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Encyclopedia > Shaft (1971 film)
Shaft

Shaft movie poster
Directed by Gordon Parks
Produced by Joel Freeman
Written by Ernest Tidyman (novel & screenplay)
John D.F. Black
Starring Richard Roundtree
Music by Isaac Hayes
J. J. Johnson
Distributed by MGM
Release date(s) July 2, 1971 (USA)
Running time 100 min.
Language English
Followed by Shaft's Big Score
Shaft in Africa
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile

Shaft is a 1971 Academy Award winning film directed by Gordon Parks. An action film that has elements of film noir, it tells the story of a black private detective, John Shaft, who travels through Harlem and to the Italian mob in order to find the missing daughter of a black mobster. It stars Richard Roundtree as Shaft, Moses Gunn as Bumpy Jonas, Charles Cioffi as Lt. Vic Androzzi, Christopher St. John as Ben Buford, and Gwenn Mitchell and Lawrence Pressman in smaller roles. The movie was adapted by Ernest Tidyman and John D. F. Black from Tidyman's 1971 novel of the same name. Image File history File links This image is of a DVD cover, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher of the DVD or the studio which produced the movie in question. ... Gordon Parks at Civil Rights March on Washington, 1963. ... Ernest Tidyman (January 1, 1928 - July 14, 1984) was a Cleveland-born American author and screenwriter, best known for his novels featuring the African-American detective John Shaft. ... John D.F. Black is a writer of television and movies. ... Richard Roundtree Richard Roundtree (born July 9, 1942 in New Rochelle, New York) is an African American actor and hero famous for portraying John Shaft in the film Shaft (1971) and in its two sequels: Shafts Big Score in 1972, and Shaft in Africa in 1973. ... For the American arctic explorer, see Isaac Israel Hayes Isaac Lee Hayes (born August 20, 1942, in Covington, Tennessee) is an American soul and funk singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger, and actor best known as the voice of Chef on the Emmy-winning animated sitcom South Park. ... J. J. Johnson, in about the mid-1960s J. J. Johnson (born James Louis Johnson) in Indianapolis, Indiana, (January 22, 1924 - elements of both classical and jazz music. ... MGM logo Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or MGM, is a large media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of cinema and television programs. ... is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... See also: 1970 in film 1971 1972 in film 1970s in film years in film film // Events February 8 - Bob Dylans hour long documentary film, Eat the Document, premieres at New Yorks Academy of Music. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Shafts Big Score, released in 1972, is the second film in the trilogy in which actor Richard Roundtree starred as the private-eye, John Shaft. ... Shaft in Africa, released in 1973, is the third film in the trilogy of films that starred actor Richard Roundtree as John Shaft. ... See also: 1970 in film 1971 1972 in film 1970s in film years in film film // Events February 8 - Bob Dylans hour long documentary film, Eat the Document, premieres at New Yorks Academy of Music. ... Although he never won an Oscar for any of his movie performances, the comedian Bob Hope received two honorary Oscars for his contributions to cinema. ... Gordon Parks at Civil Rights March on Washington, 1963. ... This still from The Big Combo (1955) demonstrates the visual style of film noir at its most extreme. ... John Shaft is a fictional character created by screenwriter/novelist Ernest Tidyman as a sort of African-American answer to Ian Flemings James Bond. ... Richard Roundtree Richard Roundtree (born July 9, 1942 in New Rochelle, New York) is an African American actor and hero famous for portraying John Shaft in the film Shaft (1971) and in its two sequels: Shafts Big Score in 1972, and Shaft in Africa in 1973. ... Moses Gunn (October 2, 1929 – December 16, 1993) was an American actor. ... Charles Cioffi (also credited as Charles M. Cioffi) is an American television actor. ... Lawrence Pressman (born July 10, 1939 in Cynthiana, Kentucky, USA) is an actor, probably best known for roles on Doogie Howser, M.D., Ladies Man, a recurring role on Profiler, and as the titular character on Mulligans Stew. ... Ernest Tidyman (January 1, 1928 - July 14, 1984) was a Cleveland-born American author and screenwriter, best known for his novels featuring the African-American detective John Shaft. ... John D. F. Black is a writer, producer, and director of television and films from the 1950s to the 1980s, best known for his work on Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. ...


The movie is widely considered a prime example of the blaxploitation genre. Shaft (1971) Blaxploitation is a film genre that emerged in the United States in the early 1970s when many exploitation films were made that targeted the urban African American audience; the word itself is a portmanteau of the words “black” and “exploitation. ...

Contents

Box office and Academy Awards

The film was a surprising and runaway box-office success, grossing $12 million. The budget was only $1,125,000. It won an Academy Award for Best Music, Song for Isaac Hayes for "Theme from Shaft". It was nominated for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score. Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremony in the world. ... The Academy Award for Best Song is one of the awards given to people working in the motion picture industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; nominations are made by Academy members who are songwriters and composers. ... For the American arctic explorer, see Isaac Israel Hayes Isaac Lee Hayes (born August 20, 1942, in Covington, Tennessee) is an American soul and funk singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger, and actor best known as the voice of Chef on the Emmy-winning animated sitcom South Park. ... Theme from Shaft, written and recorded by Isaac Hayes in 1971, is the soul- and funk-style theme song to the film Shaft. ... The Academy Award for Original Music Score is presented to the best substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer. ...


Plot

The story begins with a shot of Shaft emerging from the New York City subway. As he walks the streets of Manhattan, we see him encounter various elements that were present in 1970s New York, the aggressive cabbie, as well as the neighborhood "salesman" (who attempts to sell Shaft a stolen watch). Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... “Mass Transit” redirects here. ...


Principal dialogue begins when Shaft enters his neighborhood shoe shine parlor where the groundwork for the plot begins to be established through a conversation between Shaft and Cole (the shoe shine man).


Cole: "A couple of dudes came in here looking for you today..."


Shaft: "Know them?"


Cole: "Not by name..."


Later in the conversation Cole warns Shaft of potential danger.


Shaft: "Is that all?"


Cole: "Oh, they had heat on them. The dude in the funky plaid coat held his coat tight, you dig? Had some heavy iron in his belt..." Firearms redirects here. ...


The scene progresses to Shaft leaving the shoe shine parlor and being confronted by Lt. Vic Androzzi. By the interaction between them, its obvious that they know each other. Vic strongly suggests that they go meet "downtown" to discuss some things. Shaft quickly responds with "I got an office..."


Once Shaft reaches his office lobby he sees the guy in the "funky plaid coat" standing at the front counter seemingly waiting on something. Shaft makes a quick move to the back of the building and comes up behind him and disarms him while taking him upstairs to question him. On the way up, the guy in the "funky plaid coat" refuses to give up any information as to who he is and why he is there. Upon entering Shafts office, a fight ensues between Shaft, the "funky plaid coat" man and his accomplice who is sitting at Shaft's desk. During the course of the fight, the man in the "funky plaid coat", is thrown out of Shaft's office window, falling to his death on the street below.


Shaft questions the accomplice and finds out the neighborhood hoodlum, Bumpy Jonas is looking for him. Shaft is taken downtown for questioning by Vic and tells Vic that he is going to find out what's going on and contact Vic in a couple of days.


Shaft and Bumpy finally get in contact with each other after which, Bumpy comes to Shaft's office with Willie, his right hand man. Bumpy finally states his reason for looking for Shaft. Someone has kidnapped his daughter. Bumpy steers Shaft in the direction of a group of Black Nationalists named "The Lumumbas", led by a guy names Ben Buford. When Shaft shows apprehension in taking the job, stating that Bumpy's version of events "don't lay right", Bumpy breaks down and pleads for him to find her. Shaft finally relents and states his price for the job ($50 an hour, plus expenses, and no questions on how I spend it) $, the dollar sign, is primarily used to represent currencies: Many different dollars Many different pesos Different escudos The Brazilian real The Tongan paanga The Nicaraguan córdoba $ may also be: $ (film), also known as Dollars A sigil (computer programming) Category: ...


The remainder of the movie shows Ben and Shaft linking up at Ben's group's headquarters (where its revealed that they were "in the movement" together back in the day), where Ben's other members get murdered by unknown assailants (along with the fingerman that followed Shaft from a hot dog stand where Shaft and Vic were meeting earlier in the evening). Shaft being clued in by Vic after the shooting, that Shaft himself was the target of the shooting, not Ben as previously thought. Shaft is told that there are brewing tensions between the "uptown" hoods belonging to Bumpy Jonas and the "downtown" Mafioso, culminating with a couple of murders. Vic states that those who know, know its "hood against hood" on the inside, but the perception is black against white to the general public. He also show him some pics of two of the Mafioso guys that just got to New York. Vic pleads to Shaft to just clue him into whats going on (Vic already knew that Bumpy was looking for Shaft).


Shaft and Ben then meet Bumpy at his uptown office where Shaft ups the price for the job based on his new found info. Bumpy states that the reason for turning him on to Ben's is because Shaft is going to need an army to get his daughter back and "Ben's got one". After negotiations with Bumpy on a new price, they both leave his office.


Shaft retires to the neighborhood bar, aptly titled the "No Name Bar" which is across the street from Shaft's apartment in Greenwich Village. In the bar, he notices two guys in the bar from the pictures that Vic showed him. Shaft takes over the bar from the bartender, calls the cops without them knowing, and breaks a bottle of scotch over the head of one of the hoods when he spits in Shaft's face. The Washington Square Arch Greenwich Village (IPA pronunciation: ), also called simply the Village, is a largely residential area on the west side of downtown (southern) Manhattan in New York City named after Greenwich, London. ... Scotch is an obsolescent adjective meaning of Scotland. Common contemporary usage is Scottish or Scots in Britain but Scotch is still in contemporary use outside of England and Scotland. ...


Shaft takes home one of the ladies from the bar and she spends the night with him. The next morning he visits Vic and the two guys from the previous evening sets up a rendez vous with them for later in the day. When he gets back home, he wakes the woman up and as she leaves his place, she says "you know you're great in the sack, but afterwards, you're kind of shitty..." Shaft asks her to close the door on the way out and she tells him to "close it yourself, shitty..."


Vic comes in and tells Shaft that the room that he was in at the station house was bugged and has come to arrest him, if he was home. As Vic leaves, he stics his head in the door and screams "close it yourself, shitty!", and howls with laughter. Shaft and Ben get back together and meet up with at Cafe Reggio's to go see Marcy Jonas to make sure she's alive. Once there a gunfight ensues where two hoods get killed and Shaft takes a bullet in the shoulder. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


Upon getting medical attention for his bullet wound, Shaft sets up the final act. He tells Ben to round up his men and meet him at the hotel where Marcy is being held to prepare to get her back. He also calls Bumpy to tell him that his daughter is fine and hes going to need some taxicabs to meet him at the same hotel for the getaway. Alternative meaning: taxicab geometry. ...


Ben's men all dress as workers at the hotel (cooks, waiters, elevator operators, etc) as to not arouse suspicion. Shaft and one of Ben's guys go to the roof and get set up. Shafts plan is to cause a distraction with an explosive thrown through the window of Marcy's room while Ben and his men come down the hall and deal with the Mafia men as they leave their rooms.


The plan is successful, they spirit Marcy out of the hotel into one of the waiting taxicabs, as the others get away in the remaining cabs, while Shaft walks to a phonebooth to call Vic. Shaft tells him that "his case just busted wide open", to which Vic tells Shaft to close it for him. Shaft tells Vic that he wont and he says: "I guess you are gonna have to close it yourself...shitty!", and howls in laughter as the closing credits roll. Alternative meaning: taxicab geometry. ...


Sweetback connection

According to Melvin Van Peebles, the original production was of a white detective story, but after the success of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971), the original script was scrapped in favor of an adaptation of Ernest Tidyman's 1970 novel Shaft, which focused on an African-American detective.[1] Melvin Van Peebles, circa 2001, as seen in the documentary The Real Deal (What it Was. ... Sweet Sweetbacks Baadasssss Song was a 1971 independent film written, produced, scored, directed by, and starring Melvin Van Peebles. ... Ernest Tidyman (January 1, 1928 - July 14, 1984) was a Cleveland-born American author and screenwriter, best known for his novels featuring the African-American detective John Shaft. ...


Ernest Tidyman

Ernest Tidyman, who was white, was an editor at the New York Times prior to becoming a novelist. He sold the movie rights to Shaft by showing the galley proofs to the studio (the novel had not yet been published). Tidyman was honored by the NAACP for his work on the Shaft movies and books. Ernest Tidyman (January 1, 1928 - July 14, 1984) was a Cleveland-born American author and screenwriter, best known for his novels featuring the African-American detective John Shaft. ...


Sequels

Two sequels were made: Shaft's Big Score in 1972, and Shaft in Africa in 1973. These were followed by a series of TV movies starring Roundtree as Shaft on CBS during the 1973-1974 TV season. Shafts Big Score, released in 1972, is the second film in the trilogy in which actor Richard Roundtree starred as the private-eye, John Shaft. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Shaft in Africa, released in 1973, is the third film in the trilogy of films that starred actor Richard Roundtree as John Shaft. ... For the song by James Blunt, see 1973 (song). ... Shaft was a series of TV movies that aired along with Hawkins during 1973-74 television season on The New CBS Tuesday Night Movies. ... This article is about the broadcast network. ...


In 2000, a sequel was made featuring Samuel L. Jackson in the title role (see Shaft (2000 film)). Jackson plays the nephew of Richard Roundtree's character; Roundtree returns as John Shaft, still a private eye, trying to get his nephew to join him. The year 2000 in film involved some significant events. ... “Samuel Jackson” redirects here. ... Shaft is a 2000 movie that was directed by John Singleton. ... Richard Roundtree Richard Roundtree (born July 9, 1942 in New Rochelle, New York) is an African American actor and hero famous for portraying John Shaft in the film Shaft (1971) and in its two sequels: Shafts Big Score in 1972, and Shaft in Africa in 1973. ...


Quotes

Shaft: (drinking a cup of coffee in the shoe shine parlor) "Too much sugar this morning Cole..."


Cole: "Then don't drink it, baby..."


Vic Androzzi: "...Enough with the Black shit. (holding an inkpen up to Shaft's face) You ain't so black!"


Shaft: (holding a coffee cup to Vic's face) "...and you ain't so white either..."


Sgt Tom Hanlan: (to Vic about Shaft) "So what did he tell you?"


Vic Androzzi: "Nothing."


Sgt Tom Hanlan: "You gotta lean on that kind..."


Vic Androzzi: (disgusted) "You don't lean on that kind..."


National Film Registry

In 2000, the United States Library of Congress deemed the original film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full 2000 Gregorian calendar). ... Construction of the Thomas Jefferson Building, from July 8, 1888 to May 15, 1894. ... The National Film Registry is the registry of films selected by the United States National Film Preservation Board for preservation in the Library of Congress. ...


References

  1. ^ "Baadasssss is back!", article on the Observer, available here; last access 8 April 2007.

April 8 is the 98th day of the year (99th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ...

External links

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Shaft (1971 film)

 
 

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