Tuesday, March 21, 2017

As the Saying Goes...

Yep, we're back with another raft of celebrity quotes about one another. We hope you enjoy the chatter from this installment of a series as well as the photos to go with.
"He was able to do a very emotional scene with tears in his eyes and pinch my fanny at the same time." - SHELLEY WINTERS on FREDRIC MARCH (who costarred in Executive Suite, 1954)
"After the break-up, I asked Patti why she never said anything against Dean, and she told me that Dean was like a second wife to me and that she had no right to speak against him. Isn't that something? ...I still love Dean, but I don't like him anymore." - JERRY (and PATTI) LEWIS on DEAN MARTIN
"He was everything I hoped and feared he would be - as unpredictable, honest, intimidating and inflammable as I had imagined. He is unusually interesting in the way that was more interesting than peace. I thought if I got out of there merely disfigured I'd be lucky." - CANDICE BERGEN on LEE MARVIN (who ultimately never worked together)
"A triple threat who can't sing, dance, nor act." - GENE KELLY on MARIE McDONALD (who costarred in Living in a Big Way, 1947)
"Once I asked him why do you ride those motorcycles like that and maybe kill yourself, and he said, 'So I won't forget I'm a man and not just an actor.' You know in back of this is a very strong truth. Rather odd people become actors and they are vain, they are much vainer than women." - BETTE DAVIS on STEVE McQUEEN
"A Steve McQueen performance just naturally lends itself to monotony: Steve doesn't bring much to the party." - ROBERT MITCHUM on STEVE McQUEEN
"In one scene [of Jinxed, 1982] I have to hit her in the face, and I thought we could save some money on sound effects here." KEN WAHL on BETTE MIDLER
"I think she decided to go into show business when she was an embryo, she kicked so much." - JUDY GARLAND on LIZA MINNELLI
"I love Liza. She is so original. People speak of her in terms of her mother, but she is herself, very definitely. A good, strong, unique person." MYRNA LOY on LIZA MINNELLI
"Difficult? Yes... but she was a wonderful comedienne and she had a charisma like no one before or since." - JACK LEMMON on MARILYN MONROE (who costarred in Some Like it Hot, 1959)
"I have just come from the Actor's Studio where I saw Marilyn Monroe. She had no girdle on, her ass was hanging out. She is a disgrace to the industry." - JOAN CRAWFORD on MARILYN MONROE
"Paul Muni was a fascinating, exacting, attractive man - Jesus, was he attractive! - and it was sad to see him slowly disappear behind his elaborate make-up, his putty noses, his false lips, his beards. One of the few funny things Jack Warner ever said was, 'Why are we paying him so much money when we can't find him?' - BETTE DAVIS on PAUL MUNI (who costarred in Bordertown, 1935, and Juarez, 1939)
"Paul is the most generous man with whom I've ever worked. We had a fantastic rapport shooting Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969.) It was one of the happiest experiences of my life." - ROBERT REDFORD on PAUL NEWMAN
"At the beginning [of Pocket Money, 1972], it was understood that Newman and I would earn the same amount and have roles of equal importance... Well, I've never seen a situation so much reversed. It was Newman's company who produced the film and when they came to show it, Newman had become the sole star and I was nowhere." - LEE MARVIN on PAUL NEWMAN
"A very leveling influence on Chinatown (1974.) He doesn't feel threatened and so can be generous. After all, why not? Talent is a very big mountain top." - FAYE DUNAWAY on JACK NICHOLSON

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Oh, "Man(dingo)"....

Oh man, is right! This audacious movie, Mandingo (1975), caused a stir in 1975 and continues to startle viewers even now more than forty years later. The poster's primary artwork let audiences in on what they would see in terms of interracial sexuality while the smaller images gave away some (but not all) of the story's more sordid and violent details. (It certainly popped my eight year-old eyes from the pages of a newspaper in all-white Alexandria, KY!) The poster also strives for literary cred by including a copy of the source novel (whose cover screams, "Appalling! Terrifying! Wonderful!")

Regarding that source novel, one that would ultimately lead to a lengthy series of sequels and prequels published up through the late-1980s, I think many of you may be surprised to find out that it was first published in 1957! And people thought 1956's Peyton Place was scorching...! This is as if someone peeled back the enamel of Gone with the Wind and exposed all sorts of festering rot beneath.

The book brimmed over with tales of sadistic sex and violence regarding plantation slavery. Written by Kyle Onstott, a California dog breeder (!), it was considered by many to be more sensationalized and seeking titillation than interested in reflecting on the horrific nature of its subject matter.

This 1958 paperback edition depicts the young male character who would eventually be played in the movie by Perry King. It's almost as if he posed for the artwork, though he was but ten at the time of publication. When producer Dino De Laurentiis sought to produce a film version, his production staff attempted to remain faithful to the material while trying inject more humanity and even, yes, an element of romance to it, though it can be argued that the finished project is still remarkably harsh and unsettling.

Things get underway in a like fashion with the sight of a rather run-down plantation called Falconhurst and a line of slaves being marched up to the front of the house for inspection by a visiting trader.
The trader (played by Paul Benedict) carefully examines several of the potential purchases by checking their teeth, feeling their flesh and - in a demonstration that privacy is something utterly abstract for these folks - examining to make certain they have no hemorrhoids! The men and women are regarded as no different from livestock.

Benedict even tosses a stick for one of the young men, Ji-Tu Cumbuka, to retrieve in order to show how well he movies. Cumbuka is branded with an R on his back shoulder because he'd once run away only to be caught again.

Falconhurst's owner is James Mason, a crotchety, cranky old coot who suffers from intense rheumatism (which he hilariously refers to throughout as "rheumatizz.") His young son and only heir is played by Perry King.

Mason and King are called to the quarters of a young female slave who appears to be ailing. The doctor (who truly acts as if he is a veterinarian in his terminology and treatment) tells Mason that the only thing wrong with her is that she is still a virgin and that she is now "cravin'." It falls to King, as the young master of the plantation, to take care of this "problem" with haste!

Later, in the "air- conditioned" dining room, the gentlemen carry on a conver- sation about the slaves. During this chat and all through the movie, the "n" word is prolific and any number of outrageous utterances come spewing out of the characters' mouths. Mason contends that since slaves aren't human, they don't go to heaven. This is not a film for the sensitive of heart.

Since Mason is stricken with crippling rheu- matism, it is suggested that a Mexican hairless dog might be used to drain the pain from his body. Benedict, however, suggests that a young slave boy would work just as well (!) in absorbing the affliction. He just needs to be sure to press his feet firmly against the bare flesh of the child so that it can transfer away...

Meanwhile, the female slave is being prepared for her deflowering by her mother and the primary house slave Lillian Hayman. She's bathed and drenched in a variety of perfumes and concoctions to make her ready for King.

King was injured as a six year-old child when a horse threw him, then stood upon his kneecap. Thus, his right knee doesn't bend and he must walk with a permanent limp. He needs help removing his boots as well and is often seen in (sexy) repose as in this scene.

While King is doing his duty, a gathering of slaves is taking place in a nearby shack where the trouble-making Cumbuka is chained up. He rails at his peers that in Africa they were all born free and are every bit as human as their white captors.

It seems he has also been teaching house slave Richard Ward how to read, an infraction of the rules that is punishable by anything up to the gouging out of an eye if discovered! And, King, on his way back from the other quarters, does discover it... He angrily informs Ward that he will have to be dealt with in the morning for his misdeeds.

Back up in his room, we have one of the movie's showpieces (the one that drew me to it back in the late-1980s to begin with!) King strips down and heads over to bed to say his nightly prayers stark naked. This bedpost obscures his privates in this shot, but not the rest of the sequence (we do still take a stab at being work friendly around here!) Waiting for him is his "bed-warmer" Debbi Morgan. (Not even Nostradamus could have predicted that Morgan would later go on to a stunning career in daytime TV on All My Children, winning the first Emmy given to a black female for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series among other things.)

The next morning is time for Ward's punishment. He is strung up by the ankles, nude, and paddled by a fellow slave for learning how to read. King watches for a time, but begins to feel uneasy about it and heads to the side of the barn out of sight.

Just then a fancy-dressed visitor appears and informs the paddler that he's not doing it right (even though the paddling has already drawn blood!) The man grabs the paddle and begins to seriously whack a screaming Ward until King darts into the barn to stop him.

Turns out that the visitor (Ben Masters) is a cousin of King's, come to call on Mason. He and King had been friends as children, but plenty of time has passed since that. As we'll find in time, Masters and King couldn't be more different in several ways.

Mason is on the porch draining his rheumatism into one of his boy slaves (a boy, by the way, who is savvy enough to play along, knowing that the whole thing is lunacy) while King comes hobbling out chewing a piece of meat on a bone. It seems that Masters is there because his father needs money and, in return, King can have the hand of his sister, a well-bred young lady on another plantation. Mason wants a "human" heir instead of the offspring that King's philanderings have wrought.

King is paralyzed with fear at having to bed a white woman, claiming he only knows how to do it with the slaves. Mason informs him that he'll need to keep most of his clothes on because white women shouldn't have to bear the sight of a naked man and also states that he may keep his bed-warmers since white women don't care to be "pestered" very much anyway!
On their way to Masters' plantation, the young men stop at a halfway point for the night (seeking a certain slave who is no longer there) and are given two bedmates to keep them company. After pawing them both, Masters determines that one of them is a virgin and "too much work" so he gives her (Brenda Sykes) to King and keeps the other for himself.

King is staggered that Masters kisses his "wench" (to use the movie's term) full on the mouth and is then horrified when Masters removes his belt and begins savagely beating the young girl with it, claiming that "they" like it and it makes him feel good!

Retiring to the other room with Sykes, King treats her with great tenderness and is beginning to see that this young lady is more than just an object for his use. As their interaction continues, he experiments with kissing her and finally the two have practically consensual intercourse together (he offers to let her leave and she chooses not to go.)

This is not in any way, shape or form an inexpensive movie and this next sequence demon- strates a bit of the work that went into setting the stage. The men head to a slave market, which is populated with hordes of extras and period detail.
Here, we finally get a glimpse of the title figure, a 6'3" Ken Norton, playing a particular type of African called Mandingo, superior in body to any other. And Norton unquestionably makes a physical impression immediately. Mason has been looking for a Mandingo male to mate with the female he has on his plantation and wants King to acquire one.

Trouble is, a German widow also has her eye on Norton and hungrily leaps atop the auction block to check him out for herself. When I say check him out I mean check ALL of him out - carefully! When questioned about this, she exclaims that she can't very well buy "a pig in a poke!"

King is appalled that a white woman would do such a thing and beside himself when he hears that German widows often buy a male slave for use as sexual partners. He bids on Norton not only because he wants to own a Mandingo, but also to prevent the widow from having him!

King does outbid the woman and is ecstatic to now own Norton. Norton gives King sidelong glances when he isn't paying attention and likely isn't sure which result would have been worse, him or the widow!

Masters' family estate is a dream compared to Falconhurst. It's bright and big and beautifully manicured. (Mandingo benefits from location shooting in Louisiana and never at any time looks like anything was shot on a soundstage or studio.)

His sister is portrayed by Susan George, a fluttery belle attempting to appear coy in front of potential husband King. Her parents are eager to pair her off with the young man, knowing that their pockets will be full after the dowry.
Masters startles everyone with an outburst that the marriage will not be taking place, however, to the particular distress of George who erupts into a tantrum. Up in her bedroom, we find Masters threatening to tell King the truth, that George is not a virgin. Her first lover was her own brother!
She's not having it, though. Virgin or not, she's going to land King and get the heck out of the place. She "accidentally" stumbles upon him outside and they take a romantic walk in the garden. Even though he has his own set of trepidations, he takes her for his wife and heads to New Orleans for a honeymoon.
The following morning, King, who has been deflowering virgins as a rite back at Falconhurst, can tell that something - white woman or not - was wrong about their lovemaking the night before. He leaves the marital bed and contemplates the situation on their balcony.

George asks him what is wrong and when he tells her she heads into one of her tantrums. George, in this movie, periodically hurls herself into screaming fits that come dangerously close to putting her in Mommie Dearest (1981) territory as far as cinematic meltdowns go.

King does the only logical thing a man can do who has just discovered his wife wasn't pure. He heads to a brothel...! There our old pal Benedict is holed up and also partaking of the various lovelies on hand.

After taking a seat on the circular settee, King is approached by a particularly interested lady of the evening who seems grateful to have a potential client who isn't old, overweight or ugly. She can't keep her hands off of him (and as you can see below, she takes hold of the situation very directly!)
Unfor- tunately, her blonde curls hit just a bit too close to home to King, whose wife has a similar look and he loses interest quickly. Get a load of Benedict in-between them though ("tintype-bombing?") He takes the young whore for himself once King has excused her.

Out back, Norton has been waiting patiently for King to emerge, but a misunderstanding between him and one of the slaves at the whorehouse leads to a knock-down drag-out fight between the men. Norton handily defeats his opponent as a crowd of on-lookers gathers along the balcony.

One of the men there bets King that his own slave can best Norton in a future match and puts up an offer that King cannot refuse. He'll return for another bout with this new opponent after a period of time. Also on the way back to Falconhurst, King stops off at the same place he stayed before in order to buy Sykes for himself. He wants her for his new bed-warmer since Morgan is, as they say, "knocked." George is angrily skeptical over his new purchase.
Returning home, King is able to present Mason with not only a new lady of the house, though King wants nothing to do with her now, but also prized Mandingo Norton. You can see below the difference in quality and atmosphere that Falconhurst has to George's prior home.
King informs George that they will have separate bedrooms. He's disgusted that she'd been with another man prior to her wedding night and furious when he finally realizes who it was. She almost instantaneously begins to soothe herself with hot toddies, becoming a lush in the process.

Outside, Mason is thrilled to finally have a Mandingo among his other possessions. (It should be noted that his plantation is principally a breeding enterprise. There are no crops to speak of. It's primary purpose is to generate more and more slaves, making money from their sale.)

Mason looks Norton over and wants King to assure him that he hasn't been "ruint" i.e. -neutered! King assures Mason that not only is Norton whole, but "big enough to tear the wenches." King tells Hayman to fill him up with food and Mason tells King he wants to toughen up the slave's skin so that he'll be ready for the upcoming fight. To this end, a gargantuan vat is filled with brine and heated over a wood-burning fire.
Norton is then forced to shuck down (as King can't help but marvel at him) and soak inside this scorching water! King, ever resistant to the rather savage ways of Mason, nevertheless makes certain that Norton stays in the scalding water. (Earlier, Mason had instructed King to treat Ward's paddle wounds with a mixture of hot pepper, lemon and plenty of salt so that the scars would heal properly!)

George continues to come unglued over her inattentive husband. She throws herself at him to no avail while he enjoys quality time with Sykes. Sykes has a bit of news of her own, though. She's pregnant! She asks King if he will allow her child to be free when it's born, which outrages him at first, until he eventually relents. He's developing true feelings for Sykes.
The shots of King and Sykes in the insets of the previous photos have them both completely nude. For the inter- national version of this movie, most nudity was excised and this scene was replaced with one of them wearing clothing as shown here. Clearly, since we don't believe that King should have been allowed to wear clothing on film, period, we prefer the U.S. version!  Ha ha!

Norton is now in full-on training for his fight (in real life, Norton was a boxing heavyweight champion.) Ward taunts him for being an obedient pawn to the white man's game, though he certainly is no different, as Norton points out. (Though Ward demonstrates at a couple of points in the film that he is far brighter than his owners give him credit for.)
Cumbuka, who'd earlier been sold to Benedict, has killed his white owners and run away again and now a posse is in hot pursuit. King takes Norton along to help and he winds up catching one of his own, to the obvious and understandable disgust of Cumbuka.
Mason and King head off to the big fight and it's a doozy. The crowd is foaming at the mouth as these two giants go at it savagely. Before long, they aren't just punching and wrestling, but biting each other. (Did Mike Tyson rent this movie over and over as a kid?!) In fact, the punishing battle is won when Norton bites open the neck of his unfortunate opponent.

Meanwhile, things are getting very ugly at home. Intoxicated George summons Sykes to her room. Before Sykes arrives, she takes a riding crop and begins whipping it around violently in preparation. And she doesn't even know the baby news yet! Once, she does, she comes totally unglued.

She begins viciously whipping Sykes with the riding crop across her belly and on her back, over and over, until Hayman bursts in to try to stop it. However, in her haste to get away from George, Sykes and the deranged woman tussle at the top of the stairs and Sykes takes a mean fall all the way down them.

A victorious, but badly beaten, Norton is brought home by King and Mason, who've raked in a substantial take thanks to his efforts. When Mason gets home and finds out what George has done, he threatens Sykes never to breathe a word of the truth to King or else he'll sell her.
He then goes to George's bedroom and, in front of King, demands that the couple start behaving like husband and wife and generate an heir to his estate. (Yes, sir, Big Daddy...)
Mason, in an effort to make King's marriage work, had presented King with a gorgeous and expensive ruby necklace and earring set. George is thrilled with the necklace and he makes love to her finally, but she is unaware that he's held back the earrings for Sykes! Sykes idiotically wears them while serving supper and this sets George off again.

King has to take a long chain of slaves to the market and opts to take Sykes along with him. Again, showing a twinge of humanity in an utterly inhumane setting, he prevents Morgan's baby from being sold away from her and tells her to take it back. He sets off with his best girl behind him in the cart.
This latest ignominy pushes George to the limit. Drunk as ever, she sends for Norton to come up to her room. The bewildered slave has no option but to obey.

Next she begins to spin a sordid tale of how she was walking along the grounds one day when he suddenly attacked her. She threatens to blackmail him with this concocted story unless he does what she wants. But what does she want?
That becomes pristinely clear as she plants a kiss on his mouth and then proceeds to undo his pants. She is the aggressor for a little while, but after some initial resistance, the tide turns and Norton is then all in, as it were... Their lovemaking is brief, though George is in ecstasy, and Norton is visibly moved as well.
King is back and is told that Norton and his mate have given him the first Mandingo baby born on site. He's thrilled and proud about this, but Norton is strangely reticent. (Below is a between the takes shot of King cuddling the baby used in the movie as Sykes looks on admiringly.)
Back inside, George has experienced a noticeable renewal in looks and demeanor. She happily fills the gentlemen's glasses and flits around in her best gown and headdress. She then announces that she is with child, which pleases both Mason and King.

Later, though, when the baby arrives (delivered by none other than Irene Tedrow, Miss Cathcart of the sitcom Dennis the Menace!), things take a turn. Tedrow, the (mid)wife of the family doctor is positively staggered to see that the newborn baby isn't white!

If she's distraught, you can imagine King's reaction when he finally gets a look at the poor little thing. I will desist from revealing the ending to this film, but you won't be surprised at all to hear that it doesn't end happily for several of the characters.

Mandingo is a movie that happened to interest one-time video clerk turned director Quentin Tarantino (who later incorporated certain elements of it into Django Unchained, 2012.) Back when he first saw it, on dim, grainy, pan & scan VHS, the movie surely seemed even more confirmed, gritty and depraved. A widescreen, quality print viewing reveals at least some degree of beauty in the settings. It was photographed by Richard H. Kline, who was Oscar-nominated for Camelot (1968) and King Kong (1976.)

He, however, was far from the only person of caliber on the staff. Director Richard Fleischer could be described as an Oscar-winning director (albeit for the 1947 documentary feature, Design for Death.) He directed such films as The Vikings (1958), Fantastic Voyage (1966) and Soylent Green (1973) to name a few. The atmospheric score was by Maurice Jarre, a multiple Oscar nominee and three time winner (for Lawrence of Arabia, 1962, Doctor Zhivago, 1965, and A Passage to India, 1984. It paid to work for David Lean, obviously!) Production design was done by multiple nominee and one-time winner (for West Side Story, 1961) Boris Leven. Costumes were designed by Ann Roth, who would go on to win an Academy Award for The English Patient (1996) and accrue other nominations. So its not like the crew was filled with hacks.

Some of the performances are ripe (a few overripe to near spoilage!), but there isn't one person in a principle role who isn't obviously giving 100% to what he or she is doing, good or bad. Top-billed English actor Mason (hamming with abandon) claimed he took this part due to owing alimony to his ex-wife Pamela (whose $1 million settlement in 1964 turned her attorney Marvin Michelson into a go-to man for celebrity divorce cases.) He was approached for the part when Charlton Heston (rather wisely) turned it down.

He did enjoy a bit of career renaissance with 1978's Heaven Can Wait and The Verdict (1982), which scored him an Oscar nomination (which went to Louis Gossett Jr. for An Officer and a Gentleman.) He'd been nominated twice before for A Star is Born (1954) and Georgy Girl (1966), with the statuettes going to Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront and Walter Matthau in The Fortune Cookie. Mason was still working regularly when a heart attack claimed him in 1984 at age seventy-five.

George, also English, had toiled on British TV and in movies from the early-1960s until making a splash in 1971's Straw Dogs opposite Dustin Hoffman. After the drive-in hit Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) and this film (which was a box office hit), her career continued to dwindle somewhat. Partaking in this role was a rather daring decision considering that Stella Stevens had caused a stir (and received hate mail) following her love scene with Jim Brown in Slaughter (1972) only a few years prior. After marrying Simon MacCorkindale in 1984, she no longer worried about maintaining a cinema career, but did plenty of television. His shattering death from cancer in 2010 at only age fifty-eight dealt quite a blow, but she has recently begun to work again at age sixty-six.
King has his own tribute here, in which you can chart his career and admire his finely chiseled looks. Prior to this movie, he'd appeared in Slaughterhouse-Five and the controversial The Possession of Joel Delaney, both in 1972, along with The Lords of Flatbush (1974) and The Wild Party (1975) as Raquel Welch's plaything. (His role was reportedly declined by Timothy Bottoms, Jan Michael Vincent and both Jeff and Beau Bridges.)

King is lit and photographed so beautifully throughout Mandingo that it was hard not to make every image in this post one of him. He also gives the best overall performance in the movie, attempting to find an arc of emotion and growth within the sordid plot line. Now sixty-eight, he's still devilishly handsome and continues to act.

Ward had spent a decade as a New York City police detective before turning to acting in the mid-1950s. He worked on several key 1970s series such as Good Times (playing John Amos' father on three occasions), Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and others (including portraying Captain Dobey in the Starsky and Hutch pilot before Bernie Hamilton assumed the role.) He'd begun to work in more features (such as The Jerk, 1979, and Brubaker, 1980) when a heart attack took his life in 1979 at age sixty-four.

Sykes onto TV in the late-1960s and quickly segued into movies such as The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970), Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971), Black Gunn (1972) and Cleopatra Jones (1973.) She also worked on the daytime drama One Life to Live. In 1978, having continued to act on TV, she married for the first time and left the business, becoming a mother in 1980. Though that union ended in 1987, she wed again in 1995 and has not returned to the screen. She is sixty-seven at present. She is one of three actors who returned for the sequel to Mandingo, Drum (1976), but as a different character.

Noted boxer Norton had famously beaten Muhammad Ali (breaking his jaw, in fact!) for only the second time to that point and had been dabbling with bit roles in movies (including playing - surprise - a boxer in The All-American Boy (1973) with Jon Voight. Though he did, like Sykes, come back for the sequel (and as the title role in) Drum (1976), he only acted sporadically over the following decades.
His life in satin shorts no doubt prepared him for the physicality and lack of covering in Mandingo, though he clearly was not a professional actor. Never- theless, a shortage of lines and a firm commitment to what he was doing kept him from embarrassing himself in the film. He passed away in 2013 of heart failure at age seventy.
Benedict had been working in movies like Cold Turkey (1971) and Jeremiah Johnson (1972) since the mid-1960s. By the time Mandingo was released, he'd already been appearing as the jovial neighbor Mr. Bentley on the highly-popular and long-running sitcom The Jeffersons, so his callous presence in the film must have come as a real shock to viewers! He continued to work in movies like Waiting for Guffman (1996) Isn't She Great (2000) and A Mighty Wind (2003) until his death from a brain hemorrhage at age seventy in 2008.

Hayman, a considerable physical presence, took home a Tony in 1968 for her work as Leslie Uggams' mother in Hallelujah, Baby and immediately led to a lengthy role on the New York based soap opera One Life to Life (which also, for a time, included Sykes in the cast.) She only worked elsewhere intermittently such as here and in Drum (playing the same role) until 1986. That's when she, the longest-tenured actress on the series, was leaving work one day and was informed by an assistant producer in the parking garage that she was being let go from the show and was not to return. She suffered a heart attack in 1994 and passed away at age seventy-two.

Masters is just nothing short of a bastard in the film, but he does it with remarkable effectiveness. This was his big screen debut following some TV roles on shows like Kojak and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Masters worked steadily through 2008, including a lengthy, highly colorful turn on the quirky daytime soap Passions, but never became a particularly well known actor. He is currently sixty-nine.

It may come as quite a shock to many that the material of this incendiary book and provocative film was mounted as a Broadway play in 1961! No less than Franchot Tone (in the Mason role), Brooke Hayward (in the George role) and Dennis Hopper (in King's part) took part in it, though it folded after only eight performances. Hopper is shown here with Maurishka Ferro (in Sykes' role) and the title character was essayed by Rockne Tarkington, who was recently featured here in a post about bathing. (Ferro later appeared as a very glamorous ensign on the "Operation-Annihilate!" episode of Star Trek.)

Mandingo is unques- tionably not a film for everybody. The language alone would be enough to turn some viewers away immediately while the violent and inhumane aspects might disturb others. But it retains a fascination for its stark, blunt depiction of one of America's easily most horrifying chapters. It's almost unreal to think that roughly 150 years ago, one human could literally OWN another one and do with him or her precisely as he pleased.  And, yes, there are also liberal servings of sex, camp and unintentional humor to be found. I daresay that under any circumstances one isn't likely to forget it after viewing it.