starring James Mason, Susan George, Perry King, Ken Norton
screenplay by Norman Wexler, based on the novel by Kyle Onstott
directed by Richard Fleischer
by Alex Jackson I was just about to say that I wish Mandingo were better than it is, but then I realized it wouldn't be nearly as good as it is if it weren't also "flawed." Some snarky hipster (Mitch Lovell of the LiveJournal blog (?!) THE VIDEO VACUUM, if you must know) rather brilliantly and concisely summarized the problem of the film in saying, "If you ever wanted to see Mr. Bentley from 'The Jeffersons' check a muscle-bound slave for hemorrhoids, this is the flick for you." Indeed, we get this image in the first ten minutes of the film. The checking of the muscle-bound slave for hemorrhoids, well, that I guess I can...appreciate, for lack of a better word. We all understand that slavery was "evil" on a purely intellectual level, but I don't think we have a terribly substantial visual database of the horrors and humiliations of it--and so I feel there's a real need for a disgusting and sensationalistic exploitation film about the subject. On those terms, let it be said that Mandingo does not disappoint. This has to be the most emotionally ugly film I've seen since Brian Robbins's Norbit.