6.8/10
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17 user 9 critic

Black Like Me (1964)

Approved | | Drama | 20 May 1964 (USA)
Based on the true story of a white reporter who, at the height of the civil-rights movement, temporarily darkened his skin to experience the realities of a black man's life in the segregated South.

Director:

Carl Lerner

Writers:

John Howard Griffin (book), Carl Lerner (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Whitmore ... John Finley Horton
Sorrell Booke ... Dr. Jackson
Roscoe Lee Browne ... Christopher
Al Freeman Jr. ... Thomas Newcomb
Will Geer ... Truckdriver
Robert Gerringer ... Ed Saunders
Clifton James ... Eli Carr
John Marriott ... Hodges
Thelma Oliver Thelma Oliver ... Georgie
Lenka Peterson ... Lucy Horton (as Lenka Petersen)
P. Jay Sidney P. Jay Sidney ... Frank Newcomb (as P.J. Sidney)
Billie Allen Billie Allen ... Vertell
Alan Bergmann Alan Bergmann ... Charles Maynard
Stanley Brock ... Salesman
Heywood Hale Broun
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Storyline

Black Like Me is the true account of John Griffin's experiences of passing as a black man. John Horton takes treatments to darken his skin and leaves his home in Texas to travel throughout the South. At one stop, Horton encounters a black shoeshine man, Burt Wilson, who befriends him and shows him how to "act right" to fit more easily into the African American culture. Through Wilson, Horton learns the art of shining shoes. Most of his encounters with whites are quite degrading and disturb him. As a hitchhiker, John meets several white men who refer to black men and women in disparaging ways that anger him. Throughout the movie, John is harassed and persecuted by whites without reason. In one of his many stops throughout the South, John finds himself on a park bench sitting by a white woman. A white man walks by and says, "You'd better find another place to sit." Although he had a college degree, menial jobs were all that he could find. John meets Frank Newcomb whose son Tom is ... Written by Broncine G. Carter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"I changed the color of my skin... now I know what it feels like to be BLACK!" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

20 May 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Czarny jak ja See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Hilltop Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Ralph Dunn. See more »

Goofs

John finds the 'Black and Tan' magazine at a newsstand. The salesman looks right into the camera and clearly has nothing in his mouth. In the very next shot, the magazine salesman is reading and has a cigar in his mouth. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 3rd Rock from the Sun: Dick Like Me (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Poorly ...
21 April 2012 | by SkepticalEyeSee all my reviews

Griffin's book, which I highly recommend reading, is not well reflected in this movie. The book is an important one- the movie failed to portray the events deeply and meaningfully. While the book draws one into the experience and emotion of one living as an Arfican-American in the South during this time, the film leaves one feeling little more than a disconnected witness of a poor narration.

Poorly directed, poorly cast, abysmally lit and acted, often to the extent that Griffin's message is lost in the morass. At times the director has taken such creative license as to change Griffin's character, adding nothing, distracting from the premise and in so doing disconnects the viewer from the protagonists world.This movie screams to be remade as the important bridge in cultural understanding that the book remains.


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