Mahogany Berry Gordy

Some people have no gratitude. Take Diana Ross in Mahogany: she could stay at home and tend to the political campaign of boyfriend Billy Dee Williams but no, she is selfish enough to want her own career as a fashion designer despite the phoniness of all those fashion people! Yes, it’s 1975, Motown mogul Berry Gordy has a few twisted ideas about how to fulfil the fantasies of his paramour Ross and he ends up making this movie sort of the black version of Valley of the Dolls. Her forsaking of Williams means she clings unto closeted weirdo photographer Anthony Perkins, who gets to work promoting her as a model and eroding her pride in the process. If only she could see how shallow she’s become! Ross is fairly terrifying in her role, gnashing her teeth and glaring her eyes until you’re hiding under your seat and wondering how Williams can sleep with the lights off. But even her scenes are stolen by Perkins, whose photographic whack job somehow upstages the star’s own depravity (and caps it with a death scene that’s for the ages). Everything about the production is cheesy and vulgar, from the loud ’70s outfits to the craven stabs at "relevance” and the apparent renunciation of the very ideals to which Ross and Gordy have clearly held themselves. Though the future Lando Calrissian turns in a suave movie star performance the rest of the film is awash in Ross screeching as she pushes her ghastly designs and occasionally pours hot wax all over herself. Sexist, homophobic and grotesque, it’s a camp travesty like no other and will have you laughing hysterically when you’re not picking your jaw off the floor. The only extra: a photo gallery. (Paramount)