Thursday, 24 August 2017

''In the Heat of the Night'' (1967 film)- Review

Directed by: Norman Jewison
Released: 1967
Country: United States

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Crime

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


When, one night, an industrialist is found murdered in Sparta, Mississipi, a policeman suspects Virgil Tibbs (played by Sidney Poitier), an African-American man who was waiting for a train at a nearby station. However, when it is revealed that Tibbs is actually a highly successful policeman from Philadelphia, the racist police chief, Gillespie (played by Rod Steiger), asks Tibbs to help him solve the case. Although initially reluctant, Tibbs eventually agrees to help Gillepsie, and in a town shadowed by racism, he manages to discover clues that will help him solve the mystery.

While ''In the Heat of the Night'' is an excellent mystery film- with clues surfacing from unexpected places, culminating in an unpredictable solution to the mystery- there is a great focus on the subject of racism. In spite of the fact that Tibbs is a well-known homicide expert, he is subjected to racial prejudice and racist remarks over and over again. You can see how humiliated and indignant he feels when he is suspected by the police of Sparta and when he is subjected to prejudice. His indignant response to a racist remark- ''They cal me Mr. Tibbs!''- is possibly one of the most famous quotes in film history. 

It is really sad the way he is often treated, but, no matter how indignant and humiliated he feels, he does not budge from his stance, from his determination to solve the puzzling, complicated mystery.

Another important character is, of course, Gillespie, played by Rod Steiger. Although initially unpleasant and prejudiced, he eventually learns to respect Tibbs and overcome his prejudices. Both Poitier and Steiger deliver excellent performances.

To sum it up, ''In the Heat of the Night'' is a very powerful film. Besides being an excellent mystery, it also explores a very important social issue.

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