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  1. #1

    Mahogany - thoughts? love it? hate it? what would you have done different?

    ok - getting a great fan dialog on The Wiz and lots of interesting and different perspectives

    so let's do Mahogany too.

    in general i think fans appreciate this film a bit more. it's a bit of a mess but seems to hold up better. If nothing else, there's better character development for Diana so even though the film is uneven, you still relate to Tracey

    plus those crazy ass costumes!!!!

  2. #2
    I love it.

    It was the first Diana movie I ever saw. I still remember my mother and I trudging through the rain opening weekend, trying to find the theater that was showing it. By the time we found it, quite a bit had already been shown. In fact, we walked in during the fashion montage. No problem. This was during the days when you could enter when you wanted and stayed as long as you wanted. After the movie ended, we just waited for the next showing to see what we had missed.

    As for the film itself, it is probably my favorite and whenever it is on tv[[which is often), I still end up watching some of it, if only to see the two scenes where Diana does the "I'm a widow from the South Side..." bit.

    I'm probably still viewing it through my 8 year old eyes but I wouldn't change a thing about it. Diana was at her most beautiful, the clothes were great, love the theme song, and Anthony Perkins played his part to a T.
    Last edited by reese; 03-16-2021 at 02:08 PM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I love it.

    It was the first Diana movie I ever saw. I still remember my mother and I trudging through the rain opening weekend, trying to find the theater that was showing it. By the time we found it, quite a bit had already been shown. In fact, we walked in during the fashion montage. No problem. This was during the days when you could enter when you wanted and stayed as long as you wanted. After the movie ended, we just waited for the next showing to see what we had missed.

    As for the film itself, it is probably my favorite and whenever it is on tv[[which is often), I still end up watching some of it, if only to see the two scenes where Diana does the "I'm a widow from the South Side..." bit.

    I'm probably still viewing it through my 8 year old eyes but I wouldn't change a thing about it. Diana was at her most beautiful, the clothes were great, love the theme song, and Anthony Perkins played his part to a T.
    great memories!!!

    i think the overall story if fine [[even if a bit chauvinistic by today's standards) but i'm very curious as to what it could have been like had Tony Richardson stayed on. all of the elements are there but it's a bit choppy. like the rest of the cast in the europe sequences. the character of Christian seems to sort of come out of no where. he goes from the fashion show scene to trying to bed her in all of 5 mins. a little more development there would have been good

    and what about some more time with Carlotta Gavina? she would always be a secondary character but we see her first when Tracie auditions and the men all rip her apart. and then backstage at the fashion show for 10 seconds. maybe a little more here and there.

    the only time we really see Tracie unhappy is when Billie Dee and her fight. we don't really see her beginning to question if this life is really worth. frankly until Billie Dee shows up, she looks like she's having a damn good time!

  4. #4
    It´s not a great film but I absolutely love it!

    Diana looks beyond stunning, the fashion is amazing and the whole thing is just SO camp! Wish there was a Blu-Ray release available. I already have a few DVD versions [[love the one with the fashion postcards) but I would still buy a Blu-Ray.

    [[the thought of Miss Ross posing frantically for photos in a car being driven wayyyy to fast by a demented photographer makes me chuckle every time)!

  5. #5
    Mahogany has always been the guiltiest of pleasures for me. It’s a throwback to the Joan-Crawford-shopgirl-makes-good-and-conquers-the-world formula, and Diana’s charisma, star power, chutzpah and cheekbones more than scratch that particular itch for me. She is, in the formulation of writer Hilton Als, “a populuxe Nefertiti” and then some. The wild and funky costumes are serious camp gold; I’m a sucker for the fashion montage. However, it’s decidedly not a feminist film; what woman in her right mind would give up being queen of the fashion world to get back together with a loser who stepped on her dreams at every turn, no matter how fine he is?! It’s gleefully out of step with the Virginia Slims era in which it originated.

  6. #6
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    It’s an okay film; nothing more. Most of Ross’ dress designs were downright horrible.

  7. #7
    i like the majority of the looks and outfits in the montage. but the fashion show was a bit much. they're so wild and out in left field. as randy said "her imagination run amok" And i know it was the 70s when synthetic fabrics and all were very popular. but some of the material in those fashion show outfits looks so cheap. It might be a matter of simply how they read on film versus in person

    but her looks like the rainbow dress she twirled around in, the burgundy outfit on the fountain, and many others were stunning

    wonder if she still has them all

    wonder if Traci has gotten into them lol

  8. #8
    about 20 odd yrs ago i was working with Drag Queen performers and showed them it..they loved the opening kabuki collection lol..they even copied the opening shot of the stage in darkness with a fluro light highlighting the white in their stage costumes..[[ I also gave them copies of Tarborrelli's "Call Her Miss Ross" which they devoured)..as stated previously its camp not to be taken too seriously its a rags to riches romance story which delivers just that

  9. #9
    After the brilliance of LSTB, this was disappointing. Ross performance was great as was Billy Dee, but Tony Perkins went camp making his character more comical than scary.

    The problem with Mahogany was the script. It plays like a TV movie. Same general plot, Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back.

    Mahogany is certainly better than The Wiz, which isn't saying much, but a let down from LSTB.

    I'll give it a C.

  10. #10
    what if, according to the story from Randy, they had gotten Jack Nicholson!

  11. #11
    I can't see Nicholson taking the part, he liked edgier movies. This was essentially a love story

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    I can't see Nicholson taking the part, he liked edgier movies. This was essentially a love story
    true but it would have been an interracial love story which might have seemed edgy enough. but i get your point that this was too much of a 'chick flick'

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    true but it would have been an interracial love story which might have seemed edgy enough. but i get your point that this was too much of a 'chick flick'
    The psychotic tendencies of the character might have been attractive to him he has a history of acting in movies unhinged - the shining,one flew over,batman etc

  14. #14
    I absolutely love Mahogany! Always have, always will. The one thing I still don't know is what exactly did Carlotta say to Tracy when she was planning on wearing one of her original designs in the fashion show, and said to Carlotta "I wonder if I'm doing the right thing". I've listened over and over again and all I can make out is "When ........ I've done all the wrong things.....". Anybody know exactly what she said?

  15. #15
    LSTB was always going to be a hard act to follow she set the bar so high with her film debut..setting mahogany in the present and not singing where just two ways the film try to set a distance from the it's predosessor..it's often compared to a joan crawford mgm vehicle the difference is audiences suspension of disbelief had changed in the 70s..as implausible as some of crawford's plots were she was nearly always joan crawford to the public not whatever her character was called...mahogany is a diana ross vehicle as flo told diana on the phone in their last ever conversation - the ending where tracy would turn her back on her career was unbelievable and I think flos view holds true because we don't see a character she is diana ross thru out..it's a film of it's era but it's hardly a crawford tear jerker
    Last edited by nomis; 03-17-2021 at 05:21 PM.

  16. #16
    I love Mahogany from start to finish.

  17. #17
    The film isn't great but it has parts that stand out today: the fashion show [[with the Kabuki theme), that whole sequence of Diana modeling different outfits [[and hair), the "I'm a winner, baby" scene where Diana's character curses out Billy Dee's [["you ain't sh*t!", I'm thinking that's a response to him saying to her, "success is nothing without someone to share it with" to which she screamed at him to get out). But it's not a film I can enjoy all the way for some reason. Her acting was really good though. I don't think people loved the fact she left all of her fame and glory behind to head back to Chicago to get back with Billy's character. That killed the film for many attendees.

    On its own, it's pretty good, compare it to Lady Sings the Blues though... yeah...

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    After the brilliance of LSTB, this was disappointing. Ross performance was great as was Billy Dee, but Tony Perkins went camp making his character more comical than scary.

    The problem with Mahogany was the script. It plays like a TV movie. Same general plot, Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back.

    Mahogany is certainly better than The Wiz, which isn't saying much, but a let down from LSTB.

    I'll give it a C.
    Boy those Tony Perkins scenes were gay camp gold [[Tony was openly bisexual too lol). I didn't like the car crash scene though. TOO MUCH! Diana cussing out her designers afterwards... lmao they said "that's how Diana really is". Even Florence Ballard said that lmao

    "That's not a character, that's Diane" or something to that effect lol

  19. #19
    yeah i think there's a big ? that DIANA ROSS would toss everything aside for a man. the character of Traci was really just the DR story but in fashion as opposed to music. so many parallels between the two women.

    Also Diana Ross would NEVER let a man tell her how worthless her interests and career aspiration are. like when Billy Dee was dissing Traci's work in chicago. she would have slapped HIM hard across the face!

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Boy those Tony Perkins scenes were gay camp gold [[Tony was openly bisexual too lol). I didn't like the car crash scene though. TOO MUCH! Diana cussing out her designers afterwards... lmao they said "that's how Diana really is". Even Florence Ballard said that lmao

    "That's not a character, that's Diane" or something to that effect lol
    lol Flo had a wicked sense of humour apparently she attended one of Diana's daughters birthday parties and when Diana was singing "Happy Birthday" to her Flo turned to a guest and said "shes singing flat" lol

  21. #21
    Liked it.
    Would have been nice to have the original director and not BG

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by daviddh View Post
    Liked it.
    Would have been nice to have the original director and not BG
    Berry was good in a lot of ways to Diana and not good in other ways. And that was one of them. I don't even feel sorry Diana slapped him. He deserved it LMAO

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    lol Flo had a wicked sense of humour apparently she attended one of Diana's daughters birthday parties and when Diana was singing "Happy Birthday" to her Flo turned to a guest and said "shes singing flat" lol
    I remembered reading that and getting a chuckle. LOL
    Flo definitely had the zingers. I didn't even know her or see her alive in my lifetime and I miss her!

  24. #24
    whoops I posted in the wrong DR movie thread !

    never mind !
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 03-18-2021 at 02:29 AM.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    I remembered reading that and getting a chuckle. LOL
    Flo definitely had the zingers. I didn't even know her or see her alive in my lifetime and I miss her!
    Midnight.. your words there have touched me deep not many a day goes by where I don't look at a picture of the Supremes..I look at flo and think "damn girl..where did you go ?? You where taken so young ? What made the love you brought the world turn so ugly for your own journey ? Her poor daughters never got to know her she deserved so much more..I have no answers I look at her in pictures and I'm left with questions ...and deep sorrow..

  26. #26
    I think nostalgia allows for the film to be remembered fondly by fans. I think of it as a fun yet camp piece of nonsense that should not be taken to seriously.
    Jean-Pierre Aumont’s performance is so very camp, that an attraction to Brian would have appeared more realistic.
    My favourite performance is Nina Foch as the not so nice, probably sexually frustrated M’s Evans.
    Apparently Diana was not overjoyed about having BDW in the film.

  27. #27
    I so wish the wonderful Beah Richards weren't so underutilized in this as Aunt Florence. She was an Oscar-nominated actor, after all. I would have loved to see a little more family time between them; it would have fleshed out Tracy's character nicely. "She don't know nothin' about no Rome!"

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    I so wish the wonderful Beah Richards weren't so underutilized in this as Aunt Florence. She was an Oscar-nominated actor, after all. I would have loved to see a little more family time between them; it would have fleshed out Tracy's character nicely. "She don't know nothin' about no Rome!"
    Agreed.

    Of Diana's first three movies, this is my least fav. It's cool. It's not bad. It's not particularly good, either. But it has it's moments. I usually only watch the Chicago scenes. I pretty much tune out when she moves to Rome and don't tune back in until she goes back home.

    The biggest issue I had with the movie is definitely the idea that she seemingly gives up her dreams to return to a man who funky chickened all over it before she left.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    Midnight.. your words there have touched me deep not many a day goes by where I don't look at a picture of the Supremes..I look at flo and think "damn girl..where did you go ?? You where taken so young ? What made the love you brought the world turn so ugly for your own journey ? Her poor daughters never got to know her she deserved so much more..I have no answers I look at her in pictures and I'm left with questions ...and deep sorrow..
    Same here. I know her death was tragic for years but it's actually hit me recently HOW tragic. Like "wow, she was only that old and still had so much to live for..."

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    I so wish the wonderful Beah Richards weren't so underutilized in this as Aunt Florence. She was an Oscar-nominated actor, after all. I would have loved to see a little more family time between them; it would have fleshed out Tracy's character nicely. "She don't know nothin' about no Rome!"
    Where were Tracy’s parents is what i would like to know?. Was she meant to be an orphan?.
    It’s interesting that unlike The Wiz, reviews of the movie rarely mention the fact that Diana at 30 was a ‘tad to old to be playing a catwalk model. Especially one that takes the fashion world by storm.

  31. #31
    I would not have let Barry Gordy directed anything he clearly didn’t have a talent and had no idea what he was doing. The few scenes that Tony Richardson did worked well, the rest is hit and miss at best and some of them are so awful that I cringe when they appear - like most of the Anthony Perkins staff in Rome especially the first couple scenes, the shuffleboard the garbage that awful party in Rome…… and I would not have cast Anthony Perkins, I would’ve built the part up and tried to get a bigger star. I thought Miss Ross looked fantastic I liked a lot of her clothes, she had some very effective scenes and considering the experience of her Director, it’s practically an Oscar caliber performance. So much of it was cheap and shoddy, not worthy of her follow up to lady sings the blues. I knew people who liked it, and I knew people who thought it was a disappointment but still liked her in it. I was hoping for The Way We Were quality, not.... whatever it turned out to be
    Last edited by TheMotownManiac; 03-19-2021 at 01:08 PM.

  32. #32
    what was left in from Tony?

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    what was left in from Tony?
    scenes in the campaign office are all I know of for sure, but I’m guessing the scenes at Marshalll Fields, the aunt Florence factory scene, Ryan coming to the apartment with the Nickels, The ones that are well lit, in focus, tight sound and light cues, are plausible.....

  34. #34
    Mahogany was great in concept. But too many misses than hits. The casting of Anthony Perkins was off. Was there anyone that thought he was straight? No wonder he couldn't get it up for Tracey. It was all too unbelievable. Truth told, the entire cast needed some bigger names other than Diana and Billy Dee. Ironic that his pendulum swings both ways too.

    Too much bizarre antics for the general public; no one watching had a clue what was going on when Tracey was pouring that hot wax all over her body. Maybe that's a thing in Paris, but to the folks in Detroit, she lost her damn mind.

    And is the movie a love story? Between her and Brian? Or a horror movie when the car is speeding out of control with Sean at the helm?

  35. #35
    If the movie had been made a few years earlier I think Brando would have killed it as Sean.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    Mahogany was great in concept. But too many misses than hits. The casting of Anthony Perkins was off. Was there anyone that thought he was straight? No wonder he couldn't get it up for Tracey. It was all too unbelievable. Truth told, the entire cast needed some bigger names other than Diana and Billy Dee. Ironic that his pendulum swings both ways too.

    Too much bizarre antics for the general public; no one watching had a clue what was going on when Tracey was pouring that hot wax all over her body. Maybe that's a thing in Paris, but to the folks in Detroit, she lost her damn mind.

    And is the movie a love story? Between her and Brian? Or a horror movie when the car is speeding out of control with Sean at the helm?
    i think the point of the wax and all WAS to do just what you described. it was supposed to illustrate the decadence of Europe and how she was now so far from her roots and who she really was.

    my problem is that, other than dressing in better clothes, there's no other example of her drifting away from who she was. it was too abrupt.

    she should have flown home at some point to visit Aunt Florence and they could have practically acted out I'm Living In Shamel Auntie could be stirring a pot of homemade jam, on her knees scrubbing someone's kitchen floor cuz the factory closed or laid her off.

    the only real sign of Tracey's going to wild side was 10 seconds of dancing and wax play.

  37. #37
    I find the scene in the where Sean tries to kill her quite funny. “Sean i’m posing, now take your frigging picture”.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i think the point of the wax and all WAS to do just what you described. it was supposed to illustrate the decadence of Europe and how she was now so far from her roots and who she really was.

    my problem is that, other than dressing in better clothes, there's no other example of her drifting away from who she was. it was too abrupt.

    she should have flown home at some point to visit Aunt Florence and they could have practically acted out I'm Living In Shamel Auntie could be stirring a pot of homemade jam, on her knees scrubbing someone's kitchen floor cuz the factory closed or laid her off.

    the only real sign of Tracey's going to wild side was 10 seconds of dancing and wax play.
    You're probably on to something! Much like "Ode to Billie Joe" or "Harper Valley PTA", the I'm Living in Shame" story could have been the great outline for a movie.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    You're probably on to something! Much like "Ode to Billie Joe" or "Harper Valley PTA", the I'm Living in Shame" story could have been the great outline for a movie.
    It technically already was—critics have likened it to the earlier IMITATION OF LIFE films [[daughter denies mother, lives a lie and breaks mother’s heart resulting in mother’s death and massive remorse).
    Last edited by sansradio; 03-21-2021 at 07:03 PM.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    You're probably on to something! Much like "Ode to Billie Joe" or "Harper Valley PTA", the I'm Living in Shame" story could have been the great outline for a movie.
    or Love Child the movie!

  41. #41
    I like most of the Chicago parts in the beginning. You see her struggling to make it, dead end job. meets a charismatic guy. spotted by the big time photographer.

    I think Aunt Flo should have appeared more often - i would have thought she'd have visited Diana monthly at least But as i mentioned, that could have helped show Diana drifting away.

    I think the idea of a love affair with Sean was dumb. I think they could have simply made him super possessive of her. he tried to manage more of her career but Carlotta and he fight. he made Mahogany so he thinks he owns her. maybe he does try to have her but forcefully. almost a rape but she hits him and runs off.

    Traci and Carlotta work together more and Carlotta introduces her to more of the decadent side of Europe. maybe there she meets Christian at first and he starts to follow her more and more

    then a trip home to see Flo and Brian. but she is arrogant and a bitch and has changed. so she leaves in a huff

    then the fashion scene where Sean nearly ruins it and Christian saves it. more debauchery and debasement. she's becoming more and more popular but sadder and sadder. Brian comes for 1 more visit and she hits rock bottom.

    she returns to the states and home

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    I like most of the Chicago parts in the beginning. You see her struggling to make it, dead end job. meets a charismatic guy. spotted by the big time photographer.

    I think Aunt Flo should have appeared more often - i would have thought she'd have visited Diana monthly at least But as i mentioned, that could have helped show Diana drifting away.

    I think the idea of a love affair with Sean was dumb. I think they could have simply made him super possessive of her. he tried to manage more of her career but Carlotta and he fight. he made Mahogany so he thinks he owns her. maybe he does try to have her but forcefully. almost a rape but she hits him and runs off.

    Traci and Carlotta work together more and Carlotta introduces her to more of the decadent side of Europe. maybe there she meets Christian at first and he starts to follow her more and more

    then a trip home to see Flo and Brian. but she is arrogant and a bitch and has changed. so she leaves in a huff

    then the fashion scene where Sean nearly ruins it and Christian saves it. more debauchery and debasement. she's becoming more and more popular but sadder and sadder. Brian comes for 1 more visit and she hits rock bottom.

    she returns to the states and home
    That all sounds really good. Much better then what went down. Have you ever been involved in script writing sup?.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    That all sounds really good. Much better then what went down. Have you ever been involved in script writing sup?.
    lolol no. and frankly until this forum discussion had never really thought about what i might have changed in Mahogany, other than i realized it needed some changing. for instance i had totally forgot about Aunt Florence until this discussion and then thought - hmmm she had a somewhat important role in the early chicago scenes. and then -poof- she's gone.

    and then someone mentioned the silliness of the candle wax and while i get it that it symbolizes some of her decline into debauchery i realized that was about it, so Brian's whole reaction to her changing isn't really well set up

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    ...and then someone mentioned the silliness of the candle wax and while i get it that it symbolizes some of her decline into debauchery i realized that was about it, so Brian's whole reaction to her changing isn't really well set up
    The candlewax scene wasn't actually in the script. I remember a small blurb in JET or RIGHT ON! that said they had finished shooting the scene and Diana ripped her wig off, started disrobing, grabbed the candle and started letting the wax drip. The camera was still rolling and Berry decided to keep it in the film. So I guess it was really Diana's decline into debauchery.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    The candlewax scene wasn't actually in the script. I remember a small blurb in JET or RIGHT ON! that said they had finished shooting the scene and Diana ripped her wig off, started disrobing, grabbed the candle and started letting the wax drip. The camera was still rolling and Berry decided to keep it in the film. So I guess it was really Diana's decline into debauchery.
    Ta for the update reese. I have experienced certain things dripped over me, but funnily enough never hot candle wax. I have always wondered what it might feel like.

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    Ta for the update reese. I have experienced certain things dripped over me, but funnily enough never hot candle wax. I have always wondered what it might feel like.
    Ollie9 - it F@#$ing hurts !

  47. #47
    One thing I definitely would've changed is that the soundtrack would've been entirely Diana Ross. Had it been done well, it could've been in the same conversation as the soundtracks to Sparkle and Claudine.

  48. #48
    the mahogany soundtrack actually performed rather well on the charts as is. it ran 26 weeks which is longer than Greatest Hits in 76 [[by 2 weeks), several weeks longer than Last Time I Saw Him [[17 weeks) LIve at Caesars [[17 weeks) Surrender [[14 weeks)

    i guess the thinking was to do an actual soundtrack, not a DR record. If you took After You or I thought it took a little time, then you've stripped DR 76 of some key tracks. and that album needed those.

    so many of the tracks from the soundtrack overlap - Christian's theme, can you hear it in my music, feeling again. these are mostly just variations on the theme from Mahogany. not to mention the instrumental Theme plus Mahogany Suite.

    the music is really lovely though

  49. #49
    i love the photo shoot scene in the department store with the twirling rainbow dress..

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    the mahogany soundtrack actually performed rather well on the charts as is. it ran 26 weeks which is longer than Greatest Hits in 76 [[by 2 weeks), several weeks longer than Last Time I Saw Him [[17 weeks) LIve at Caesars [[17 weeks) Surrender [[14 weeks)

    i guess the thinking was to do an actual soundtrack, not a DR record. If you took After You or I thought it took a little time, then you've stripped DR 76 of some key tracks. and that album needed those.

    so many of the tracks from the soundtrack overlap - Christian's theme, can you hear it in my music, feeling again. these are mostly just variations on the theme from Mahogany. not to mention the instrumental Theme plus Mahogany Suite.

    the music is really lovely though
    Agree. A superb film soundtrack filled with beautiful music. What’s not to like. It really deserved it’s chart success.

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