Shaft in Africa

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Shaft in Africa
Shaft in Africa.jpg
Original theatrical release poster by John Solie
Directed by John Guillermin
Produced by Roger Lewis
Written by Stirling Silliphant
Starring Richard Roundtree
Frank Finlay
Neda Arnerić
Vonetta McGee
Frank McRae
Music by Johnny Pate
Cinematography Marcel Grignon
Edited by Max Benedict
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • June 14, 1973 (1973-06-14)
Running time
112 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,395,000 (US/ Canada rentals)[1]

Shaft in Africa is a 1973 film directed by John Guillermin and is the third film in the blaxploitation trilogy of films starring Richard Roundtree as John Shaft. Stirling Silliphant wrote the screenplay.[2] The cost went up to $2,142,000, but the gross fell to $1,458,000. MGM quickly sold the property to television, but the television series was cancelled after just seven episodes.


At home in his New York City apartment, John Shaft is drugged with a tranquilizer dart, then kidnapped and persuaded by threats of physical force, the promise of money, and the lure of a pretty tutor to travel to Africa, assuming the identity of a native-speaking itinerant worker. His job is to help break a criminal ring that is smuggling immigrants into Europe then exploiting them. But the villains have heard that he is on his way.

Shaft must pass a test before being hired for the job; the test involves him surviving in a small, overheated room without water, and a floor covered in deep sand, mimicking the supposed conditions of Africa. Shaft covers himself with the sand, thereby avoiding heatstroke and winning the contract from his employer. Shaft must then embark upon a mission to infiltrate and destroy a human trafficking and slavery ring in West Africa and France.



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Critics gave the film lukewarm reviews. New York Times critic Roger Greenspun described the movie as good, with a fair amount of violence and sex, but cited the film being "less daring, less ethnically sophisticated, more antiseptic, more comfortably middle-class."[3][4] Review aggregation website critic Dennis Schwartz gave the film a B−, describing it as "crude and slight but simplistically made entertaining adventure story" that resembles a James Bond thriller.[5] Rotten Tomatoes retrospectively gives the film a rating of 50% based on reviews collected from 8 critics, with an average rating of 5/10.[6]


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