BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Sheba, Baby (1975) - Blu-ray Review

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  • Film Details

  • Blu-ray Review

  • Trailer

Sheba Baby - Blu-ray Review

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2 beersOnce upon a time ago, Pam Grier – with her name proudly resting ABOVE the titles – could sell a movie. Hell, she WAS the movie. What a powerful time in movie history that was; an African-American woman selling an action flick. Such is the case with William Girdler's Sheba, Baby, a movie which has no reason to exist without the involvement of the always ready-to-go-steady Grier.

The always lovely and energetic Grier kicks high, aims low, and isn't afraid to pavement tackle the dudes who want her dead. She earned her reputation for being badass and it is here, in 1975's Sheba, Baby, that she proves she's better than the Blaxploitation do's and don'ts around her.

Grier's once again, like her Coffy role from two years before, riding the revenge circuit as Private investigator Sheba Shayne. After the loss of her father, Andy (Rudy Challenger), and the thorough trashing of his loan business, Sheba takes the law into her own hands and, alongside Brick Williams (Austin Stoker), goes after loan shark Pilot (D'Urville Martin) and his henchmen.

Yet when that fails to bring her any satisfaction, she sets her sights on mob kingpin Shark (Dick Merrifield) for an aquatic showdown between yacht and rowboat. Of course, Sheba is the victor. You can't sell a ticket without being able to root for her but, without much of the mojo that made her earlier work kick, Sheba, Baby is a genuine disappointment.

Filmed in Kentucky and situated in Girdler's hometown of Louisville, Sheba, Baby is the final film Grier made for American International Pictures. It is also, unfortunately, the weakest. This is due, in large part, to its PG rating. The family-approved message runs opposite to the foul-mouthed and sex-centered exploits of her previous offerings and its absence is abysmally noticeable. Without all that noise, this Blaxploitation offering simply lies there like a wounded and homeless dog.

With one memorable chase on foot through the Kentucky Fairgrounds, Sheba, Baby is more a history lesson in fashion than it is a movie with substance. The film arrives on Blu-ray this week courtesy of Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group.

Sheba Baby - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime:
90 mins
Director
: William Girdler
Writer:
William Girdler
Cast:
Pam Grier, Austin Stoker, D'Urville Martin
Genre
: Action | Crime
Tagline:
Queen Of The Private Eyes
Memorable Movie Quote: "Shit, you can't kick no shadow, bitch! Catch me!"
Distributor:
American International Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 26, 1975
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 9, 2016
Synopsis: A Chicago private detective returns back home to Louisville, Kentucky, to help her father fight mobsters.

Sheba Baby - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 9, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: LPCM Mono
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD)
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, the film arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group. There is a solid contrast and even the colors appear brighter than before. Skin tones are solid and the details in some of the period clothing that Grier wears will bring a to your face. While there is ZERO depth to many of the shots and some dirt specks still pop up, the film – at least here in the States – has never looked better. There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray release: English LPCM 1.0.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Armed with two separate commentaries, it isn't hard to imagine that the supplemental items are better than the film itself. The informative commentaries are provided by producer and screenwriter David Sheldon and Patty Breen, webmaster of WilliamGirdler.com. Both explore different aspects of the film and are highly informative concerning the writing of the movie and the overall style of the picture.

Special Features:

Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group go above and beyond the call of duty and give the picture an importance that it, in reality, probably doesn't really have. Along with a reversible cover and a 14-page essay covering the making of the movie, there is a new 12-minute video covering Grier's work with AIP, a new interview with the writer/producer of the movie, a gallery, and a trailer. Good stuff.

  • Pam Grier: The AIP Years (12 min)
  • Sheldon, Baby (16 min)
  • Gallery
  • Trailer

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