6.6/10
1,520
34 user 22 critic

Watermelon Man (1970)

R | | Comedy | 27 May 1970 (USA)
An extremely bigoted white man finds out the hard (and somewhat humorous) way what it's like being a black man, firsthand!

Director:

Melvin Van Peebles

Writer:

Herman Raucher
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Godfrey Cambridge ... Jeff Gerber
Estelle Parsons ... Althea Gerber
Howard Caine ... Mr. Townsend
D'Urville Martin ... Bus Driver
Mantan Moreland ... Counterman
Kay Kimberly Kay Kimberly ... Erica
Kay E. Kuter ... Dr. Wainwright
Scott Garrett Scott Garrett ... Burton Gerber
Erin Moran ... Janice Gerber
Irving Selbst Irving Selbst ... Mr. Johnson
Emil Sitka ... Delivery Man
Lawrence Parke Lawrence Parke ... 1st Passenger
Karl Lukas ... Policeman #2
Ray Ballard Ray Ballard ... 3rd Passenger
Robert Dagny Robert Dagny ... 2nd Passenger
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Storyline

Jeff Gerber, an insurance agent, lives in a typical suburban neighborhood. He is also both racist and a fitness freak. But Jeff's bigoted world of taunting and harassing black people on and off the job is turned upside down when his skin inexplicably turns dark overnight. As Jeff tries to come to terms with this unexplained phenomenon that has befallen him, he soon becomes the victim himself when all of his friends and neighbors suddenly shun and harass him. This puts a strain on his marriage and loyal wife Althea, who begins to crack under the pressure. When all medical attempts to change his skin back to his former color fail, Jeff accepts that Kharma has caught up with him. Jeff tries to see the light of being a persecuted black man in this cruel and segregated world with the help of some of some new black friends, some of whom were people he, as a white man, taunted and harassed. Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A very funny thing happened to Jeff Gerber. It won't happen to you, so you can laugh. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

D'Urville Martin not only plays the credited role of the Bus Driver, but also participant in the Yacht Club "riot" scene. See more »

Quotes

Jeff Gerber: Hey, look, there must be some mistake.
Doorman: Come on, move along.
Jeff Gerber: Hey, hey, hey, I ask you, is this America? Is this America?
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Real Deal: What It is (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Eviction Theme
Written by Melvin Van Peebles
See more »

User Reviews

Really Smart Movie
7 May 2006 | by LaSone189See all my reviews

I just rented this DVD and loved it. At first, Godfrey Cambridge was a bit shrill for my taste but I got over it. His comic timing and acting was awesome. The humor was as sharp and cutting as a blade. Like in Sweet Sweetback..., Melvin Van Peebles doesn't go for the obvious commentary on race relations; I loved the scene at the end when the wife admits that she's "liberal to a point." People of color have hit this invisible and unexpected brick wall at one point or another with some liberals. Some of the production value and jagged editing notwithstanding, I was riveted by this film. It's sad how, over 30 years later, how timely it still is in a lot of ways. While I would love us all to get along, I appreciate the honesty and realness the film depicts of what happens when getting along is made impossible when one group dehumanizes another. Melvin Van Peebles does not shy away from showing this, nor does he apologize for or explain it. The film made me re-appreciate him as a real auteur, an adroit storyteller. Damn Van Peebles is good!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 May 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Night the Sun Came Out See more »

Filming Locations:

Burbank, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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