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139 of 146 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars hot Southern sleaze...but riveting
Part Harold Robbins and part Euripedes, this film has brutal depictions of slavery, abhorrent language, and extraordinary cinematography by Richard Kline.
The imagery of Falconhurst, the huge but decrepit plantation of a cruel and vicious man (James Mason in a strange and brilliant performance) is fantastic; with peeling paint and filthy mosquito nets, winding...
Published on June 28, 2004 by Alejandra Vernon

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99 of 112 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mandingo is an Eye Opener
ROOTS was to make viewers sympathize for the plight of the African-American, and MANDINGO was to make viewers cringe and forget that the slavery south ever existed. The film had this viewer wanting to turn it off, but wanting to see what was going to happen next. Therefore, the film had done its job in its manipulation of the senses. The movie boasts an impressive and...
Published on July 11, 2002


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139 of 146 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars hot Southern sleaze...but riveting, June 28, 2004
This review is from: Mandingo [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Part Harold Robbins and part Euripedes, this film has brutal depictions of slavery, abhorrent language, and extraordinary cinematography by Richard Kline.
The imagery of Falconhurst, the huge but decrepit plantation of a cruel and vicious man (James Mason in a strange and brilliant performance) is fantastic; with peeling paint and filthy mosquito nets, winding staircases of gleaming wood, dark steamy rooms, and lush exteriors with drooping wisteria.
The score by Maurice Jarre also adds much to the atmosphere, with Muddy Waters singing "Born in This Time".
Perry King is excellent as Mason's son, broken in body, weak in spirit, knowing what is right and often doing what is wrong; as his wife, Susan George is appropriately annoying and trashy, and as his "wench", Brenda Sykes is lovely. Heavyweight boxer Ken Norton, who won over Mohammed Ali (and broke his jaw) in 1973, made his impressive screen debut as Mede the Mandingo.
This film is a mass of contradictions, which is probably what keeps one glued to the screen. It is manipulative yet unpredictable, gratuitous and raw but thought-provoking; some of it might be absurd, but many of the situations shown did happen.
With all the brutality, nudity, incest, and most of all, the repellent language, this is not a film for the young, or anyone squeamish about violence.
Total running time is 127 minutes.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MANDINGO - RAW - BRUTAL - DARK - GREAT!!, August 13, 2005
By 
This review is from: Mandingo (DVD)
If you like your movies to transport you to an era that feels like reality rather than Hollywood, a movie where each of the characters are filled with human flaws and weekness - MANDINGO is a must see. Not a film for those who like happy endings, not a film for those who seek an inspirational hero or heroine, not a film where good triumphs over evil - just an extremely raw view of the pre-civil war South. I first saw this film in college in the 60's and it has stayed with me ever since. No glory here, the plantation is falling apart - and the main characters fall apart morally even quicker. If you want a movie that will you will remember for a very long time - this is it!
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99 of 112 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mandingo is an Eye Opener, July 11, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Mandingo [VHS] (VHS Tape)
ROOTS was to make viewers sympathize for the plight of the African-American, and MANDINGO was to make viewers cringe and forget that the slavery south ever existed. The film had this viewer wanting to turn it off, but wanting to see what was going to happen next. Therefore, the film had done its job in its manipulation of the senses. The movie boasts an impressive and diverse cast with the respected James Mason, Perry King (Lords of Flatbush, Riptide), Susan George, Paul Benedict (tv's Jeffersons) and boxer Ken Norton. The story revolves around a southern plantation owner Warren Maxwell (James Mason) and his son Hammond (Perry King) and their dealings with the buying and selling of slaves. Hammond beds every young girl slave in the joint while marrying Blanche (Susan George), and at the same time, he wants to buy himself a prize black prospect for fighting purposes... a Mandingo(Ken Norton as Mede). Hammond seems to have some sympathy and care for the black women, and has little interest in his own white wife who takes on the mandingo as a lover to get back at her husband. Some of the goings on are outrageous (i.e. Mason's character trying to get rid of his rheumitsm by transferring it to the soul of a young black boy etc..) The film's portrayal of white southerners is as offensive as the portrayal of the black slaves. However, it is still the black characters that are exploited, especially the scenes of blacks vs. blacks and the name of the game is survival. A lot of kudos goes to the actors who took on roles in this film and a movie like this could not be made today. When this film was made it was a sleeper hit and caused some controversy, Saturday Night Live did a parody sketch called "Mandingo II" and O.J. Simpson, who was the guest host, played the title character. Garrett Morris, Bill Murray and Larraine Newman were also in the bit...it was one of the funniest sketches of the show.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The horror... The horror.", March 30, 2008
This review is from: Mandingo (DVD)
It seems fitting to headline my review of 'Mandingo' with the last words of the dying Kurtz in Joseph Conrad's 'Heart Of Darkness', because it also aptly sums up my response not only to the unfortunately accurate nature of the numerous atrocities depicted in this generally effective and unflinching film, but also my response to a significant number of the other customer reviews.

I have to say I was truly shocked at how many viewers responded with derisive amusement, laughter, and even a weird kind of delight to this frankly brutal, harsh, and, yes, often lurid look at the brutal, harsh, and often lurid reality that was the evil institution known as "slavery" -- a system which dehumanized and degraded everything it touched, and which nearly destroyed a nation. (Much as the Nazis' "Final Solution" would do a century later, only with more systematic efficiency, and with global repercussions.)

And this is to be regarded as a fitting subject for MIRTH? Well, perhaps if you lack a modicum of compassion, or even a rudimentary frame of reference with regard to black history. Admit it -- if this film had been about the Holocaust and had depicted the torture and gassing of Jews instead of the beating and lynching of slaves you would NOT have laughed, would you? At least I HOPE you wouldn't!

Face it, this is a particular chapter of history that is simply too close to home and too uncomfortable for many white Americans (which I, also, with some degree of shame, admit to being) to fully acknowledge, much less stomach. Damn right this film is inflammatory, politically incorrect, offensive and salacious. It HAD to be if was to pretend to any level of accuracy with regard to even a semi-objective portrayal of slavery. And my particular star-rating has more to do with the films' refreshingly crude and repugnant portrayal of slavery rather than as an assessment of the film as a particular work of cinematic art.

Yes, I found a number of things to quibble with in 'Mandingo', both in terms of certain stylistic and technical details, as well as some of the writing and acting, though there is much to be admired there as well. But those aspects are really beside my point.

Basically, 'Mandingo' is what it is, admire it or loathe it. 'Song Of The South' or 'Gone With The Wind' it definitely ain't. But you can seek out those films too, if you're craving a cozier cinematic version of the pre and Civil-War-Era South to soothe your sensitive consciences.

Or, perhaps, in addition to 'Mandingo', you might consider seeing 'The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman', 'Roots', 'Amistad', 'Beloved' or 'Manderlay'. That is IF you're willing to wake up and smell that good ol' plantation-grown coffee!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Southern Sleaze...But Riveting!, October 4, 2008
This review is from: Mandingo (DVD)
Part Harold Robbins and part Euripedes, this film has brutal depictions of slavery, abhorrent language, and extraordinary cinematography by Richard Kline. The imagery of Falconhurst, the huge but decrepit plantation of a cruel and vicious man (James Mason in a strange and brilliant performance) is fantastic; with peeling paint and filthy mosquito nets, winding staircases of gleaming wood, dark steamy rooms, and lush exteriors with drooping wisteria. The score by Maurice Jarre also adds much to the atmosphere, with Muddy Waters singing "Born in This Time".

Perry King is excellent as Mason's son, broken in body, weak in spirit, knowing what is right and often doing what is wrong; as his wife, Susan George is appropriately annoying and trashy, and as his "wench", Brenda Sykes is lovely. Heavyweight boxer Ken Norton, who won over Mohammed Ali (and broke his jaw) in 1973, made his impressive screen debut as Mede the Mandingo.

This film is a mass of contradictions, which is probably what keeps one glued to the screen, and makes it memorable years after seeing it. It is manipulative yet unpredictable, gratuitous and raw but thought-provoking; some of it might be absurd, but many of the situations shown did happen.
With all the brutality, nudity, incest, and most of all, the repellent language, this is not a film for the young, or anyone squeamish about violence.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars DVD quality is good, but should have been great, June 30, 2008
This review is from: Mandingo (DVD)
I saw this picture several times in the theater when it was first released and the cinematography, printed in Technicolor, was stunning. I particularly remember the first dining scene with the room having a strong amber glow from the late afternoon sun streaming in through the half-drawn window shades. The colors were consistently bright and brilliant throughout the entire picture. This latest DVD release is good, but it is not nearly as good as it could have been. It is apparent that Paramount did not care enough about this release to restore the color. It seems the studio simply used the original film elements, which have faded a little with age, as is. This is especially sad since Paramount released "Houdini" at the same time in beautifully restored Technicolor with stunning results. Shame on you, Paramount. "Mandingo" deserves your best efforts, too.
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34 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A film you hate to admit you love, August 3, 2000
This review is from: Mandingo [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Like titillating porn, Mandingo is the kind of film you rent and hope no one you know is looking. Then you hurry home, lower the blinds, make sure the kids are in bed, then turn on the VCR in anticipation. This film is so politically incorrect it's worth it on that merit alone! Black and white stereotypes are played up to the hilt and everybody is running around "pleasuring" any thing that moves. If you don't take it seriously, you can have loads of fun and laughs watching this one. Snortin' Norton does a great job as Meade the Mandingo fighting buck. Ol' Jimbo Mason is superb as the aging hard-line plantation owner who is very strict and true to the old traditional ways. His son Perry King is a much kinder and gentler soul without a cruel streak in him like the other characters. Susan George is great as the sly conniving Southern Belle who is not as innocent as she seems. Ol' Mr. Bentley from the Jeffersons - Paul Benedict plays a fine sub-role as Mr. Brambley the slave trader. All in all, let the liberals cry and whine. Get this film and have a ball with it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Is The Official, Original, Uncut Version Of "Mandingo". Buy It., August 9, 2012
This review is from: Mandingo (DVD)
There are a lot of reviews for the film, "Mandingo", here at Amazon that were based upon reviews for VHS releases, or for censored versions released on DVD from overseas.

I want to state for the record, that this DVD rerelease of "Mandingo", which was made by Paramount/Legend Films Home Video in 2008, is the OFFICIAL, ORIGINAL, UNCUT release of this film. The cover photo has a large closeup photo of Ken Norton on the cover, with the hand of Susan George(or a hand model)resting on the top of his chest and neck in a caress, with a background photo of three African-American female slaves standing next to a wagon wheel.

The DVD is made in DVD Video format, and has menu pages to go from scene to scene. It is shown in 1:78 Ratio Widescreen. It is 2 hours and 7 minutes long, and is close-captioned for the hearing impaired. Those are the only features available on the DVD, but at least it is not a DVD-R disc.

I went straight to the bedroom scene with Ken Norton and Susan George. It is all here, complete and uncut, and as hot and erotic as I remember it to be. Very sensual, in a Gothic sort of way, which was typical of the early-to-mid 19th Century time period. Don't expect a great digital remastering of the film. The original negative of the film is lost, according to Internet reports that I have read. Paramount/Legend Films Home Video found the only uncut copy of the film in the world over in Europe, and used it to make this DVD. The colors are somewhat faded and worn, and at the end of the bedroom scene between Norton and George, the viewer can no longer see Ken Norton's full body in the dim light of the camera shot.

It would be nice if Paramount Pictures would digitally remaster "Mandingo", and show it in the way it was meant to be seen. But because of the enduring controversy that the subject matter of the film provokes in the general public here in America, it may never take place. For all that we know, there may NEVER be a rerelease of "Mandingo" in any video format once this OFFICIAL DVD rerelease is no longer in print. Don't take the chance of missing out on owning a copy of one of the most important American films of the 20th Century. Don't wait. Buy your OFFICIAL DVD copy of "Mandingo" right now, while you still can do so.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best slave movies ever, May 28, 2005
This review is from: Mandingo [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I saw this movie on the big screen in 1975..It was the talk of the town. I am very interested in slave history and have visited many Plantations in the south.This movie was shocking to me yet it was wonderful, I believe life was really that way back then.

the actors were great, Susan George as Blanche, James Mason as papa...The dark steamy interior of the house...this all made it so real...In 1975 in the theater no one laughed, all were quiet and stunned...don't miss this one
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a taboo..., June 24, 2008
By 
Brandon L. Harlow (Colonial Heights, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mandingo (DVD)
The film is not as "shocking" as it probably was back in the 70s but it is a rather interesting look at the Old South and sexual mores. It is perfectly acceptable for the white male to engage in sexual affairs with black women (just so long as there is no kissing on the lips) while the idea of the white female making love to a black male is punishable by an excrutiatingly painful death (boiling). In reagrds to exploitation, I think the only part of this film that really shocked me was the medical idea that arthritis could be passed into a small black child by pressing your feet against his belly at night. Really twisted logic there and it was a bit bizarre to see the child forced to do this act with a smile on his face.
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Mandingo
Mandingo by Richard Fleischer (DVD - 2008)
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