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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.
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 .
*** This review may contain 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."
"They Call Me Mister Tibbs" (1970) is a good detective mystery. It fell
under a cloud because it came after "In the Heat of the Night", a
highly-rated and excellent movie, and used the same character played by
Poitier. However, its story is very different in all ways from the
Poitier shows his great acting skills in this movie. He takes control with authority of any scene without histrionics or mannerisms of any kind but by the mastery of becoming a character by expressions, voice and movements. The movie is blessed with the fine direction of Gordon Douglas and a score by Quincy Jones. Major roles are filled by Martin Landau and Anthony Zerbe, with substantial support by Barbara McNair, Juano Hernandez, Beverly Todd, Jeff Corey, Ed Asner, David Sheiner and Norma Crane.
The movie assembles several sub-plots, each of which is interesting enough to move the story along. However, they are not well-related to the main mystery. This is the main weakness of the movie. A certain amount of razzle-dazzle and action are factored in to liven up the proceedings. Nevertheless, the movie is quite strong in presenting us with interesting characters.
*** This review may contain 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
"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.
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.
*** This review may contain 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.
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.
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.
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
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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