Mahogany

"Weak"

Mahogany Review


Thirty years after its release, Mahogany is still screened often... in gay bars. A minor camp classic starring Miss Diana Ross as a Chicago striver who claws her way to the top of the international high fashion scene, it's a mess of clichés, faulty feminist logic, and uncountable costume changes that mainly serve to enable Ross's raging narcissism.

Drunk on adulation from her Oscar-nominated performance in Lady Sings the Blues three years earlier, how could Ross resist such a star vehicle, especially one that let her design her own costumes: a decision, by the way, that ranks up there with the Watergate break-in as one of the worst ideas of the 1970s? Even Cher must have averted her eyes.

Ross is Tracy, a department store secretary with a flair for fashion design. Her Jesse Jacksonesque boyfriend Brian (Billy Dee Williams and his moustache) is a local bleeding-heart pol who agitates in the slums with a bullhorn.

Tracy's humdrum life takes a turn when her store hires noted fashion photographer Sean McEvoy (Anthony Perkins) to shoot an ad campaign. When one of the models doesn't work out, he drags Tracy into the action, and soon she's vogueing with the best of him. Sean and Brian later meet when Sean brings his high fashion models to the slums to shoot them alongside authentic bag ladies. Brian is appalled. Tracy is dazzled. Soon, Sean is making Tracy all kinds of big promises, and before you can say "Colt 45... works every time," Brian is eating Tracy's dust as she packs a bag and follows Sean to Rome, which was apparently more of a fashion capital back in the disco era than it is now.

Tracy is willing to sleep with Sean as payback for his favors, but he turns out to be impotent, and we soon learn that he's also a little bit, well, psycho. (Anthony Perkins was always the most interesting person in any film in which he appeared.) Tracy gets busy tending to his touchy ego while also churning out the first of her fashions, appalling frocks based on themes such as butterflies, Cleopatra, and worst of all, Kabuki theater.

At a charity fashion show, Mahogany's atrocious kimono, modeled by Mahogany herself, is greeted with hoots of derision until a continental count (Jean-Pierre Aumont) pays a whopping price for it. He soon sets Mahogany up in her own atelier (it's big fun to watch the bitchy Ross tear into her Italian seamstresses), but there's trouble when Brian shows up to check on her and Sean's various jealousies come to a dangerous boiling point. Soon Sean and Brian are both out of the picture, and Tracy is left to wallow in a miserable cloud of chiffon and satin swatches.

Mahogany's tag line is "Success means nothing unless you have someone you love to share it with," a nice sentiment but one that rings false when (spoiler alert) Tracy finally throws away all her success to be by the side of her man. Feminists must have hurled their Earth Shoes at the screen when they saw this dreck.

In the end, we're left with a beautiful theme song ("Do You Know Where You're Going To?") and fun memories of Zoolander-like fashion shoot montages. All Diana Ross was left with was a bulging closet full of unwearable clothes.



Mahogany

Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 25th March 1976

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: AGK Productions, Toronto Film Challenge

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Fresh: 3 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Helene Androlia as Janet, Andrew Gardner as Brian, Peter Steven as 1. Kidnapper, Mike Arnott as 2. Kidnapper

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.