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The Mandrake Root

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Adaptation of the 1512 Renaissance comedy by Niccolo Machiavelli.

Callimaco, a young Sardinian returns from studying in Paris and is overcome by the beauty of Lucrezia, the virtuoso and beautiful wife of the rich and foolish lawyer Nicia. In his desire to bed her, he engages the services of a dubious fixer Liguro who knows that Nicia and Lucrezia are desperate for a child.

With Ligurio's help, Callimaco masquerading as a doctor, convinces Nicia that the surest way for his wife to conceive is by taking a potion made from the Mandrake Root, with the dire warning that the first man to sleep with her will die within 8 days. Nicia agrees to a plan to kidnap an unsuspecting man to sleep with his wife and thereby draw out the poison, but of course it is the disguised Callimaco who is to be kidnapped.

In order to persuade his wife to agree, because she is so virtuous, Nicia enlists the help of her mother, a woman of questionable virtue, and her confessor, a priest of equally dubious morals.

Ultimately Callimaco succeeds in sleeping with Lucrezia, who herself decides that due to the stupidity of her husband and deception of her mother and confessor, she will continue to be his lover and ‘what her husband wanted for her to have for one night, she now wants him to have forever’. The story is concludes with everyone getting what they want and believing that each has outwitted the other.


Type of film
Running Time
75 mins
Malachi Bogdanov
Simon M Woods
Nat Higginbottom, Simon M Woods, Malachi Bogdanov
Malachi Bogdanov
Director of Photography
Tony Yates
Production Designer
John Plush
Neil Hillman, Brian Murrell
Christopher Ash
Principal Cast
Geoffery Bateman, Den Woods, Jonathan Owen, Chara Jackson, Mike Rogers, Craig Painting, Jason Nicoli


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Last updated 27th November 2008

Production Company

European Drama Network
1 Poplar Cottage
Icknield Street, Beoley
Worcestershire B98 9AP

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