It's the mid-nineteenth century Louisiana. Falconhurst, a run down plantation, is owned by Warren Maxwell, and largely run by his son, Hammond Maxwell, who walks with a limp due to a childhood accident. Hammond is under pressure to get married and produce a male heir to continue the Maxwell legacy before Warren dies. With no experience courting a potential bride - his sexual experiences confined to slaves and whores - Hammond ultimately chooses his cousin Blanche for his wife in what would not be considered a courtship in its true sense. In turn, Blanche agrees to the marriage largely to escape the realm of her sadistic brother, Charles. As his father tells him is custom, Hammond, while on his and Blanche's honeymoon in New Orleans, also obtains a slave as a go to sexual partner, he buying Ellen, who he met when she was given to him in hospitality when visiting who was then her master. Concurrently, Hammond also purchases Mede, a Mandingo, as a slave, something Warren had always ...
Expect all that the motion picture screen has never dared to show before. Expect the truth
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Did You Know?
Director Quentin Tarantino
has cited this film and Showgirls
(1995) as the only two instances "in the last twenty years [that] a major studio made a full-on, gigantic, big-budget exploitation movie". In Django Unchained
(2012), Tarantino took the terminology of "Mandingo fighting" from the use of "a Mandingo" being a fine slave for breeding in the film. See more
During Mede's first fight in the city, he and his opponent are wrestling on the grass. When they roll over on the floor, the grass moves 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
The papers say this Mede's brother of Big Pearls. Lucy's his Mom.
He don't know nothin'. Mede was a sucker when he was sold.
Papa, that'll be incest.
Works somethin' with animals. Works fine with niggers.
Yeah, whatcha gonna do then when the sucker turn out to be some kind of monster?
Snuff it out.
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.
Followed by Drum
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