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
The name of the Alabama plantation estate was "Falconhurst". See more »
About 18 minutes into the movie, when Dite tells Hammond that she's "knocked up", her leg changes position between shots. See more »
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.
I can't, Master.
I craves you to do it, Ellen.
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.
I like you, Sir. I want to please you.
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The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC with heavy edits to the fight between Mede and Topaz, the beatings of the slave girl and the suspended male slave, and shots of Mede being prodded with a pitchfork by Hammond Maxwell. The uncut print was again submitted to the BBFC in 1987 for the CIC video release and some cuts were restored, with 47 secs still edited from the two whipping scenes. See more »
Unsurprisingly divides audiences, but Mandingo is at least a film worth seeing
Mandingo seems to divide it's audience strongly between love and hate and that's not really surprising; the film features some real nasty elements and the way that it's all done with a highly quality 'period drama' sort of style means that it will likely miss it's supposed intended audience - although it seems to have found a good fan base among exploitation fans. The film is liable to shock modern audience for its racial themes and strong racial tone; it didn't bother me all that much to be honest as it suits the film within it's context and helps to enforce its exploitative nature, which in turn makes Mandingo more powerful. The film takes place in the south of America during the 1840's and the main focus of the plot is on slavery. White farm owner Hammond Maxwell one day discovers the fighting talent of one of his black slaves and soon decides to toughen him up for battle with other slaves. He's sympathetic with his slaves and soon becomes affectionate with one of the women, which doesn't sit well with his wife Blanche who, for revenge, forces the top fighter to sleep with her.
Anyone going into this film expecting a serious look at slavery will be either disappointed or annoyed (maybe both), but if you go into it expecting some nasty exploitation, you might find a lot to like. The film gives an unflinching look at a more primitive society and it actually more shocking for its tone and implications than the events that take place in it (although the film does include plenty of racism, torture and rape scenes). The way that the film depicts the black slaves as animals makes for uncomfortable viewing and the way that society was segregated into 'white masters' and 'black slaves' is always enforced on the viewer. The performances sit better with the exploitation side of the film rather than the serious drama side as none of them are particularly brilliant; although the three leads do fit into their roles well. Overall, this is clearly not a film for everyone and I'm not in any way saying that the film's bad reputation is in any way undeserved; but Mandingo is certainly an interesting film and I would say it is at least worth seeing.
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