THE WORLD OF SHAFT: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE NOVELS, COMIC STRIP, FILMS AND TELEVISION SERIES (2015) Review
Author: Steve Aldous
Synopsis: Mention Shaft and most people think of Gordon Parks’ seminal 1971 film starring Richard Roundtree in a leather coat, walking the streets of Manhattan to Isaac Hayes’ iconic theme music. But the black private dick who inspired the blaxploitation film genre actually made his debut on the printed page as the creation of a white novelist.
Ernest Tidyman was a seasoned journalist down on his luck when he decided to try his hand at fiction. Shaft was the result, giving Tidyman the break he was looking for. He went on to become an Academy Award winning screenwriter and respected film producer.
Based on extensive research of Tidyman’s personal papers, this book tells the story of Shaft from the perspective of his creator. The author provides new insight and analysis of the writing of the Shaft novels, as well as the production of the films and TV series. First-ever coverage of the forgotten Shaft newspaper comic strip includes previously unseen artwork. Shaft’s recent return to the printed page is also covered.
Review: I was lucky enough to recieve a copy of this book and get to review it. As the new Shaft movie was due for release I thought I should scrub up my knowledge on the ‘Shaft’ universe. For me Shaft has always been an overlooked character. I mean we had three original movies starring Richard Roundtree and then we had a short lived series, then it was dead air, Roundtree didn’t reprise the character again until the year 2000 In a reboot where Samuel L Jackson took the lead and Roundtree had a a mere cameo. I loved the first two Shaft movies, they were proper thrillers and oozed coolness and Roundtree owned the character. Shaft was the one bad motha we would all try to re-enact. The third movie was enjoyable but it had nothing on the first movies. But with all my love for Shaft I never knew that the character had a full book series. I tried to track some down, but it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack and those that I did find are heavily priced.
Steve Aldous came to everyone’s rescue with helping us get a handle on the ‘Shaft Universe’ everything from the character being written on paper as a concept too then a very popular book character and finally onto a iconic movie/TV character with an incredibly memorable theme tune. The amount of time and effort put into the book is clearly unreal and you can see the passion and love Steve has for the character. No stone goes unturned. Steve gives us an insight into author Ernest Tidyman’s struggles through personal and professional life and also how Shaft ce into his along with insight into what ultimately lead Tidyman to kill the character of Shaft off.
I would fully recommend this to all lovers of the Shaft movies and all movie buffs, this book is packed with stories, back stories, trivia and so much more!! I would love to read another book like this!!