Cinema: Why We Now Can't Dig Shaft

A black knight errant is transformed into a thug

If memory serves, I saw the original, Richard Roundtree version of Shaft in Jackson, Miss., with a group of college students who had volunteered for Charles Evers' quixotic campaign to become the first black Governor of the most racist state in the nation. Even by the standards of blaxploitation flicks it wasn't a great movie, but back in 1971 it seemed just right for the tumultuous times. The original Shaft wasn't merely "the private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks" or "the man who won't cop out when there's danger all about." Like Evers, he was a tough...

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