12 AUGUST 1972, Page 10


Below the belt

Christopher Hudson

After spaghetti Westerns come blackass thrillers, so called because their dialogue has a coprophiliac monotony even Luther would have found excessive. In Shaft's Big Score (' X' Empire) instructions are pared down to the minimum — " Git yo' ass outa here" (Please leave "); "I'll have yo' ass if you ain't careful" ("Don't be rude ); "Man you need plastic surgery, to get yo mouth from where yo' asshole is" (" That remark was quite uncalled-for "). And so it goes on, while the characters get thumped, layed or knocked off with the same, small-minded vigour they apply to their command of the English language. Following hard on the profits of Shaft, Gordon Parks has directed another fast, action-packed, meaningless gangster film. Richard Roundtree is Shaft, the Harlem detective who is above the law and can therefore sneer at both whitey and the fuzz, and still keep his black hide. This time his playmate turns out to be the sister of a racketeer and, small-time undertaker who gets blown out of the funeral home into one of his own coffins. Shaft investigates, scoring two chicks and six dead men. A typical sequence cuts between a nasty beating-up scene and a naked cabaret dancer writhing to music. The connection couldn't be more explicit. Like its interest level, the film's commercial motives are below the belt.

For The Love Of Ada (' A ') has had its release postponed, but is forgettable enough to be worth noting now before it evades recollection. It stars Irene Handl and Wilfred Pickles in a warm-hearted, simple-minded comedy about a gravedigger's wedding anniversary. A mixture of slap-and-tickle and Darby-and-Joan, it is aimed with devastating accuracy at northern provincial cinemas and ABCs in Brixton, Camberwell, Clapton, Eltham, Hackney, Holloway, Kensal Green, Leyton, Mile End, Neasden, Streatham and the Old Kent Road.