Wendell B. Harris Jr.
Virtually a lost film, this picked up a prize at the Sundance festival and earned some critical raves, but when Warners acquired the rights with a view to remaking it, they didn't bother to distribute the shoestring original - according to the writer/director/star, they actively suppressed it (it's never been released in the UK, even on video). It's flawed but often brilliant, one of the most provocative and adventurous American movies of the '90s. Harris is Douglas Street, a kind of professional black Zelig, who successfully passes himself off as a reporter, an exchange student, a lawyer and even a surgeon without any relevant qualifications. Formally adventurous, very funny, and deeply sour. Incredibly, it's based on a true story.
Theatrical Release: September 13th, 1989
DVD Review: Homevision - Region 0 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Homevision - Region 0 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
by Armond White and Michael Reiter
• Arbiter Roswell trailer
notes - essay by Armond White
References to Woody Allen's Zelig are appropriate but Wendell B. Harris Jr.'s Chameleon Street has a stronger bent of realism and sardonic humor. Very cool!
The DVD transfer is far better than I was expecting from such a clandestine Indie creation. Dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic - it has good detail and limited noise. Colors are strong and there are optional English subtitles supporting the 2.0 channel audio.
Image Entertainment (owners of HomeVision) have included some exceptional extras including a witty and informative commentary by Armond White and Michael Reiter. Colette Vignette - Grand Prize winner at Cannes - Sony US Visions Contest featuring Colette Hollywood, a 'Making Of...'Documentary entitled The Process featuring some early interviews of the performers, a few deleted scenes and some production activity. There is also some Pre-production footage - 'You Know Leadbelly?' - unexpurgated acting footage from Chameleon Street with Tony Ennis as a disingenuous TV host interviewing Maurice Givens as fatuous Rock-n-Roll roadie "Kelvin". There are also some trailers and a Photo gallery. Included are some liner notes with an essay by Armond White.
I was blown away by this work and strongly recommend it. Lots of fun in a dour 'dark-comedy' modus. The DVD is of very good quality.