Melvin Van Peebles

Don’t Play Us Cheap

Don’t Play Us Cheap

Melvin Van Peebles’s film version of his own Tony Award–nominated Broadway musical is a bold blend of theater and nervy, New Wave–inflected cinematic invention. A cast of Black stage and screen luminaries including Esther Rolle, Mabel King, and Avon Long stars in this charmingly offbeat, fablelike fantasy in which a pair of mischief-making devil-bats dispatched by Satan assume human form in order to wreak havoc on a Saturday-night house party in Harlem—only to find their diabolical plan thwarted by their hosts’ infectious generosity of spirit. Staged with ebullience, the original blues- and gospel-infused songs by Van Peebles burst forth in a life-affirming celebration of Black joy, tenderness, resilience, and strength.

Film Info

  • United States
  • 1972
  • 102 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.66:1
  • English
  • Spine #1096

Available In

Collector's Set

Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films

Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films

Blu-ray Box Set

5 Discs


Don’t Play Us Cheap
Joe Keyes Jr.
Rhetta Hughes
Avon Long
Brother David
Esther Rolle
Miss Maybell
Nate Barnett
Harold Johnson/Rat
Frank Carey
Mr. Johnson/Cockroach
Joshie Jo Armstead
Mrs. Washington
George "Ooppee" McCurn
Mr. Washington
Mabel King
Mrs. Bowser
Robert Dunn
Mr. Bowser
Jay Van Leer
Mrs. Johnson
Thomas Anderson
Mr. Percy
Melvin Van Peebles
Written by
Melvin Van Peebles
Composed by
Melvin Van Peebles
Produced by
Melvin Van Peebles
Edited by
Melvin Van Peebles
Musical director
Harold Wheeler
Director of photography
Bob Maxwell
Scenic designer
Kert F. Lundell
Costume designer
Bernard Johnson