Press "Enter" to skip to content

‘I think therefore I scam!’ The lost masterpiece about the con artist who did 36 successful hysterectomies

Chameleon Street, a true-crime comedy about the fraudster who passed as a lawyer, a surgeon and even a basketball-player, fell foul of a racist Hollywood. Can it now be a hit? We speak to its director

When he won the grand jury prize at the 1990 Sundance film festival for his debut picture Chameleon Street, Wendell B Harris Jr thought his film just might be a hit. “Gee,” he remembers thinking, “Hollywood is reaching out to me.” But despite the acclaim, Chameleon Street struggled to get a release. Harris never made another film.

Now, three decades later, things are a little different. Chameleon Street – recently hailed by the New Yorker as a masterpiece and one of the 20th century’s greatest independent films – was finally given a US streaming release in 2021, and is available for the first time in the UK, via Mubi and BFI Player. For Harris, this means that his shocking true crime comedy about race in America may finally be widely seen. “I have spent 30 years fighting for the distribution of Chameleon Street,” he says. “Fighting and, frankly, failing.”

Continue reading…

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply