Film Review – SHAFT (1971)

Shaft (1971; USA; Metrocolor; 100m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Gordon Parks; w. Ernest Tidyman, John D.F. Black; ph. Urs Furrer; m. Isaac Hayes.  Cast: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi, Christopher St. John, Gwenn Mitchell, Lawrence Pressman, Antonio Fargas, Arnold Johnson, Shimen Ruskin, Joseph Leon, Victor Arnold, Sherri Brewer, Rex Robbins, Camille Yarbrough, Margaret Warncke. Black private eye John Shaft is hired by a crime lord to find and retrieve his kidnapped daughter. From the opening shots of Roundtree’s Shaft strutting his way through Midtown Manhattan to the closing sequence of the daring rescue the film oozes style. Although relatively slow paced by today’s frenetic standards, but is punctuated by occasional bursts of violent action. With Isaac Hayes’ funky theme playing over the credits a movie icon was born. Based on the novel by Ernest Tidyman. Oscar Winner for Best Song. Followed by SHAFT’S BIG SCORE! (1972), SHAFT IN AFRICA (1973) and a series of seven TV Movies (1973-4). An updated sequel followed in 2000. [15]