Thursday, June 11, 2020

Coronavirus Camp Classic 6 - 'Mahogany'

To the African-American community, particularly gay black men, Mahogany (1974) is a classic. It may not be considered a camp classic by most, but I think it's a hoot.

Fresh off of her 1972 Oscar-nominated portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues, Diana Ross again took center stage in this movie. Mahogany is the story of an aspiring fashion model/designer from the ghetto who reaches the pinnacle of international success only to discover how empty it is without the person she loves (Billy Dee Williams).

Where to start with this one? One place has to be the scene in which Williams scolds Ross for being too egotistical with her success with a line sappier than the one people remembered from Love Story:

 . . . success is nothing without someone you love to share it with.

Another place of note is the wild performance by the late Anthony Perkins as the fashion photographer who discovers Ross's character, gives her the name of 'Mahogany,' guides her career, and then attempts to destroy her spiritually - and physically - when he is unable to "pleasure her" in a highly awkward scene. An in-the-closet gay man who turns homicidal when he can't finish intercourse with a woman? Yeah. That's original.

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