he metaphorical ascension up the ladder of prosperity is a well-trodden but hazy path. The emblems of success blur vision and common sense, rewarding the victor with exaggerated self-regard, a callous demeanor, and a neverending sense of desolation.
Newfangled eminence can be embraced...but then what? Do you know where to rise to from the heights of grandeur, and do you like the inflated sense of reality that life is showing you? These inquiries can only be proposed to an individual who's experiancing the utopian mirage of veneration and despair called fame...
This Berry Gordy directed chronicle of a luminary opens with a glow-in-the-dark Asian inspired fashion show, not intended for the demure. Pensive faced models file down the runway adorned in preternatural wigs and geisha makeup. Their gowns are uniquely escapist, surreal, and created by Mahogany.
The exquisit tour de force behind this glamorous exhibit saunters out on stage to receive her applause. Flashing a smile of absolute glee, she realizes she has arrived. She is reputable. She is captivating. She is Mahogany.
|You're the biggest, the biggest, the biggest. Now you have everything, and now you have everyone!|
On top of the world, it is difficult to imagine that not so long ago this Rome-based enterprising beauty was a humble sketch artist attending night classes and making a living by being a secretary (or, practically, a slave) for the display department in a Chicago mall. Streetwise yet delicate, Tracy Chambers (Diana Ross) draws her inspiration from the variegated grafitti around her and the quixotic dreams inside her head. Her most treasured fantasy is to become a consequential fashion designer surronded by people who can genuninely appreciate her vogue savoir-faire.
Initially Tracy is so fervent with her career that she refuses advances from men who reside in her neighborhood, until a man she can't ignore gets involved in her world. Brian Walker (Billy Dee Williams) is a wannabe congressman who's ardor for political justice is ludicrous to the inhabitants of his neighborhood, not excluding Tracy. She tries to escape his company at all costs but can no longer do so when she unintentionally gets him arrested.
A romantic relationship ensues between the two, however Tracy finds herself giving up her career to support his, and she's in a mental slump.
|I've been around and I can there's a much better life than this and I want it!|
A shady but renowned photographer by the name of Sean (Anthony Perkins) is in the area and falls head over heels in adoration with Tracy's appearance. He persuades her to travel to Rome by explaining to her that Europe is a place that would not take her for granted.
|Europe doesn't send it's pretty things out to get coffee|
Out of a job and a relationship which is failing with Brian, Tracy realizes she has more to gain then lose and so packs her bags and embarks on a journey which will change her life more then she could ever imagine.
At a meeting for Gavina's in Rome, one of the most powerful agencies in Europe, Tracy is demoted for her lack of a curveacous body, however the agency accepts her after experiancing some of the spunk that ironically Diana Ross is known for in real life.
With the most elite makeup artists and creme de la creme of the photography world, the agency transforms Tracy into an ebony goddess, eccentric mermaid, indian sheik, glamour girl, egyptian queen, hawaiin beauty, and most importantly, Mahogany.
|There's only one word that describes rich, dark, beautiful and rare. I'm gonna call you Mahogany|
Back in Chicago things are still going miserably for Brian. He's failing in his campaign, and pines over Tracy as he sees her face on the cover of "Newsweek" and "Harpers Bazaar".
Willing to give their on-again off-again romance another chance, Brian flies to Rome to surprise Tracy, but the Tracy in Rome is no longer the Tracy in Chicago. She has metamorphisized into Mahogany: A spotlight hungry primadonna who barely resembles the modest woman he had fallen in love with. So, once again, the two inevitably seperate, but not before Brian gives Mahogany the line that best sums up this entire film.
|Success is nothing without someone you love to share it with|
Although an initial profitable relationship was blooming between Sean and Tracy, things turn intense quickly when Sean realizes he can't keep his Mahogany under his control forever. Headstrong, Tracy insists on modeling her own creations. Overtly controlling, Sean will not let this be without completely mortifying Tracy.
Some photo shoots, like one with Mahogany flailing about in a water fountain, come out beautifully; but others which try to capture "death, like a reckless drive conducted by Sean, end up almost tragically.
Mahogany recooperates from the almost fatal car accident in the mansion of multi-millionaire Christian Rosetti (Jean-Pierre Aumont), who is completely enamored with her public image. He sets up a pact with her that she can have her very own fashion design company if she becomes his lover in return. Mahogany agrees, but soon her propriety takes over and she realizes that she will not sacrifice her own morals simply to stay suspended in stardom.
Will Brian forgive Tracy her faults and allow her back inside his heart? Will Mahogany feel it's time to let go and let Tracy intervene? The answer is a benign one, one that the viewer will find relieving to behold at the end of this "modern" 70's fairy tale.
By: Bridgette Marie
This film is one of my absolute favorites from the 1970's.
I am a fan of Diana's, and so it's great to realize that not only is she a talented artist but she is a wonderful actress as well. The theme song is amazing and fits the film so perfectly.
This film was given bad critiques from the press, however I think it's marvelous, and I reccomend it to fans of Diana Ross and those interetsed in how the fashion business was like in the 70's.
While filming the 1975 film Mahogany in Rome, director Berry Gordy kept pushing a pregnant Diana for take after take, but she had had enough and slapped Berry so hard his glasses flew across the room, stormed into her trailer with assistants in tow, and jumped on the next flight to Los Angeles. A body double had to complete her scenes.
Mahogany was originally titled "The Fame Game". It was Diana Ross's second film, but was actually intended to be her first starring vehicle.
Director Troy Richardson was fired from the project midway and replaced by Berry Gordy. Gordy issued a statement to the press saying that Richardson was out because "He didn't understand the black experiance."
Diana Ross designed the clothes worn in Mahogany herself. It took her 8 months, almost twice as long as it took to shoot the entire film, on the wardrobe. She designed 50 outfits.
At the time of Mahogany, Billy Dee Williams was nicknamed "The Black Clark Gable."
Before Diana Ross was signed to Motown as an artist, she worked for Berry Gordy as a secretary. Other experiances before she joined the Motown family included a job in a department store and going to modeling school.
The Theme from Mahogany has been redone by Mariah Carey, Ami Steart, and Jennifer Lopez. Before Diana sang the song, it was originally recorded by Thelma Houston. Thelma's version has never been released.
In it's first two weeks, Mahogany grossed $7 million.
As the gay photographer who guides her to the top, Anthony Perkins deliberatly gace the character his trademark "Psycho" twitching and mock laughter characteristics.
Screenplay writer John Byrum recalled that originally Diana didn't want to reteam with Billy Dee for Mahogany and that Byrum sensed the two no longer liked each other much.
A majoy blooper in Mahogany occurs just before Tracy meets Sean where she follows her boss down a winding staircase in a blue knit dress. Magically by the time she reaches the end of the staircase she is wearing a completely different outfit.
Motown Record founder Berry Gordy is the father of Diana Ross's daughter Rhonda Ross Kendrick in real life.
In the 70's Diana Ross was a major diva. Natalie Cole visited Diana backstage and started playing her piano, getting applause from Diana's crew, prompting Diana to tell her assistant, "Get that woman off my piano!"
Some of Diana Ross's nicknames include "Blackie" from Berry Gordy, and "Supreme Diva" "Queen Of Motown" from the press and media.
Mahogany was dubbed a pretty people movie and bashed by most film critcs. Playboy Magazine wrote that "Mahogany is the prime example of what happens when a star rises so fast she doesn't ahve a clue where to go." 70's gossip queen Roma Barrett said "Mahogany prooves that Diana Ross fans will pay to see her in anything."
Real life Austrian Princess Galitzine had a cameo in Mahogany playing herself.
Billy Dee Williams later portrayed Mahogany's director, Berry Gordy, in the 90's miniseries "The Jacksons: An American Dream".
Diana Ross once said of Berry Gordy that he was "....at times my surrogate father, at other times my controller and slave driver."
In the late 70's, Diana's then-husband, Bob Ellis, was manager of singer Chaka Khan, and Diana cheekily had fun dabbling with Chaka's career.
know some Mahogany trivia that we could add? [Please
send it in]
Shooting of Mahogany took place in Chicago and Rome.
Can you help? Do you know any of the filming locations used for Mahogany? [Please send them in]
The soundtrack to Mahogany has always been readily available on cd.
The theme song is phenomenal and haunting; very reminiscent of that time in the 70's when Motown and Diana Ross ruled the R&B world.
The original score was composed by Michael Masser, and the soundtrack was produced by Michael Masser, Gil Askey, and Jermaine Jackson.The cd includes liner notes written by David Ritz. The only actual "song" on the soundtrack is the theme song, all the rest of the tracks are instrumental. The track list is as follows:
1.Do You Know Where You're Going To--Diana Ross
3.You Don't Ever Have To Be Alone
4.Can You Hear It In My Music
7.Do You Know Where You're Going To (Instrumental)
8.My Hero Is A Gun
11.Let's Go Back To Day One
13.She's The Ideal Girl
14.Sweets(And Other Things)
Soundtrack Available: On CD
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"Success is nothing without someone you love to share it with."
Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Perkins, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Marisca Mell,
Nina Foch, Beah Richards, Lenard Norris|
|Drama / Historic|
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|great fashion, great acting, great music, poignant and truthful love affair with money and fame, and a beautiful Diana Ross.|
|hmmm, panned by a lot of critics? but don't listen, because this movie is wonderful!|
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