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San Francisco Police Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs is called in to investigate when a liberal street preacher and political candidate is accused of murdering a prostitute. Tibbs is also battling domestic woes, including a frustrated wife and a rebellious adolescent son. Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sidney Poitier's career includes repeating his screen characters only twice in his career. The first one is Mark Thackerey, the caring and compassionate teacher in To Sir With Love and To Sir With Love II. Don't you just love the lack of imagination with sequels that started with The Godfather?
His second character was homicide detective Virgil Tibbs from In The Heat Of The Night. Rod Steiger may have copped the Oscar as the Mississippi sheriff there, but it was Sidney Poitier who made two sequels with his character.
I'd like to say the two sequels were as good as The Godfather ones, but they don't come even close to matching In The Heat Of The Night in quality. This film uses as its title the famous line from In The Heat Of The Night, They Call Me MISTER Tibbs and its more influenced by Bullitt than In The Heat Of The Night.
And not that well either. It's a routine police action drama in which homicide detective Virgil Tibbs is called on to investigate the murder of a hooker. She's an upscale working girl, working out of a building owned by Anthony Zerbe who's a sleaze-bag hood and who's got many criminal activities going. He's not looking for cops prowling around his apartment building because they might uncover things that he'd prefer stay hidden.
Martin Landau is in the film as both a client of the woman and a crusading minister who is leading a campaign for a home rule option proposition on the ballot in San Francisco. If you remember In The Heat Of The Night had Virgil Tibbs as a Philadelphia homicide detective. But apparently no one was terribly interested in continuity.
There's a Bullitt like car chase involving Ed Asner, another suspect in the woman's homicide that's nicely staged. And Poitier's character is given a home life with wife Barbara McNair and two small children.
But all in all They Call Me MISTER Tibbs really plays more like an inflated version of a Police Story episode.
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