- 2 hr 7 min
Mandingo is a 1975 American historical drama film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring James Mason, Susan George, and Perry King. The movie is set in the pre-Civil War South and tells the story of a cruel plantation owner, Warren Maxwell (Mason), and the sexual exploitation of his slaves. The film starts with Maxwell's son, Hammond (King), arriving back at their plantation with his new bride, Blanche (George). Hammond is a womanizer, and it is clear that he is not in love with Blanche. Instead, he is more interested in his latest acquisition, a Mandingo slave named Ganymede (played by Ken Norton). Maxwell is obsessed with breeding his slaves to produce the perfect Mandingo fighter. The plantation owner wants Hammond to breed with Blanche to produce a child that he can train as a fighter. However, Hammond has no interest in Blanche and instead turns his attention to Ganymede. The sexual tension between Hammond and Ganymede is palpable, and it is clear that their relationship is more than just master and slave. Blanche becomes increasingly jealous and unsettled by their interactions, and Maxwell is not happy that Hammond is not fulfilling his duties and impregnating his wife. As the movie progresses, the brutal reality of plantation life is revealed, and the exploitation of slaves is shown in all its horror. Maxwell's obsession with breeding the perfect Mandingo fighter ends in violence and tragedy, and the movie ends with a haunting and powerful finale. Mandingo is a movie that tackles difficult and controversial subject matter head-on. It explores race, sex, power, and violence in a confronting and unflinching way. The performances are strong, with James Mason delivering an excellent performance as the twisted plantation owner. The cinematography is also top-notch, with the film's southern setting captured beautifully on camera. The use of color and light is striking, and the movie's score is haunting and memorable. Overall, Mandingo is a powerful and important movie that does not shy away from difficult subject matter. It is a disturbing and challenging movie that should be viewed with caution due to its graphic depictions of violence and sexual exploitation. In conclusion, Mandingo is a 1975 movie that explores the dark and disturbing world of slavery in pre-Civil War America. The film is confronting and challenging, with strong performances, excellent cinematography, and a haunting score. It is a movie that remains relevant today and is a must-watch for anyone interested in exploring the complexities of race, power, and sex in America's history.