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Shaft (BD) [Blu-ray]
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"Hotter than Bond. Cooler than Bullitt," movie posters proclaimed. John Shaft was indeed a shut-your-mouth detective to reckon with, a fact emphasized from the film's start by Isaac Hayes' Academy Award-winning Best Original Song and Oscar-nominated score. Richard Roundtree plays the smart, tough, confident lead, a private investigator whose hunt for a kidnapped woman puts him in the middle of feuding syndicates. Gordan Parks directs from a screenplay that Ernest Tidyman (that same year's Oscar-winner for The French Connection) co-scripted from his own novel. John Shaft is an icon of change from an era of change. Today, Shaft still tells it like it is.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
As far as I know Shaft broke new ground as a movie starring a black man in 1971. Shaft was the perfect example of a rogue cop, taking orders from no one and tracking down the crooks no matter where they hid in the city.
Recommended for fans of Richard Roundtree and quality jazz.
Gunner February, 2008
Blaxploitation? That's like calling "Bullit" 'Cracker-jacking' [I rate Bullit a 2/5 stars] or 'The Godfather' "Wopploitation' [am Italian myself-so clearly my criticism is the asinine labeling of SHAFT as an "exploitation film" simply because a strong lead character is a black man-but he is FIRST a strong MAN]
I LOVE this film; saw it prior to teen years and was a wonderful "adrenaline pump" WITH A STORY. Violence? sure; gratuitous? no; the mean streets of Harlem are a turf war NOT driven by racial hatred but by MONEY [via heroin trade].
A unique [and I have never read it mentioned] is that this film is an "equal opportunity offender"; the mob-white crooks, want to sell heroin in New York turf and have to overpower the long-time "crime boss" of the area- "Bumpy", a black career criminal whose CV reads from the petty[numbers] to the Class A felony[murder], who besides being a "crook" has a downright nasty disposition-betraying local black activists [civil rights ala Malcom X "any means necessary youths] into fighting his "drug war" for him!! Caught in the "middle", Shaft negotiates a deal for all parties involved-"Bumpy" will pay $10,000 a man [a very 'on target' critique of the indemnity policy paid in Vietnam to American soldiers killed, 80% of whom were black] for "Ben's" activist "soldiers" to battle the mob. The "lie" revolved around Bumpy's daughter [Marcy] being nabbed by the mob-this was how Shaft [the black private (...)who is sex machine to all the chicks] was brought into the imbroglia in first place.Read more ›
All three SHAFT films presented as this triple feature are NOT the widescreen versions. Case cover lists them as "Full Frame."
So on with the DVD. The film itself is nicely letterboxed (I think for the first time), and while it's not made from the greatest print (there are a couple scratches), it's a perfectly acceptable presentation.
Extras include trailers for all three Shaft flicks . This is great--I wish Warner had done the same with their "Dirty Harry" DVD. (They did with the VHS version.) There's also a 1971-produced short "Making of" film and the option to view the movie in French (a surreal experience, to be sure.)
The cast and crew bios, however, are pretty meager, offering only a relatively complete portrait of Richard Roundtree. Where's Moses Gunn? Or Gordon Parks? The "Awards" option is pretty worthless as well, showing that the movie won the Oscar for "Best Original Song."
Oh, yes, and there's no commentary track with Director Parks as is described on the Amazon site. Forgivably, it's not mentioned on the DVD box, so this is probably just something that didn't pan out at the last minute.
It's still lots of fun, but not what it could have been.