They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970) Poster

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In The Heat Of San Francisco
bkoganbing19 April 2008
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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Look for the three-handed murderer!
mdbuckingham2 July 2001
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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Routine police detective movie despite Poitier repeating role of Virgil Tibbs
turk_18215 July 2002
This Virgil Tibbs is closer to the California-based detective essayed by John Ball in his books. The mystery is worthwhile, and Poitier's performance is masterful. But the writing is pedestrian, the pacing too slow, and the resolution ultimately unsatisfactory. I can give this no better than a 6 out of 10.
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Lovably kitsch Poitier folly
The_Movie_Cat26 August 1999
With its kipper ties, flared trousers and proficient - yet dated - music, They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! is perhaps the Poitier film that has aged least gracefully. While its prequel, In The Heat of the Night, was borne from the epitome of cool that was the sixties, here the seventies nurtured this film, which lends it a kitsch value, as well as the air of a t.v. movie. Though these elements - such as seeing the funky theme start up to the tune of Sidney clocking someone with a telephone, or Ed Asner (tv's Lou Grant) "drive" a car to a filmed backdrop - make it endearing and a must-see for a light-hearted Saturday night.

A world away from the usual Sidney vehicle we have here a trawl through San Francisco's red light districts, to which the family elements - though the most critically attacked - actually provide effective light. Also unusual is the amount of sexual tone Sidney is here allowed to display. Yet whereas in the former film Poitier was the big town Lieutenant working in small-town Mississippi, here he is on his own territory, thus shaving the film of one of its dimensions. Without Steiger to bounce off, what depth the script provides his character second time around comes from his wife and children, most notably his son. After slapping the boy into submission, Poitier hugs him, mourning the fact that "you're not perfect . and I can't forgive you." Not a perfectly-formed film by any means, this one does improve on repeated viewing, and the majority of ill feeling does seem to be down to disappointment. After all, how does one make a sequel to a movie that's hailed as a classic?
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Vastly Inferior Sequel
BJJManchester11 May 2007
A disappointing follow-up to IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT,one of the most seminal films of the 60's,THEY CALL ME MISTER TIBBS! utilises perhaps the previous film's most famous line of dialogue,but all comparisons should end there.The personality clash between Rod Steiger and Sidney Poitier that produced so many vivid and memorable dramatic scenes previously(albeit laced with some humour) is totally missing in this much inferior sequel.Poitier has rightly been praised for bringing dignity and respect to the black man on the American Screen after decades of humiliating and degrading stereotypes,but he looks oddly dispirited here with middling direction,an unexciting plot,and a dullish script.The inclusion of some fine character actors(Anthony Zerbe,Juano Hernandez,Ed Asner,Jeff Corey)is one of the film's few minor points of merit,and Poitier and Martin Landau do their best to make their scenes together have some dramatic impact,but they and others can only do so much with a somewhat banal script.The film may have been better had some pointless and unnecessary domestic scenes involving Tibbs' family(particularly his son) been removed,and which are basically irrelevant to the plot and seem to have been tagged on merely to add extra footage.

The film's best aspect is the musical score by Quincy Jones.Jones' funky interjections are most welcome,and indeed improve the quality of many sequences;it almost seems a touchstone for future blaxsploitation movie scores that were to soon follow,starting with the following year's SHAFT.The film is not totally unwatchable,but a disappointingly listless follow-up to the classic that preceded it.

Rating:5 out of 10.
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A disappointing sequel and disappointing detective thriller
John Wayne Peel14 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
All right! I admit that following a masterpiece like "In The Heat Of The Night" is a daunting task to say the least, but since this is based on a series of detective books by author John Ball, one shouldn't expect racial politics all the time.

The detective series does not use the character of Virgil Tibbs either in film or novel to exploit racial differences, although being an intelligent black man in a position of authority opened him to a certain amount of scrutiny by whites who saw him as less than their equal. But the additional character elements in the books are never utilized in any of the three motion pictures (or in the latter television series.) Tibbs was also an expert at martial arts and fluent in Asian languages, but this never popped up at any point in either form which is just as well. That might have worked in popular fiction in the 1960s, but it adds nothing to the storylines.

Still, this movie as purely a detective story is lame (in my opinion) and gives him to the usual liberal stereotypes of Hollywood at this time. I won't give a spoiler, but this film's conclusion to the mystery is neither shocking nor satisfying.

Such additions of actors like Martin Landau seem wasted here in a script that does not challenge either the audience or the actor. Better to see the third film in this limited series if you want a good action thriller.
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Sorry Sidney, This Sequel Was Bad
eric2620032 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed Sidney Poitier's performance in "In the Heat of the Night". But this sequel/spin-off was unsettling and uncalled for at best. The story editing was extremely weak and at times I found it hard to take any care for the characters, even the great Virgil Tibbs himself. The plot was absolutely pitiful it's like an extended version of a bad episode of the TV series "The Streets of San Francisco", and yet that was a good show with hit or miss episodes.

The character flaws provided by Virgil Tibbs have no connection to the ones in "In the Heat of the Night". In the previous film, he was a veteran cop from Philadelphia, not married, had no offspring, nada! We turn to 1970, he's now living in San Francisco, married with three teenage kids and claims he's been a S.F.P.D. for the past twelve years. What gives?

Also we see African Americans and White Americans coexisting like there never was a Civil Rights Movement. I'll accept if it's just a ploy for people to get over it and forget about the past. But it still existed and not every American at the time was had adjusted to it. I also feel bad for Ed Asner who had a thankless role was a suspect running from a crime, not the one in the main story, but for committing a philandering act on his wife. The car chase depicted here was absolutely abysmal.

Tibbs is often in dragging scenes with his mannequin partner who remains mute and smokes like a chimney. In fact with the exception of Tibbs, all the other cops are just paper dolls. The killer in the movie's reason for killing the hooker has no sense of purpose and his personality doesn't connect well either.

Also Tibbs' catchphrase is never once uttered in this movie at all. Poitier doesn't have the drive that his iconic character portrayed when he co-starred with Rod Steiger. In the previous film, Poitier was the most electrifying character in that movie. But in this movie spin-off, he is a shell of his former character. Sidney let me ask you, why did you agree to do this movie? If it was for the money, then I answered my own question.
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Typical 1970's crime thriller with atypical great acting
monsieurdl20 February 2008
Despite the flaws noted above with regards to continuity and occasional lapses in writing, the movie is saved by the great acting provided by Sidney Poitier, Anthony Zerbe, Martin Landau, and Ed Asner (despite his short appearance). Poitier delivers the same riveting performance he did as in the successful In the Heat of the Night, adding a family life that is pretty typical for a father who is often away from his children. Anthony Zerbe is a shade better, however, in his role as sleazy landlord Rice Weedon. Zerbe was tailor-made for this role, as his ability to play bad guys is utilized perfectly. Martin Landau as the reverend does what is expected and more, adding a human quality that is even throughout. Ed Asner as the nervy manager takes everything that he had (not very much) and ran with it, making his character believable. I would recommend this movie highly to anyone who enjoys movies of this era and genre- particularly if you are fond of gritty, down in the mud reality.
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A great movie by a great actor
MovieCriticMarvelfan28 March 2001
Starring Sidney Landau, Martin . McNair, Barbara (Tibbs Wife), "They Call me Mr. Tibbs is the sequel (sort of ) to `In the Heat of the Night'

I saw this on turnerclassicmovies, and it's one of the most entertaining 70's movies I've seen and you've probably never heard of it.

I can't blame you though, the 70's had a lot of `B' movies that only revolved around drugs, violence and had no plots and bad actors but this movie is one of the best movies made during that era.

The great element of this movie is Poitier himself who resembled the ideal black man- Strong, Intelligent, and Independent. As pointed out in his biography Poitier grew dirt poor in Miami and worked menial jobs, often sleeping in bus terminals. Then he started auditioning in theaters until he eventually got acting parts.

In fact actors like Denzel Washington idolized Poitier growing up, though with all respect to Mr. Washington, he didn't really break down the color barrier as did Sidney. Poitier has broken down color barriers in films like "In the Heat of The Night", "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner", and " The Defiant Ones (with Tony Curtis)" He proved that a minority actor can be at the same acting level, if not better than his white counterparts. In fact many of his roles, had him acting against white bigots like "In the Heat of The Night" and "No way out."

Now on to the opinion.

Sidney Poitier reprises his role as lieutenant Virgil Tibbs from `In The Heat of The Night', this time though, Tibbs is working in San Francisco trying to solve the murder of a prostitute called Miss Joy.

Tibbs approaches the crime scene and like a good detective makes detail of everything that could provide a clue to as to who murdered Miss Joy.

This is a great detective movie, this movie gives you the important aspects of what a good detectives looks for in solving a case.

Fingerprints, pieces of lint on a new carpet, searching for marks on the victim and above all looking into the history of the victim are all clues that Tibbs uses to find the killer.

The suspects are: Reverend Logan Sharpe: Tibbs best friend for the past 18 yrs who is campaigning for a special

proposition for the schools. The role is played here by the legendary Martin Landua who has appeared in over 50 movies or so in his lifetime. While not the charismatic actor, Landua plays his roles perfectly. In touch with the times of the 70's, Landua's role called for a political preacher who cares about the community and wants to give control back to the people. Pay close attention to the speech he gives while supporting his proposition. The words he says are words that most community leaders would use. Also the words he says are bitter sweet too because all the problems he points out are still going in today's school: Better teachers, teachers who care, rights for the less fortunate, etc.

Woody Garfield a real estate man, is the other suspect ,played by the legendary Ed Asner who first became a celebrity through the Mary Tyler Moore Show and other hit tv shows and movies. He plays a real estate man who lends his property to pimps like Mr. Weedon.

Mr. Weedon is a pimp who lives on the same apartment where Miss Joy was killed.

Without revealing too much (since I want you to see this great film the movie keeps you guessing as to who the killer is. Also there are some decent action scenes where Tibbs (resembling Shaft) beats up the white drug dealers who try to interfere with his investigation.

On top of that the film depicts the life of a hardworking black man who protects his family but is tough on them if need be.

For instance, in one gripping scene, Tibbs must discipline his son , Andy Tibbs, for hitting his sister and for not cleaning his room.

Tibbs gives his son a chance to make up for what he has done by giving him the opportunity to clean his room,but he doesn't do it. Tibbs slaps him on the face because he knows that his son, has not learned to respect authority. His son starts crying but still doesn't follow his father's orders. Tibbs slaps him again until he gets the message. A very gritty, tough, great police crime drama movie.

A great inside look into the abilities of Sidney Poitier.

Highly Recommended.

I ain't revealing anymore because one person commented on my last review that I gave too much info.
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Not so much heat in the night...
jc-osms24 June 2010
Has to be a mistake to take the title of a sequel from the best remembered line of the originating movie - it's almost an admission that the new film can't come up with a comparable phrase. The portent is true, I fear, as Sydney Poitier reprises his Virgil Tibbs role in another would-be tough, adult, socially aware murder-thriller, but already the law of diminishing returns is applying and so "Mr Tibbs" is inferior to its predecessor in almost every way.

In fact it looks and feels like nothing more than a harder-edged TV crime show of the time, no better or worse than say "Ironside", fired as it is by a fine, occasionally quirky Quincy Jones soundtrack and replete with our man's personal problems to flesh out the character. This small-screen feel is exacerbated by the appearance of TV stalwarts Martin Landau, Ed Asner and Anthony Zerbe and it's fair to say the film never rises above the heights of a better than average TV cop-show episode.

It's biggest failing of course is the lack of dramatic tension which existed so memorably between Poitier's proud, methodical coloured detective and Rod Steiger's opinionated, redneck workaday sheriff in "...Heat of The Night". Here the film is centred entirely on Poitier and good actor as he is, his unerring instinct and judgement palls as the film progresses, whilst his relationship with friend, do-good minister but murder suspect Landau, never really takes off either. Indeed the central "whodunnit" just isn't strong enough to drive the action on, whilst Tibbs' various interludes with his family slow down the action still further, especially the ho-hum scenes with his "difficult" son.

The film is dated of course by its politics and attitudes - no crime in that - but it doggedly fails to fly and in the end stays as little in the memory as even the best remembered episode of any Kojak / Columbo episode you care to mention. Waiting in the wings, of course was a different kind of black detective who was a sex-machine to all the chicks, to take the genre further - can you dig it!
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Not always better the second time around.
lastliberal22 July 2007
Love may be better the second time around, but movies usually aren't. There are exceptions, but this isn't one of them. Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) is back home and out of that hellhole in Mississippi, but the excitement of In the Heat of the Night is missing.

He is doing his thing as a detective; trying to solve a murder where the chief suspect is his preacher friend Logan Sharpe (Martin Landau). The problem is that Gordon Douglas is no Norman Jewison and his direction does not have any magic. The acting is good, but the movie just seems to plod along, switching between Tibbs' home problems (And, I have to mention, his child abuse regarding his son.) and the murder. The fast pace of Jewison's effort is sadly missing.

It's a fair murder mystery, but the pace makes it one to skip.
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This is the second of Virgil Tibbs series based on the role originated in the successful ¨In the heat of the night¨
ma-cortes20 October 2015
Weak sequel to immensely popular ¨In the heat of the night¨ finds San Francisco Police Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) called in to investigate when a liberal street preacher (Martin Landau) is suspicious the murder a prostitute . This implicated preacher results to be Virgil's good friend . As Inspector Virgil is again investigating a killing and attempting to clear his friend , as well . The African-American detective now married (to Barbara McNair) with family pursues baddies and tries to bust a major dope-smuggling operation .

An inferior follow-up that has action , suspense , drama , thrills , violence and intriguing finale . This packs the further adventures of the role Tibbs/Sidney Poitier created for the film ¨In the heat of the night¨ . The picture turns out to be slow , boring and it has dated one bit . The movie is realized in Television style , though contains some exciting chase sequences , pursuits and surprising ending . Here Sidney Poitier reprises his ordinary character , giving nice acting . Remaining cast is frankly well such as : Anthony Zerbe , Beverly Todd , Juano Hernandez , Jeff Corey , Norma Crane , David Sheiner , Edward Asner who wears a full toupee for his part and special mention for Martin Landau . Atmospheric cinematography and excellent music score by Quincy Jones in his usual style .

The trilogy starts with the excellent ¨In the heat of the night¨ (1967) that won 5 Oscars , in which Tibbs joins forces with redneck sheriff who grudgingly accepts helps in resolve a bizarre killing , being directed by Norman Jewison , it stars Rod Steiger , Warren Oates , Lee Grant , Anthony James . The second installment is this ¨They called me Mister Tibbs¨ (1970) . And the third and final appearance , ¨The organization¨(1971) , by Don Medford with Barbara McNair , Shree North , Raul Julia , Ron O'Neal , Allan Garfield and Daniel J Travanti , in which Tibbs/Sidney Poitier is out to break up a ring of dope smugglers .

The motion picture was middlingly directed by Gordon Douglas . This is one of various and professional works of his long career as filmmaker . He was a Hollywood veteran director, directing early movies such as ¨Little rascals¨, ¨Spanky¨. He was an expert on adventures genre as ¨Black arrow¨ and ¨Fortunes of Captain Blood¨ , both starred by Louis Hayward ; but he's mainly specialist filmmaking Western , his first was ¨ Girl rush (1944)¨ and in the 40s directed ¨Doolins of Oklahoma¨ and ¨The Nevadan¨ for duo Harry Joe Brown-Randolph Scott , as well as Wartime genre as ¨Up periscope¨. He went on directing Alan Ladd's vehicles as ¨Iron Mistress¨ and ¨The fiend who walked west¨ which resulted to be a Western rendition to ¨Kiss of death¨. In the 50s he proved his specialty on Western in the films starred by Clint Walker as ¨Fort Dobbs¨ ,¨Yellowstone Kelly¨, ¨Gold of seven Saints¨ and about legendary bandits as ¨Doolins of Oklahoma¨ and ¨Great Missouri raid¨ . After that , he filmed ¨Chuka¨ (1967) that bears remarkable resemblance to ¨Only the valiant¨ , the remake ¨Stagecoach (1966)¨ , and the superior ¨Rio Conchos¨. Douglas usually worked for Frank Sinatra in various films such as ¨Lady in Cement¨, ¨Tony Rome¨, ¨The detective¨ , ¨Robin and the 7 Hoods¨. Rating : 5,5 Passable and acceptable . The flick will appeal to Sidney Poitier fans .
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Not A Sequel.
Robert J. Maxwell25 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Actually, they call him Lieutenant Tibbs. Poitier is not the same character as he was in the superior "In The Heat Of The Night," released some two years earlier. He now lives in San Francisco with a lovely wife and two cute kiddies. Only the name and the profession remain the same.

Otherwise, what lifts this above the routine television crime series of the period -- "Burke's Law", "Banacek," "The Name of the Game" -- is a bigger budget and a bankable star, plus the drawing power of the title itself, a memorable line drawn from "In The Heat Of The Night." The plot: A prostitute is murdered and the available clues point to an activist minister of undetermined faith (Landau). Poitier spends most of the film tracking down other possible suspects, reluctant to see the murder pinned on his childhood friend. It ends, not happily, but with all sins paid for.

The director, Gordon Douglas, had a pedestrian career. He has some distracting habits here. Often, when two people are in conversation, he doesn't shoot over one conversant's shoulder, which would give us a better sense of what's up, but rather he has the speaker look directly into the camera, sometimes in close up. I don't know why any director would do that with any frequency. What it does is draw attention to the fact that we're watching a movie, and that makes a suspension of disbelief more difficult.

And it may be Douglas -- or somebody -- who is responsible for one of Poitier's poorer performances here. He's like a clone of Steve McQueen's San Francisco detective in "Bullet". Poitier is taciturn, rarely smiles, and moves about with a Zen expression. The mannerisms are especially disappointing because Poitier is one of the finest dramatic actors of his generation.

Little use is made of location shooting -- a foot chase through Chinatown, a pursuit across the Golden Gate bridge into a Marin County that doesn't exist. It seems to me that some of the exteriors were shot elsewhere, probably Los Angeles, because The City seems generic. There is a clumsily staged car chase ending in a wreck. What police thriller could exist without one? Poitier gets good support though from the likes of Anthony Zerbe and Jeff Corey. Barbara McNair, as Poitier's pretty wife, isn't much help, but his son, George Spell, turns in a nice naturalistic performance.

But that leads us into a problem with the script. Poitier's family life has some trumped-up problems and too much time is spent with them. The script even reduces McNair's complaints to the traditional one -- Poitier spends too much time at work and not enough with his family. She shrieks this accusation at him from a staircase, a little unconvincingly. But it's all pointless. A long scene with Poitier and Spell is irrelevant to anything that happens before or after. It diverts us from the main story, which is the murder and its solution.

It's not a stupid or insulting movie. It's not part of the Blaxploitation movement popular during the 60s. Nothing is made of the race issue. The only sociopolitical point made is that Landau is working for a people's government run from store fronts, not from City Hall. It sounds "liberal" and yet it's the embodiment of "decentralization." Zerbe is described by one of his sex slaves -- the toothsome Beverly Todd -- as "AC/DC" but that plays only a small part in the plot and is not judged one way or the other.

Want to see an excellent movie in a similar setting? See "Bullet" if you haven't already. Want to see an abominable and dated movie about San Francisco detectives? Try "The Laughing Policeman."
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Very good follow up...
Chris-14720 May 1999
This movie is one of two follow-ups of the blockbuster movie of it's time "In The Heat Of The Night". Sidney poitier plays the serious black Lt. Virgil Tibbs again.

The film doesn't deal with racial issues as it's predecessor does. The plot is quite nice and it includes some very good scenes, for instance a car chase and a shootout in a parking garage.

A good crime movie.
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The Stakes Are Lower This Time Around
seymourblack-12 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
As a sequel to the multi-Oscar-winning "In The Heat Of The Night" (1967), this movie must've surprised its audience because it's so different to its predecessor. The intense drama of the first movie was fuelled by the hostility, racism and threats to his life, that homicide detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) had to endure as he worked on a murder investigation in a small town in Mississippi where the bigoted local police chief did everything that he could to make life difficult for him. By contrast, the type of conflicts that Tibbs deals with in the sequel are those of a cop who doesn't want to believe evidence that points to the guilt of one of his close friends and the domestic problems that arise as a result of the conflicting demands of his work and family commitments. Inevitably the stakes seem lower because Tibbs' problems aren't life-threatening and the intensity of the drama is reduced accordingly. Other differences that would've surprised fans of the first movie, are that the unmarried Philadelphia cop now works in San Francisco and is married with two children (the oldest being 11-years-old).

"They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!" is actually a very straightforward murder mystery which could have featured any fictional detective, not least because there are no racial issues involved. The main things that actually link the two films are the title of the sequel, which is taken from a memorable remark that Tibbs made in the original and the unusual technique of using close-ups of the characters looking directly into the camera. In the first movie this happened only once when Tibbs was looking at a significant piece of evidence that he'd removed from a car whilst in the sequel, it's used extensively.

In the affluent Nob Hill district of San Francisco, the dead body of a prostitute is found in her apartment by the building's janitor who then goes to another apartment in the same building and informs the landlord, Rice Weedon (Anthony Zerbe). When Weedon phones the police to report the suspected murder, he mentions that the last person seen leaving the victim's apartment was Reverend Logan Sharpe (Martin Landau). Detective Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs of the SFPD homicide department is assigned to the case and finds a statuette close to the body which appears to have been used in the attack on Joy Sturges (Linda Towne).

In the investigation that follows, Tibbs speaks to the janitor, Mealie Williamson (Juano Hernandez) whose fingerprints are the only ones found on the statuette, Weedon, who it transpires is a drug dealer / pimp and an associate of his called Woody Garfield (Edward Asner) who holds the lease on the victim's apartment. Tibbs, who's a close friend of local political activist Logan Sharpe, also questions him in a manner that's very circumspect to avoid being given any information which, as a friend, he might be expected to keep to himself. The pressures that Tibbs experiences due to the nature of his investigation are then made greater as his wife blames him and the long hours he works, for the domestic problems that she has to cope with on a daily basis.

The ways in which Tibbs tries to be meticulously professional in completing his investigation as well as trying to protect his family life makes his character interesting and Sidney Poitier does well in portraying the psychological strains that Tibbs is under. Martin Landau is also good as Tibbs' friend who's passionate about his religious and political beliefs and heavily committed to his community work.

Everything about "They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!" is predictably more modest than its highly-regarded predecessor but is nevertheless, still a diverting crime drama that features some good performances.
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flavor of a time
Kirpianuscus9 February 2017
not great. but correct use of the rules of genre. a film who could be seductive for the flavor of the period, for the clichés. and, sure, for Sidney Poitiers. and it is enough for a nice policier, using the ambiguity and exploring the family life of the lead hero. it is one of films who seems be part of a long chain from the "70 about justice and law and romanticism of each of theme. the irony, the courage, the need to give the right / complex portrait of the hero are marks of a sort of crime film who remains seductive for its basic virtue to be a time machine. nothing new. or surprising. only good motif to see a kind of hero who has style and humor and wisdom and who fights for justice in his personal manner.
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They call me Mr. Sequel!
funkyfry17 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Even allowing for the inevitable "sequel letdown", this film is more than just a little mediocre. I doubt Poitier would have done it if he hadn't been offered a lot of money. Basically, everything that made the first film work is either missing or wrong. For example: Rod Steiger's racist cop and all the narrative friction that came with him -- gone. Quincy Jones' excellent music -- here, as stylish as ever but done in a funky style that's incongruous with the character of Virgil Tibbs and which makes the film seem more generic in a "70s blaxploitation" way than it should. The only major element still present in force is Poitier, and his performance is good. He's added a more sexual element to his performance, and finds some humor as well in the mostly dry situations. It's just not enough to power such a mediocre film.

The mystery elements do not work very well. We know from the beginning that the murderer is either the really obvious guy, a landlord (Anthony Zerbe) who looks like date rape on two legs, or the slightly less obvious guy, a preacher (Martin Landau) who's an old friend of Tibbs. Landau's character is so poorly conceived that it's amazing Landau is able to do anything at all with it. BTW, with his largely black congregation and his political crusades, Landau's character more than a little resembles the infamous Oakland/San Francisco preacher Jim Jones, who would rocket to stardom a decade or so later in supremely unfortunate circumstances.

To make up for the lack of "heart" (the first Tibbs movie was a buddy cop story), this film gives him a family. He's also been moved inexplicably from Philadelphia to San Francisco, but presumably the audience wasn't supposed to remember anything from the first film, right? Anyway, his home life is so dull, and so objectionable on so many levels -- after having an awkward conversation with his son about how he was "supposed to be there, the black man and all that", he hits him in the face -- that it makes a film that otherwise might have been mediocre into a disaster. Barbara McNair, whose main experience prior to this was playing a nun in an Elvis movie, must have been thrilled to share so many scenes with Poitier but she can't strike a rapport with him that makes up for the fact that we already saw an entire Virgil Tibbs movie without her. She's window dressing of the most painful sort, and the writers' attempts to make Tibbs' family life some kind of social statement is just about as successful as their attempt to make Landau's preacher into some kind of activist hero.

In fact, that's the film in a nutshell -- the first movie was timeless, this one tries instead to be topical.

It wouldn't be fair to close these comments without a few words about the director, Gordon Douglas: he sucks. Right from the very first shots of the movie you can tell it's a disaster: he shoots the entire murder in first person subjective camera angle, which is just as tacky and dated as extreme zooms from the same era. The fact that the producers picked a guy like Douglas, who'd been in Hollywood already for almost forty years and had directed almost 90 mediocre films, says a lot about their lack of ambition for this picture. Which is really too bad, because the original film combined genre mystery elements with social problems in a stylish way, whereas this film just plods along like any other B movie.
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admirable work
Armand7 June 2015
maybe, not the best Sidney Poitiers. but one of his great roles. and that could not be a surprise. not the hit of Martin Laundau's career. but a convincing innocent victim. the remarkable detail in that case - the huge good intentions. and the honorable result. because it is not crime movie. only a drama with deep roots in social problems, in family's troubles, admirable work of a splendid cast who becomes a fresco and who use the mystery in real wise manner. a film not about a murder but about vulnerabilities, expectations and different forms of truth. Sidney Poitiers gives to Mister Tibbs not only the frame from genre but a new style who transforms it in a conscience of his social circle. and he does a great job in this sense. not, maybe, for the admirers of great crimes, an important film. only an useful one. and it could be enough.
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Nothing like In The Heat Of The Night
grantss25 July 2014
Ostensibly a sequel to In The Heat Of The Night, but nothing like it. In The Heat Of The Night was a great, groundbreaking, mirror-to-the- times movie. It showcased the racial prejudices and restrictions that still existed in the US, and showed, to a degree, how these could be overcome. While on the surface it was a crime-drama, it was a lot more than that. It was a social commentary, and a brilliant one.

They Call Me Mister Tibbs is purely a crime-drama, and a fairly average one at that. The only thing this movie and In The Heat Of The Night have in common is the character Virgil Tibbs, played on both occasions by Sidney Poitier. There is no social commentary. It is just a common- or-garden whodunnit.

Some of the crime drama is padded with domestic scenes from Tibbs' homelife, but these seem trite and lame.

Really does not do any justice to In The Heat Of The Night.
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Boring thriller
Maziun1 November 2013
This is an unofficial sequel to „In the heat of the night" . Both movies have the same main hero – Tibbs. The first movie was a great thriller with anti-racism message . It was both entertaining and with substance. It was directed by Norman Jewison. This one is directed by Gordon Douglas.

This one unfortunately is just boring. BORING. Boring , boring , boring… You could cut the tension in the first one with a knife . The sequel without the anti-racism subtext doesn't really have anything to offer . It tries to replace that by giving Tibbs family problems , but they are so lame and uninteresting . Same goes for the investigation . I was able to guess the "surprise" ending from the beginning . Not to mention that the movie lacks any twists or red herrings. They try to live it up a little with some action : a car chase there , a fist fight here … It doesn't work thanks to the uninspired story and dreadful direction. The end result ? A very forgettable movie.

There are nice performances here from Sidney Poiter and Martin Landau . Sometimes you can here some nice dialogue.

It's definitely too little to save this movie . I give it 1/10.
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Dull, and that includes Sidney
stevenfallonnyc8 April 2013
"They Call Me Mr. Tibbs" is the immensely disappointing follow-up to the incredible "In The Heat of the Night" where Sidney Poitier plays Virgil Tibbs, a big-city detective. Only problem is, this flick is no better than the typical average early 70's TV-movie of the week (and not one of the good ones).

Tibbs has a preacher friend who is suspected of killing a prostitute, and he gives his friend every benefit of the doubt. He also has family problems, mainly he doesn't know how to discipline his son at all or please his pretty wife.

This movie could be any flat cop flick of the era, and has pretty much zero connection to "In The Heat of the Night" at all. This is a very dull movie that drags along while you hope something on screen will catch fire, but it never does. And Sidney himself seems to just sleepwalk through this - I can't tell if he's just very bored himself, or if he is having a bad shoot, but he is bad in this movie, no life at all.

Despite the various familiar faces, really the only actor worth watching here is Anthony Zerbe, a great character actor who plays a sleazy pimp here. He's pretty much great in anything he's in, and gives the movie at least a little bit of spark amongst this dead cast.

Unless you really have to see the further dull "adventures" of Virgil Tibbs, it's best to stay clear of this one, although again, Anthony Zerbe is a blast to watch.
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Tame, Predictable Police Procedural with No Blood and Gore
zardoz-1310 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Academy Awarding actor Sidney Poitier of "Lilies of the Field" reprises his role as Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs from the 1967 Oscar winning Best Picture "In the Heat of the Night" for veteran director Gordon Douglas' tired, uninspired sequel "They Call Me MISTER Tibbs," with nobody the equivalent of Rod Steiger with which to swap dialogue. Clearly, both "Bullitt" scenarist Alan R. Trustman and Robert D. Webb of "Cape Fear" were off their game when they penned this predictable police procedural potboiler. The dialogue is drab and none of the characters are interesting, not even the chief suspect. Absolutely nothing remotely exciting, suspenseful, or surprising occurs in this tame whodunit. Meanwhile, things have changed considerably since Virgil was last seen in "In the Heat of the Night." He worked as a homicide detective for the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Police Department. In "They Call Me MISTER Tibbs," our hero works for the San Francisco Police Department. Moreover, he has a wife, Valerie (Barbara McNair of "Change of Habit"), and a family, a young rebellious son, Andy (George Spell of "The Naked Kiss"), and a younger doting daughter, Ginger (Wanda Spell of "Hickey and Boggs"). Tibbs drives a medium blue Mustang and his wife holds down the house and hovers over their two children since he doesn't have as much time to spend with them. Literally, there are no surprises in this pedestrian murder mystery. Indeed, the best thing about "They Call Me MISTER Tibbs" is Quincy Jones' terrific orchestral soundtrack with a memorable opening theme, more memorable than this forgettable crime thriller deserved.

Everything begins sensationally enough with a struggling prostitute, Joy Sturges (Linda Towne of "The Adventurers"), being bludgeoned to death in the bedroom of her downtown apartment by an unseen assailant. Apartment handyman Mealie Williamson (Juano Hernandez of "Intruder in the Dust") enters Joy's apartment and finds her strewn on the carpet dead with a bloody forehead. He picks up the statue briefly and then puts it back on the floor and reports Joy's death to the superintendent of the apartment, Rice Weedon (Anthony Zerbe of "License to Kill"), and Weedon gives Mealie and fistful of dollars and sends him packing. Afterward, Weedon anonymously notifies the SFPD that popular minister Logan Sharpe (Martin Landau of "Nevada Smith") beaten Joy to death and was seem leaving Joy's apartment. Captain Marden (Jeff Corey of "True Grit") assigns Tibbs to handle the case; it seems that both Tibbs and Sharpe have known each other for 18 years. Naturally, Tibbs' wife Valerie cannot believe that the well-known, politically active evangelist could have committed such a crime. Just to give the movie context, it should be noted that when Tibbs and the police study the crime scene, they mention the word 'semen,' no doubt a controversial term to mention in an early 1970s movie.

Tibbs questions Weedon whom he suspects is either a drug pusher or a pimp. Weedon explains that he has no records on Joy Sturges because she was subletting the apartment from another realty company. Tibbs visits the realty company and realtor Woody Garfield (Ed Anser of "JFK") flees and drives off, essentially doing an O.J. Simpson until he crashes his car after a lengthy but tame pursuit. When Tibbs proves that Woody didn't kill Joy, he allows him to leave, with his disgruntled wife, Marge (Norma Crane of "Penelope"), prepared to file for divorce after the revelation that he paid a hooker to stay in an apartment.

Tibbs tracks down handyman Mealie and clears him of the crime, and then he goes after Weedon. Luckily, for Tibbs, our hero catches the evil Weedon in the middle of a narcotics transaction. One of Weedon's henchmen assaults Tibbs, but Tibbs dispenses with him briefly before he embarks on a long foot chase after Weedon. Eventually, he corners Weedon in an underground parking garage and they shoot it out. Guess who wins.

The scenes in the Tibbs' household are more interesting than his investigation. Andy runs rampant, striking his sister, and smoking in the garden. Our hero wants him to clean up his room. When Andy refuses, Tibbs pops him three times on the jaw. These child rearing scenes could probably never be handled today as they were back in 1970. At the end of the movie, as if to solidify the family sequence, Tibbs is seen walking off with his wife and kids. There is on confrontation between Valerie and Virgil about the welfare of their children and how his long hours at work has affected them.

Director Gordon Douglas directs in competent fashion. Surprisingly, for a film released in 1970, the filmmakers never play the race card. In one scene, when Tibbs searches a billiards parlor owned by an African-American, we see a mixed breed of races scowling at the hero when he finds Mealie and leaves with him in tow.

Altogether, "They Call Me MISTER Tibbs" is a poor follow-up to "In the Heat of the Night." Mind you, Poitier delivers another fine performance with nuance, but everything looks prefabricated. All of the sets look fake and there isn't much physical violence: one underground parking lot shoot-out that doesn't last long and a fight. Beyond Jones' seminal jazz score, the only surprise—and it really doesn't qualify as a major surprise more like a convenient contrivance—is the ending. Donald Medford's "The Organization" followed "They Call Me MISTER Tibbs" as the second, more action-packed sequel.
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Disappointing sequel
SnoopyStyle23 October 2013
San Francisco Police Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) is called in to investigate the murder of a prostitute. A community activist Rev. Logan Sharpe (Martin Landau) is accused of the murder.

This is possibly the most disappointing sequel of all times. Coming after the iconic 'In the Heat of the Night', this is best left to the bargain bin of movie history. The story is little more than a rambling police case. There isn't anything here that all other police drama hasn't done. The production value is best describe as 70s TV level. It has no energy, no tension, and no excitement. Sidney Poitier is the only thing that's of any interest. And he looked as frustrated as I was while watching this grind.
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Poitier and his Son
sfuaad24 October 2009
Sidney Potier allows his infant son to blatantly disobey him. The boy, after being slapped by Sidney, continues to refuse to pick up some thing off the floor. At that point, Sidney gives up. The result is that his son remained undisciplined, with more serious confrontations to come in the future. (Sidney could have continued by denying the kid all of his home privileges -- such as confinement to his room, no radio, no television, no games, no contact with his friends outside of school no rides, no bicycling, no outside walking, etc. -- until the item on the floor was picked up. After all, who is suppose to run the household, him or the boy.)
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