Mandingo (movie)

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Mandingo
Directed by Richard Fleischer
Produced by Dino De Laurentiis
Screenplay by Norman Wexler
Starring James Mason
Susan George
Perry King
Lillian Hayman
Richard Ward
Brenda Sykes
Ken Norton
Music by Maurice Jarre
Hi Tide Harris
Muddy Waters
Cinematography Richard H. Kline
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) 1975 (1975)
Country United States
Language English

Mandingo is a 1975 movie based on the book Mandingo by Kyle Onstott and upon the play based thereon by Jack Kirkland. The movie was directed by Richard Fleischer. The movie tells the story of a plantation family and their slaves. The movie was a box office hit, but critical reviews were mixed.

Main cast[change | edit source]

Story[change | edit source]

The movie is set on Falconhurst, a run-down plantation owned by widower Warren Maxwell and his son Hammond. Hammond's Mandingo slave Ganymede, or Mede is trained to fight other slaves. Hammond neglects his wife Blanche whom he rejects on their wedding night after discovering she was not a virgin. Hammond instead rapes his slave Ellen while Blanche forces Mede to lay with her. These various, conflicting infidelities all eventually come together causing the movie to end tragically with the deaths of most of the main characters.

Response[change | edit source]

Upon its release in 1975, critical response was mixed although box office was strong.[1] Roger Ebert despised the film and gave it a "zero star" rating.[2] Richard Schickel of TIME found the film boring and cliché-ridden.[3] Movie critic Robin Wood was enthusiastic about the movie, calling it “the greatest film about race ever made in Hollywood”.[4] In Leonard Maltin's annual publication Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide the movie 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."[5] 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.[6]

References[change | edit source]

  1. "Mandingo Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mandingo/. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  2. "Mandingo :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19750725/REVIEWS/808289998/1023. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  3. Schickel, Richard."Cinema: Cold, Cold Ground", TIME, May 12, 1975.
  4. Wood, Robin (1998). Sexual Politics and Narrative Film: Hollywood and Beyond. Columbia University Press. p. 256. ISBN 0-231-07605-3.
  5. Kehr, Dave (February 17, 2008). "In a Corrupt World Where the Violent Bear It Away". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/17/movies/17kehr.html. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  6. Udovitch, Mim (1998). "Mim Udovitch/1996". In Peary, Gerald. Quentin Tarantino: Interviews. Univ. Press of Mississippi. pp. 172–173. ISBN 1-57806-051-6.

Other websites[change | edit source]