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After a group of young revolutionaries break into a company's corporate headquarters and steal $5,000,000 worth of heroin to keep it off the street, they call on San Francisco Police Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs for assistance. Tibbs is understandably reticent about helping the radicals, since they broke a number of laws (despite a good cause), but when the group is also accused of a murder it didn't commit, Tibbs decides to go along, but without the police department's knowledge. Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Just the other night, I watched this film and Turner Classic Movies and was as entertained and the first time I watched this film. Like a lot of pictures of the 1970s, it is riddled with the "urban slang" of the period and seen by Hollywood. In other words, it is more colorful than real speech in the real world, but that is to be expected. It is also peopled with the great character actors of the time, many who have become stars later in their film careers.
Raul Julia plays a Puerto Rican drug dealer which was certainly no great stride for Hispanic actors working in Hollywood, but it is after all a crime drama and such people do exist. Still, Mr. Julia turns in his usual five-star performance. Poitier is his usual cool and intelligent self which is a big thing in films of just about any period, and Alan Garfield again plays the New York con with his usual believability.
The chase in the finale is breathtaking and equal to that of such great films as "The French Connection." Also, the kicker is in the final expedition seen where the entire crime is exposed by the brilliant work of our intrepid hero detective Virgil Tibbs.
One of the notable actors in this film is Sherry North who plays the rich Park Avenue white woman with a past in a manner not unlike her work in "Charlie Varrick."
It is a shame that Sidney Poitier did not again portray Virgil Tibbs, but we do have these three films, two of which are sensational. It is a privilege to add it to my detective movies on video collection.
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