Sheba, Baby stars Pam Grier as Sheba Shayne, Baby, whose father, Andy (Rudy Challenger), Baby, runs a loan company, and he’s being hassled out of the business by bad guys. Someone needs to shake them down. Perhaps a new girl in town, Baby, or one who used to live round there but has returned, Baby.
(That ‘Baby’ talk is probably getting annoying so I’ll stop)
With Pam Grier often looking hotter than the sun, as Sheba, she’s a private eye, going around town kicking bottom until she gets to the bottom of who’s trying to wreck her father’s business and endanger his life. Will she succeed? Well, how does anyone get any work done, for the good guys or even the bad guys carrying on with their nefarious business, with the cool retro music blaring out? I’d be grooving on down 24/7!
While there are a couple of baddies with names such as Pilot (D’Urville Martin) and Shark (Dick Merrifield), they’re a little wooden, but my favourites were Walker (Christopher Joy), the local neighbourhood fence-cum-“travelling pawn shop” who struts around like a modern-day Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, and one of Pilot’s stooges, whose name I didn’t catch, who stole one scene by repeatedly saying “That’s right”.
By modern standards it’s a bit daft, but if you like a silly cult thriller that doesn’t take itself in any way seriously, then this is for you, and it got better as it went along as the daft action began and then continued at a regular and reasonable pace.
I’m so out of the loop with Pam Grier’s movies, so I need to catch up on films such as Coffy and Foxy Brown. If there are any afficianados of Ms Grier who want to suggest others, please do so in the comments below.
It’s sad to learn that director William Girdler was just 30 years old when he died, in January 1978, in a helicopter crash, having made 9 films in 6 years.
The film is presented in the original 1.85 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, and while the picture is a little soft at times and the print occasionally has some crackles in it, bear in mind that this is all down to the original print and not this remastering. Thankfully, any issues aside, when everything is at its most sharp, this film still looks glorious in 1080p HD and is as stunning as Ms Grier when you realise it’s a 41-year-old movie. I’m watching on my Panasonic 50″ Plasma TV with a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
When it comes to the audio, the film was originally shot in mono, and so groove on down in mono!
Taken from the Collector’s booklet about the video and audio transfer:
- “‘Sheba, Baby’ is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with mono audio. The transfer was made from a new 35mm Interpostive and the original 35mm mono DME printmaster mag. The HD transfer was completed on a Spirit DataCine at Deluxe Digital Media in Sherman Oaks. Ron Klein managed the project on behalf of MGM.”
The extras are as follows:
- Sheldon, Baby (15:16): An interview with David Sheldon, producer and co-writer the story and screenplay with the director, talks about his career including the aforementioned Pam Grier movies plus Slaughter and Devil Times Five.
- Pam Grier: The AIP Years (11:54): A piece from Chris Poggiali, film historian from Temple of Schlock about how Ms Grier started off at AIP as a switchboard operator before being picked out by brothers Roger Corman and Gene Corman, and then Jack Hill who directed her in a number of films including Coffy and Foxy Brown. He then summarises her career to date. This piece was filmed in October 2015, and I expect the first piece is similarly recent. Both are very engaging.
- Trailer (1:54): Very close to the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio. The quality of this is clearly of its time, but it gives a nice nostaligic effect.
- Gallery: 18 images, mostly stills of Pam Grier and lobby cards.
- Collector’s booklet: A 16-page booklet featuring new writing on the film by Patty Breen, webmaster for williamgirdler.com.
- Reversible sleeve: featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips.
- Audio commenties: Two here: One with the aforementioned David Sheldon, moderated by critic Nathaniel Thompson, and and one with Patty Breen.
Subtitles are in English, the main menu features clips from the film set to the end credits music – Barbara Mason – She Did It, and there are a bog-standard 12 chapters to the film.
Sheba, Baby is out now on Blu-ray/DVD Double Pack Limited Edition and check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot.
Running time: 90 minutes
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: February 8th 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio (Mono)
Widescreen: 1.85:1 (35mm)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: William Girdler
Producer: David Sheldon
Screenplay and story: William Girdler and David Sheldon
Music: Alex Brown and Monk Higgins
Sheba Shayne: Pam Grier
Brick Williams: Austin Stoker
Pilot: D’Urville Martin
Andy Shayne: Rudy Challenger
Shark: Dick Merrifield
Walker: Christopher Joy
Phil: Charles Kissinger
Hammerhead: Charles Broaddus
Killer: Maurice Downes
Whale: Ernest Cooley
Racker: Edward Reece
Waldo: William Foster Jr
Tank: Bobby Cooley
Fin: Paul Grayber
Tail: Sylvia Jacobson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.