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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 <email@example.com>
This sequel to "In the Heat of the Night" will suffer in inevitable comparisons to its infinitely better predecessor. Instead of looking like a theatrical movie edited for television, "Mister Tibbs" looks suspiciously like a TV movie edited for theatrical release, with grainy photography, cheesy opening titles, and sets that look like they're made of plywood. The murder sequence has a glaring continuity error: the camera shows two hands choking the girl, then a shot of a hand reaching for a statuette, then a shot of the girl being choked with two hands again, and finally the statuette coming down for the fatal blow. Solving the case should be easy: find the only guy with three hands! But the shoddy production values can't completely obscure this film's considerable merits: namely, Sidney Poitier's performance as the cool detective determined to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, even if it implicates a friend. Martin Landau is also convincing as the do-gooder preacher-activist suspected of brutally murdering his prostitute girlfriend. In addition to being haunted by the case, Tibbs is conflicted about his home life, but the issues of race and Tibbs' barely concealed sense of social outrage are absent here. So is the complex murder mystery that made "In the Heat of the Night" so compelling.
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