© 1972 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.
US: Bantam edition published 7th August 1972 (0-552-09072-7) [paperback]; 176pp
UK: Corgi edition published 20th October 1972 (0-552-09072-7) [paperback]; 170pp
He’s jazzing the underworld again… hunting half-a-million big ones buried by a dead undertaker… standing six feet tall in the middle of a black-and-white mafia war… taking on all comers, from the Mob’s meanest headbusters to a lean black widow with a loving sting… he’s big, beautiful, black – and he’s back… the baddest mother ever made of muscle and ice, John Shaft!
JOHN SHAFT, Private Investigator
GUS MASCOLA, Brooklyn based gangster
KNOCKS PERSONS, Harlem based gangster
ALBERT J. KELLY, Cal Asby’s partner
ARTHUR SHARRETT, Manhattan based gangster
DET SGT PETE BOLLIN, NYPD Queens
ARANA ASBY, Cal Asby’s widow
GAIL SHARRETT, daughter of Arthur Sharrett
RITA TOWNE, Kelly’s mistress
WILLY, Knocks Persons’ bodyguard
ANDY PASCAL, Mascola’s hood
JOE RIP, Mascola’s hood
JERRY LONGO, Mascola’s hood
TONY FOGLIO, Mascola’s hood
SAL LONGO, Mascola’s hood
JUNIOR JOHNSON, Asby-Kelly collector
CAPTAIN SAMSON, NYPD Queens
CALVIN MONROE ASBY, co-owner Asby/Kelly Insurance and Funeral Home
ROLLIE NICKERSON, part-time actor/barman
LT. VIC ANDEROZZI, NYPD 17th Precinct
DONALD FOREST, cleaner at Asby-Kelly
REVERAND ANDREW BLAKE, reverend at Asby’s funeral
- Screenplay written between October and January 1972.
- The novel is set in January 1972.
- The third book in the series is actually Tidyman’s novelisation of his own screenplay for the second movie, Shaft’s Big Score!
- The paperback novelisation was due to be published in May 1972, ahead of the film. However, a disagreement over royalties between Tidyman and MGM along with his partners in Shaft Productions, led to publication being postponed.
- Tidyman’s adaptation varies in a number of ways from the final version that was seen on screen and is therefore more representative of Tidyman’s vision for the story.
- Knocks Persons makes his second and final appearance in the series.
Shaft was bored, sleepy.Some people felt like eagles at thirty-nine thousand feet, rushing across a curly blanket of cloud cover. They felt free, excited. He only suffered a pain in the ass from sitting three and a half hours in the same seat.
(to Bollin) “There’s nothing he probably won’t do,” Anderozzi said, “To you or for you – depending whose side he’s on. Sometimes I wanna kill him. Other times, he’s straighter than most people I’ve got on the squad here.” (Chapter 7)
The book is a more cohesive package than the movie. Whilst it echoes some of the themes covered in SHAFT, notably its gangster versus gangster basis, SHAFT’S BIG SCORE! is a fast-moving and entertaining read, which joins the first two books in the series as being the most representative.
“…fun read with great dialogues, cool slang and some hilarious one-liners. But it does get a bit repetitive and dull towards the end as there’s 100+ pages gap between the initial killings and the final bloodbath.” – Alpha-60 Books
“This is probably the best written of the books, but it doesn’t have the same manic energy some of the later entries would have.” – Scott Adams, Teleport City, 7th June 2005