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Mahogany (1975)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  25 March 1976 (Netherlands)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 1,079 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 14 critic

Tracy, an aspiring designer from the slums of Chicago puts herself through fashion school in the hopes of becoming one of the world's top designers. Her ambition leads her to Rome spurring ... See full summary »

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, (uncredited) , 1 more credit »

Writers:

(story), (screenplay)
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Title: Mahogany (1975)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tracy Chambers
...
Brian Walker
...
Sean McAvoy
...
Christian Rosetti
...
Florence
...
Miss Evans
...
Carlotta Gavina
Lenard Norris ...
Wil
Jerome Arnold ...
Campaign Worker
Pemon Rami ...
Campaign Worker
Obelo ...
Campaign Worker
Ira Rogers ...
Stalker
Kristine Cameron ...
Instructress
Ted Liss ...
Sweatshop Foreman
...
Dress Manufacturer
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Storyline

Tracy, an aspiring designer from the slums of Chicago puts herself through fashion school in the hopes of becoming one of the world's top designers. Her ambition leads her to Rome spurring a choice between the man she loves or her newfound success. Written by Renee Ann Byrd <byrdie@wyrdbyrd.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Success is nothing without someone you love to share it with

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 March 1976 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Mahagoni  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Diana Ross designed some of the costumes in the fashion show sequence herself. See more »

Goofs

The final shot of the film (an overview of the crowd gathered to hear Brian's speech) shows Tracy rushing up to Brian and madly embracing him, but moments earlier they had already walked up to each other in the middle of that crowd and kissed. See more »

Quotes

Sean: [careening out of control in a sports car] Don't mess up the car!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Homer of Seville (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Aki No Irokusa
Written by Hachidai Nakamura
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Did Berry Gordy Know Where He Was Going To When He Directed This?
2 March 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Truly one of the most ridiculous and forgettable movies of the 70s' Blaxploitation film genre, and an utterly embarrassing effort on the part of Motown music mogul Berry Gordy to branch out into Hollywood movie directing. A love story so corny that when watching this today on TV, you can't help but to envision three small black silhouette figures at the bottom of your TV screen making wisecracks after each line of the dialogue has been spoken. In "Mahogany," a young woman has aspirations of becoming a successful fashion designer only to learn a life lesson from her wannbe politician boyfriend that success is meaningless without true romantic love (yeah, right).

Motown singing legend (and Gordy's onetime lover) Diana Ross stars in the title role as Tracy Chambers, a black woman from the slums of Chicago who's starving for success in the fashion design industry. After suffering repeated rejections of her fashion sketches in her hometown of Chicago, she finally gets her big break when a white fashion photographer extends an invitation to her to work with him as a model in Italy. Torn between her relationship with her boyfriend, along with his political ideals, and the golden opportunity of making a significant step in achieving her dream of becoming a successful fashion designer, she opts for the latter and abruptly departs for Rome.

Although a pop singing icon, as the movie's hit theme song ("Do You Know Where You're Going To?") will attest, Ross' acting abilities in this movie however leave a great deal to be desired. Although few would argue that the ostentation of the European fashion industry, the setting for most of this movie, is fitting for her real-life persona as that of the narcissistic Motown diva.

Anthony Perkins appears as a prominent but emotionally imbalanced fashion photographer named Sean who under the guise of being Tracy's mentor, and similar to another Italian benefactor that she encounters later in the movie, has lecherous ulterior motives up his sleeve. Obviously typecast in this role, stemming from his legendary performance as the deranged Norman Bates from Hitchcock's classic horror movie "Psycho" a decade-and-a-half before, he plays the movie's psychotic villain. His unrequited attraction for Tracy results in some very unpleasant and devastating consequences, making her start to realize that success in the European fashion industry ain't exactly all that it's cracked up to be.

Billy Dee Williams plays Brian, Tracy's altruistic boyfriend, who, with his own aspirations, has ambitions of becoming the alderman of the Chicago ward where Tracy herself resides. As the consummate movie matinée idol, and in somewhat of a reprise from the previous movie in which he co-starred with Ross, "Lady Sings the Blues," he does suffice in "Mahogany" as the handsome leading man. However, in scenes where he's embroiled in altercations with construction workers while conducting political campaigns in the streets of Chicago--and besting the roughnecks in street fights--are a tad "Hollywoodish" to say the least and far more humorously cheesy than action-packed.

But above all else, what makes the movie such an unadulterated piece of camp (or crap) is the ludicrous, naive theme it perpetuates—"Success is nothing without someone you love to share it with." In what was presumably meant to be the climax of this movie, and to the background of heavy sentimental orchestral music, Brain emphatically delivers this line to Tracy amid a heated lovers' quarrel. In the original version of the movie, and in Gordy's infinite wisdom as the movie's director, the asinine line was even captioned on the screen at the very end of the film, and also used as a tag line to promote it when it was first released back in the mid-70s. (However, modern-day TV editors have wisely omitted it from the screen at the film's end, presumably because of its inanity.)

Recently, this movie has been re-aired regularly on the newly established "Bounce" channel, a TV network that exclusively showcases black programs. (Unfortunately, many of the movies, like "Mahogany," are of B-grade.) However, time has done this movie a great deal of harm. Actually, "Mystery Science Theater 3000" would be a more fittingly venue for "Mahogany," as you could bet the house that the three fellas over there would have undoubtedly had a field day with such absurd cornball.


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