Mahogany (film)

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Movie poster by Bill Gold
illustrated by Bob Peak.
Directed byBerry Gordy
Written byBob Merrill
John Byrum
Story byToni Amber
Produced byJack Ballard
Rob Cohen
StarringDiana Ross
Billy Dee Williams
Jean-Pierre Aumont
Nina Foch
Beah Richards
Marisa Mell
Anthony Perkins
CinematographyDavid Watkin
Edited byPeter Zinner
Music byMichael Masser
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • October 8, 1975 (1975-10-08)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$3.5 million[1]
Box office$5,000,000[2][better source needed]

Mahogany is a 1975 American romantic drama film directed by Berry Gordy and produced by Motown Productions. The Motown founder Gordy took over the film direction after British filmmaker Tony Richardson was dismissed from the film.[3] Mahogany stars Diana Ross as Tracy Chambers, a struggling fashion design student who rises to become a popular fashion designer in Rome. It was released on October 8, 1975. The soundtrack included the single "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)", which peaked at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1976.


Tracy Chambers dreams of becoming a fashion designer and has worked her way up to assistant to the head buyer at a luxury department store (modeled after and filmed at Marshall Fields on State Street) in Chicago.[4] Her supervisor, Miss Evans, believes that Tracy's night school courses will interfere with her responsibilities at the store. Her aunt, however, encourages her and visits prospective buyers, who tell Tracy her designs are good for Paris, but not for Chicago.

One evening, she gets into a shouting match with Brian Walker, a local activist fighting against gentrification in their community.

Sean McAvoy, a great fashion photographer, comes to the department store to photograph models, all of whom are white, and with whom he is dissatisfied. Sean mistakes Tracy for a new model and creates an impromptu shoot with her, featuring a rainbow-colored gown made by her aunt. As Sean prepares to leave Chicago, he invites Tracy to Rome.

Tracy again encounters Brian during her walk to work and surreptitiously pours milk into his bullhorn's mouthpiece. Brian assumes that one of the construction workers has played a prank on him and a fight begins. Brian is arrested and Tracy bails him out. He insists that he will return the money. She tells him to put it in her door's mail slot, which he does. Brian becomes her boyfriend, but the relationship does not last long as Brian does not support Tracy's aspirations.

Sean reinvents Tracy as "Mahogany" and she becomes among the most in-demand fashion models. An uneasy relationship develops with Sean, who is possessive and jealous of anyone vying for Tracy's attention, which includes Brian when he visits. Tracy, feeling she owes Sean for her new career, reluctantly agrees to sleep with him. Sean's implied latent homosexuality makes the union a failure. Brian fails to persuade Tracy to return home with him to support him in his political aspirations.

During their next photo shoot on an elevated highway in an expensive sports car, Sean causes an accident in which he's killed and Tracy sustains severe injuries. A new benefactor, Count Christian Rosetti, lends Tracy his villa for her recovery and a studio space in which she may finally create her own fashion label. Because of the tremendous job pressures, Tracy becomes demanding and cruel to her employees. She is unwilling to express her appreciation to her new benefactor by becoming his mistress. She finds her career emotionally empty and not what she dreamed it would be without Brian's love and support. Following the tremendous success of her first collection, Tracy realizes that she must decide whether to continue with her empty life in Rome or return to the man she loves in Chicago, and use her talents to boost his political prospects.



Mahogany was the second original motion picture soundtrack by Diana Ross, following her 1972 release Lady Sings the Blues. The soundtrack included the single "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)", which peaked at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1976. The single's B-side, "No One's Gonna Be a Fool Forever", was taken from Diana's "Last Time I Saw Him" album of 1973. The soundtrack reached #19 in the USA and sold over a million copies worldwide.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Michael Masser, except where indicated:

Side one[edit]

  1. "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" (lyrics: Gerry Goffin) – 3:25
  2. "Feeling Again" – 3:22
  3. "You Don't Ever Have to Be Alone" – 2:40
  4. "Can You Hear It in My Music" – 3:38
  5. "Christian's Theme" – 1:46
  6. "After You" – 2:17
  7. "Theme from Mahogany" (Instrumental) – 3:52

Side two[edit]

  1. "My Hero Is a Gun" – 3:18
  2. "Cat Fight" (Gil Askey) – 1:31
  3. "Erucu" (Don Daniels, Jermaine Jackson) – 3:34
  4. "Let's Go Back to Day One" (Gil Askey, Gloria Jones, Patrice Holloway) – 1:42
  5. "Tracy" (Gil Askey) – 2:14
  6. "She's the Ideal Girl" (Don Daniels, Jermaine Jackson) – 2:46
  7. "Sweets (And Other Things)" – 2:01
  8. "Mahogany Suite" – 5:31


Release and reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 29% based on reviews from 21 critics.[12]

Mahogany was released on VHS home video in the 1990s, and was issued on DVD on May 1, 2007.[citation needed]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Original Song "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)"
Music by Michael Masser;
Lyrics by Gerry Goffin
Nominated [13]

The film is recognized by the American Film Institute in this list:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Murphy, Mary (Jan 17, 1975). "MOVIE CALL SHEET: Gordy to Direct 'Mahogany'". Los Angeles Times. p. f18.
  2. ^ "Mahogany (1975) - IMDb". IMDb.
  3. ^ Gordy, Berry (1994). To Be Loved. New York, NY: Warner Books. p. 338. ISBN 0-446-51523-X.
  4. ^ Mahogany and Marshall Field's
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 281. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 4082a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
  7. ^ Racca, Guido (2019). M&D Borsa Album 1964–2019 (in Italian). ISBN 978-1094705002.
  8. ^ " – Soundtrack / Diana Ross / Michael Masser – Mahogany" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
  9. ^ "Diana Ross Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  10. ^ "Diana Ross Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  11. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 1976". Billboard. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  12. ^ "Mahogany (1975)". Rotten Tomatoes. 8 October 1975.
  13. ^ "The 48th Academy Awards (1976) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on 2014-11-09. Retrieved 2011-10-02.
  14. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-05.

External links[edit]