As Kim mentioned earlier today, filmmaker/writer/photographer Gordon Parks died Tuesday. As a result, I thought it was only fitting to post a photo from Shaft, Parks' most popular film. I have only ever seen clips from Shaft, and ought to rent and watch the whole movie.

A few years ago, I attended an event in which Joe Bob Briggs showed clips from the movies listed in his book Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed History. One of the movies was Shaft. Briggs noted that Parks had instructed Richard Roundtree (who plays the title character) never to look to the sides when he crossed a street in the film ... and kept the footage in which Roundtree was nearly hit by a cab. Briggs' essay on Shaft in the aforementioned book is worth reading and includes some good background on Parks, as well as commentary on the ways in which the movie affected the film industry, as well as the streets of New York.

Digging around the Web, I found a nice photo of Gordon Parks directing, although I decided to use a still from the movie here instead. I realize as I read his filmography that I watched his last film, a made-for-TV movie called Solomon Northrup's Odyssey, in a high-school history class. So I have seen one of his films after all, although I suspect it is somewhat different from Shaft. Maybe I should try seeing The Learning Tree first (although that movie is not currently available on DVD in the U.S.).
categories Features, Cinematical