||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (July 2013)|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Fleischer|
|Produced by||Dino De Laurentiis|
|Screenplay by||Norman Wexler|
|Based on||Mandingo by
|Music by||Maurice Jarre
Hi Tide Harris
|Cinematography||Richard H. Kline|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
Mandingo is a 1975 film, based on the novel called Mandingo by Kyle Onstott and upon the play based thereon by Jack Kirkland. The film was directed by Richard Fleischer and featured James Mason, Susan George, Perry King, Lillian Hayman, boxer-turned-actor Ken Norton, and bodybuilder and pro wrestler-turned-actor Earl Maynard.
On Falconhurst, a run-down plantation owned by the widower Warren Maxwell (James Mason) and his son Hammond (Perry King), a Mandingo slave Ganymede, or Mede (Ken Norton), is trained to fight other slaves. Hammond neglects his wife Blanche (Susan George), whom he rejects on their wedding night after discovering she was not a virgin. Hammond instead rapes his slave Ellen (Brenda Sykes), while Blanche forces Mede to lay with her. These various, conflicting infidelities all eventually come together causing the film to end tragically.
Upon its release in 1975, critical response was mixed although box office was strong. Roger Ebert despised the film and gave it a "zero star" rating. Richard Schickel of TIME found the film boring and cliché-ridden. Movie critic Robin Wood was enthusiastic about the film, calling it “the greatest film about race ever made in Hollywood.” In Leonard Maltin's annual publication Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide the film is ranked as a "BOMB" and dismissed with the word "Stinko!"
Some prominent critics hail the film, including the New York Times columnist Dave Kehr, who called it "a thinly veiled Holocaust film that spares none of its protagonists," further describing it as "Fleischer’s last great crime film, in which the role of the faceless killer is played by an entire social system."
Director Quentin Tarantino has cited Mandingo as one of only two instances "in the last twenty years [that] a major studio made a full-on, gigantic, big-budget exploitation movie," comparing it to Showgirls. In Django Unchained, Tarantino took the non-historical terminology of "Mandingo fighting" from the use of "a Mandingo" being a fine slave for breeding in the film.
Paramount Pictures licensed the film to Legend Films for its first official DVD release. The DVD was released on June 3, 2008, in 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen version without any extras.
- Mandingo movie poster, trailer, and opening credits.
- "Mandingo Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
- "Mandingo :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
- Schickel, Richard."Cinema: Cold, Cold Ground", TIME, May 12, 1975.
- Wood, Robin (1998). Sexual Politics and Narrative Film: Hollywood and Beyond. Columbia University Press. p. 256. ISBN 0-231-07605-3.
- Kehr, Dave (February 17, 2008). "In a Corrupt World Where the Violent Bear It Away". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- Udovitch, Mim (1998). "Mim Udovitch/1996". In Peary, Gerald. Quentin Tarantino: Interviews. Univ. Press of Mississippi. pp. 172–173. ISBN 1-57806-051-6.
- Daniel Bernardi The Persistence of Whiteness: Race and Contemporary ... - 2013 "For the purposes of breeding chattel, he must also buy a “Mandingo” buck, a male slave. In the film, a “Mandingo” represents the finest stock of slaves deemed most suitable for fighting and breeding. When Hammond realizes his new wife"