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 »
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 <email@example.com>
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 »
[careening out of control in a sports car]
Don't mess up the car!
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In 1975, Diana Ross was just about the most famous black woman in the world. No other performer of color had ever reached her pinnacle of success and celebrity--not Josephine Baker, not Ella Fitzgerald, not Lena Horne. And so with "Mahogany," her second motion picture, Ross' mentor/lover (and, now, director) Berry Gordy fashioned an extravagant "hymn to how glorious it is to be Diana Ross", as reviewer Rex Reed put it. Not since the glory days of Joan Crawford's dewy-ewed close-ups had a star been so lovingly photographed; never considered a classic beauty, Diana Ross is astoundingly luscious in this film. Like all great screen divas, Ross is in nearly every scene, and when she's not, her presence still is. She plays Tracy Chambers, a spunky Chicago ghetto girl with her eye on becoming a great fashion designer. Tracy falls in love with Brian (Billy Dee Williams), an earnest politician, but his social conscience is at extreme odds with her desire for fame, fortune and the good life. Enter Sean (Tony Perkins), the world's most famous fashion photographer, who discovers Tracy, whisks her off to Rome, and prego! Mahogany, the supermodel, is born. (Sean calls Tracy "Mahogany," you see, because she is also "dark, beautiful, rich and rare.") When in Rome, Tracy/Mahogany indulges in la dolce vita, drips candlewax on her nude body at a Roman orgy, becomes the renowned fashion designer she always dreamed of becoming, and also becomes the kept woman of filthy rich Jean-Pierre Aumont...but, she soon learns, "Success is nothing without someone you love to share it with." If you haven't already guessed, despite the chic Roman locales, there's more corn here than in the state of Kansas. However, Diana Ross simply dominates the screen; it's a shame and a sin that her acting career never fulfilled its promise (due in large part to the mostly negative reviews "Mahogany" initially received), because she's precisely the larger-than-life, iconic figure that Hollywood's been lacking for so long. She's a natural and incredibly likable actress--all the more remarkable, considering her "difficult" off-screen reputation. Having said that, "Mahogany" IS best viewed as camp--the cornball dialogue, outrageous costumes (designed by Diana herself) and over-the-top performances ensure its cult status. But there is a degree of art here, and it lies squarely on the dark, beautiful, rich, rare shoulders of Miss Diana Ross.
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