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Monday, February 14, 2011

Throwback Cinema: "Mahogany" (1975)

"Success is nothing without someone to share it with."
After conquering the music world with her supergroup The Supremes, the ultimate diva Diana Ross managed to dust up a pretty solid movie career thereafter. Following her stirring Oscar-nominated performance in the heartbreaking Lady Sings the Blues, the Lady starred in the classic rags-to-riches love story Mahogany. Co-starring Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Perkins, Mahogany was the story of a young Chicago woman with a dream to take the fashion world by storm as an international designer. She later learns the journey to stardom is unsteady as it was bumpy.

Tracy was a budding designer looking for a new life for herself when she meets and falls for the devastatingly handsome Brian (Williams), a street-wise politician looking to change the world one neighborhood at a time. When they meet their both on the verge of the perspective big breaks professionally. Then suddenly Tracy's dream takes flight and she's whisked away to Paris, Rome, and other fashionable cities when Sean (Perkins) notices her exuiqiste beauty and turns her into a renown model. Seeing this as a step into the fashion world, Tracy goes along for the ride, but latter learns all that glitters isn't gold.

Sacrificing her true dream, her man, and nearly all she had worked for, Tracy gets a real glimpse of life as a superstar trapped in a lonely world with Sean, who was growing shadier and shadier by the day. Sean too had demons he was dealing with and latched onto Tracy with all his might to keep them from coming out the closet, nearly dragging Tracy down with him. It was only then when Tracy realized that she had long since moved away from her home, her heart, and her love.

As lovely and engaging as it is fashion forward (with glimpses of one fierce ensemble after another), Mahogany still holds up as one of the sweetest and sharpest love stories in cinema. The chemistry between Ross and Williams, much like that of Ross and Perkins (who gives a really tortured and terrific performance) is undeniable. Some of the best scenes (other than those with Ross and Williams) are between Ross and Perkins--who share a highly complicated relationship reading between friends, business associates, and something in between. Perkins had as much jealousy, rage and desire as Ross had determination, drive, and resilience. With fashion and a passionate love story as a backdrop to a wonderfully acted narrative, Mahogany is simply fabulous.


Karen said...

Can't remember if I've seen this movie. I feel like I saw snippets of it on cable a long time ago. Thanks for the reminder.

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