In an extraordinary career spanning seven decades, director and "godfather of black cinema" Melvin Van Peebles only made one studio film. 1970's Watermelon Man shattered conventions with its bitingly satirical story about a white couple, intolerant and obnoxious insurance salesman Jeff Gerber (Godfrey Cambridge) and his seemingly liberal wife Althea (Estelle Parsons). One morning, Jeff awakens to discover that his skin color has changed from white to black-and it's not a result of his daily tanning routine. Unable to successfully change back, he learns what it's like to live in America as a black man, and his eyes are opened.
The uncompromising Watermelon Man shocked audiences in 1970 and remains all too relevant today. Accompanying the scathing comedy was an original soundtrack composed by Van Peebles himself, then recording for A&M Records and about to take on Broadway with a pair of Tony Award-nominated musicals. The soundtrack to Watermelon Man was released on the small Beverly Hills label, preserving Van Peebles' enjoyably eclectic score - blending jazz, funk, rock, rhythm and blues, proto-rap, and even bluegrass - and the songs "Love, That's America" and "Soul'd on You" as well as a special appearance by Estelle Parsons on "Where Are the Children."
Out 24 JUNE 2022...
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