Sheba Baby (1975)

Rated PG

Starring: Pam Grier, Austin Stoker, Rudy Challenger and D’Urville Martin

Rated: PG Action/Crime/Drama

Sheba Shayne (Pam Grier), a private detective, has to leave her business and partner in Chicago, Illinois to assist her father, Andy Shayne (Rudy Challenger) in her home city, Louisville, Kentucky.  Andy is an entrepreneur who owns his insurance company.  He is being threatened by local thugs commanded by mobster, Pilot (D’Urville Martin).  Pilot wants Andy to turn his business over to him.

Andy, who refuses to give up his business, doesn’t want his daughter involved.  However, she is equally adamant to protect him.  Assisting in her efforts is her former beau, Brick Williams (Austin Stoker), business partner to her father.  She, as a former policewoman, is warned by local law administrators about the dangers the Shayne family are facing.  Adding to the troubles are the demands of the “behind the scenes” boss, Shark (Dick Merrifield) for whom Pilot works. 

After several attacks, including a car explosion and a shoot-out at Andy’s business, Sheba has to decide … how far will she go to protect who she loves and pursue justice?

Sheba, Baby was panned by critics and their reasons extended from an underdeveloped plot and lack of chemistry between Grier and Stoker to poor shooting of action sequences and the sound of dialogue was off from the characters’ speech.

Building upon the success of Black “she-roes” she portrayed in Foxy Brown and Coffy, the presence of Pam Grier alone made it a hit for many viewers.  What also made the film favored was D’Urville Martin, who had garnered fans with his roles in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Legend of Nigger Charley, Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem. 

Unlike other Blaxploitation films, the soundtrack of Sheba, Baby was not very successful.  Created by Monk Higgins, it notably featured the title track, slickly sung by Barbara Mason, best known for her song, “Woman to Woman”.