SHAFT – among the jews

A BIG BLACK FIST STRIKES A BLOW HEARD ‘ROUND THE WORLD’.

“Diamond-hard… Relentless… The heaviest mother in town is on the prowl again … Equal parts of guts, wits and power… John Shaft whips it on the international underworld in a jewel of a caper, as wift, violent and unpredictable as any he’s ever known!”

A genuine “what the…?” moment a week or so back as I stood in yer typical hackernee commmunity centre and my eyes espied this little beauty amongst some mouldering paperbacks.

Tidyman wrote the first Shaft and the others. This seems to be the only one not made into a film, which I can undertstand well enough (imagine the pitch!). What I don’t get is why Tidyman thought this was a reasonable way of following up the first book… “Hmmm groundbreaking novel, movie to come. I know, why not do a 2nd book loosely based around corruption in the diamond trade, with Shaft getting hired by a load of hasidic jews?”

It’s not a bad read as pulp stuff goes, some good lovin’ and good fightin’, some funny bits (Shaft gets his office garishly redecorated by his girlfriend and it gives him migraines) and of course the godlike cool of the man himself. He remains the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks.

Ya damn right!

6 Comments

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  2. Points of information:

    Of the movies, Tidyman only wrote Shaft and Shaft’s Big Score. Shaft In Africa gives him a credit for creating the characters, but Tidyman had no personal input. The screenplay was written by the brilliantly named Striling Silliphant, who also wrote Village of The Damned, The Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno.

    Tidyman wrote seven Shaft novels. Shaft Among The Jews came between the two that were made into films. But, as you say, imagine the pitch.

    In full they are:

    Shaft (1970)
    Shaft Among the Jews (1972)
    Shaft’s Big Score (1972)
    Shaft Has a Ball (1973)
    Goodbye, Mr. Shaft (1973)
    Shaft’s Carnival of Killers (1974)
    The Last Shaft (1975)

    After the loss-making third movie Shaft In Africa, the franchise was then sold to TV, where seven 90 minute made-for-TV movies were shot for CBS Tuesday Night Movies retaining Roundtree in the title role. I’ve not seen any but I’m told they weren’t up to much, apparently they toned down the character a lot.

    1 The Enforcers October 9, 1973
    2 The Killing October 30, 1973
    3 Hit-Run November 20, 1973
    4 The Kidnapping December 11, 1973
    5 Cop Killer January 1, 1974
    6 The Capricorn Murders January 29, 1974
    7 The Murder Machine February 19, 1974

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