Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Short Review of "In The Heat of the Night"

A racially-charged murder mystery starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, this 1967 movie seems a world from today but is a stark reminder of just how recently in history racial equality was a distant dream for many people. Sidney Poitier stars as Virgil Tibbs, a homicide detective sent to a sleepy town where black people just aren't expected to hold any authority. The local sherrif (Steiger) immediately tries to get Tibbs to leave town, aided by a large majority of the local populace; however the widow of the recently deceased wands Tibbs on the case. Eventually the sherrif comes to respect the detective, after a fashion at least, and Tibbs also learns something about his own attitudes.

It would have been a good detective movie anyway, but the racial tension with no punches pulled in its treatment of the issue make it a classic. Poitier and Steigers are both superb, and the supporting cast do a fine job. Directed by Norman Jewison, this remains a classic and at the time of writing is ranked at #240 in IMDB's Top 250 Movies of All Time. An excellent film whichever way you look at it.




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