When Harlem P.I. John Shaft first appeared on the movie scene, he was a “shut your mouth” detective to reckon with, a fact underscored by Isaac Hayes’ Oscar®-winning* Best Original Song (1971). Richard Roundtree plays the hard-hitting, street-smart title role in these signature “blaxploitation” films, hunting for a kidnap victim in Shaft (1971) and seeking a friend’s murderer in Shaft’s Big Score! – mixing it up with mob thugs each time. Finally, there’s Shaft in Africa (“He’s the Brother Man in the Motherland,” proclaimed ads), with our hero bringing down a slavery cartel.
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