometimes just plain knuckle headed. James Mason,in the nasir of his career,is a campily eccentric white massa,a slave breeder determined that his handsome randy young son(Perry King)settle down and provide the family with a new heir. King's got other things on his mind though,mainly a pretty slave wench(Brenda Sykes),his one true love. But he must contend with his daddy's wishes and soon courts and weds Southern belle Susan George,who is not all she seems,having very early on been deflowered by,of all people,her brother.

When King turns a cold eye to his new bride,the lady seeks vengeance by lending to her bed to a good,faithful Mandingo slave(Ken Norton),who in fact has been so good and so faithful that he is now rewarded with the Old South's most prized possession:this blonde,light-eyed white woman! During the seduction scene,director Fleischer works hard at heating up the audience which the infamous sex scene was the center of the entire movie in which the scene almost became too close to an "X" rating at the time this film was release. This was in the year 1975,were the envelope was pushed into even deeper depths here,especially in a movie where the majority of the subject matter was presented. Later on in the story,the bride bears Norton's child,who is promptly done away with. Then Norton,young master King's favorite(on the plantation,Norton's a fighter of uncommon strength,a winner of all of the matches the master sets him up)receives yet another reward for his handiwork once his paternity is revealed(and this is towards the end of the movie):he's thrown into a huge caulderon of boiling water,then has a pitchfork shoved into him! These are but a few of the horrors in this gaudy terror of a film. There are several scenes that were shocking to watch:there's lynching and incest and molestation,blacks treated like animals by their white counterparts,in the depiction of slave auctions,since life on the plantation wasn't easy....it was living hell. Let's not forget lots of interracial sex,and the film had as many nude black women as the envelope was pushed even further into detail. Also to look out for,actor Paul Benedict,aka Mr. Bentley from The Jeffersons as the slave trader. Even,after thirty years after its release,its still shocking entertainment and very well politically incorrect,and for the year 1975,that is a lot to say about a movie that really angered a lot of its audiences-mainly African-Americans,who went to see it.


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