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Watermelon Man

Watermelon Man – 1970
Melvin Van Peebles

Herman Raucher

Godfrey Cambridge
Estelle Parsons
Howard Caine





Review by Wayne Malin

Terrible direction, stupid script but sometimes it works

A white bigot (Godfrey Cambridge) wakes up one morning to find himself a black man. Good idea, horrible execution. The script hits all the jokes you expect and then goes nowhere. The dialogue is terrible–people don’t talk like that! Also, there’s no ending–the film just stops. And Van Peebles direction is annoying beyond belief. Yes, I realize he was one of the first black independent directors–it does NOT make him a good director though. He puts annoying music on the soundtrack without rhyme or reason…sometimes it almost drowns out the actors! The colour filters he uses don’t help at all and scenes go on WAY too long. He’s worse than Spike Lee (and that’s saying a lot).

Still, some of the jokes are very funny and the film makes a strong comment against racism. Also Godfrey Cambridge gives a wonderful performance–he has some horrible dialogue, but he pulls it off. The main problems here–the direction, the script and boy is it’s dated! However it’s not Van Peebles worst movie–that goes to “Sweet Sweetbacks Bada** Song”.

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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