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The Organization
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Organization More at IMDbPro »

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17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

An obscure delight

6/10
Author: The_Movie_Cat from England
28 September 1999

Perhaps the least-known Poitier work, certainly of the period; at date of writing only nine IMDb members had voted on this film. This is just over 1% of the votes attained by it's initial prequel, the superb "In The Heat of the Night". Between the two is the awful-yet-lovable "They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!" which took the Virgil Tibbs franchise on a downward slope.

Those that do get to see this movie on it's rare t.v. rescreenings and decide to give it a go after the disappointing "Tibbs" will be justly rewarded. Essentially, the production team is the same as the previous film, though Gil Melle provides a jazz-orientated score instead of Quincy Jone's adequate but inappropriate themes. The domesticity is also played down, with Alan R.Trustman absent as co-writer and James R. Webb taking full control of the screenplay. Most importantly, though, is Don Medford as the well above average director. Apart from a rather crude edit where a car accident occurs in the second half of the picture, the scenes are melded together seamlessly and flow together exceptionally well.

Poitier reprises the role of Tibbs, an arrogant, aloof, bad-tempered, authoritarian, bigoted Lieutenant. As a result, this is probably the most appealing of all Sidney's characters, and he slips back into the role effortlessly. With no star names to support him, such as Rod Steiger or Martin Landau (though Raul Julia did become a star later in life), Sidney stands way above his peers. His ability to project a bad atmosphere every time he walks into a room is flawless. This time he is not let down by the plot, either, which sees Tibbs caught between the Police Department and a vigilante gang that seeks to expose a wide net of heroin dealers. The plot takes on many shifts in loyalty and focus, keeping the attention, while a chase through underground tunnels lends the requisite chase an extra air of tension. The racial motif is again absent, though a rival black cop played by Bernie Hamilton gives off a frisson of resentment.

While predictably not of the calibre of "In Heat of the Night", The Organization stands as the greatest of Sidney's seventies vehicles.

Post-Script, March 2016: Over 16 years since I wrote this review (where does the time go?) I realise that I was too soft on what is quite a shaky film. Continuity and editing are not great, and the tone is frequently dirge-like. It's OKAY, but the concluding line that it's the best of Sidney's 70s movies was clearly written by a man who hadn't then seen The Wilby Conspiracy or Brother John. It's what's known as a "take a chance" point of view, and in this case it was wide of the mark.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

V. Tibbs still at it!

7/10
Author: mike dewey from canton, ohio
7 May 2008

Sydney reprises his Mr. Tibbs moniker in a nicely paced crime drama that has some well orchestrated action sequences, especially the one at the onset of the film. Those first 10 minutes or so reminded me of the heist scene in "Rififi" (1955), in that this scene too was captured with no dialog, letting the viewer see for himself how the action plan was set into motion.

Some reviewers "dissed" the 70's sound track and street jargon, but what do you expect? It's a period piece, a 70's action film and by definition will employ those contemporary motifs. To me, it's both refreshing and amusing to be thrust back into the cultural modes of yesteryear.

The plot line may have had some small weaknesses to it and some of the actors were no Academy Award nominee hopefuls, but the thrust of the film keeps you attentive and anticipatory. Also, it was nice to see Raul Julia, Demond Wilson and Ron O'Neal in one of their earlier films. Sydney, as usual, shines in his rendition of the Tibbs detective. But the plot twists toward the end where Mr. Tibbs puts the pieces together and gets ready to see justice served... Well, see for yourself in this brutally realistic conclusion.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Taut thriller with breathless action

Author: John Wayne Peel (jwpeel@tiac.net) from United States
14 August 2004

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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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Not a bad film but sort of hokey even then but still fun to watch

Author: Falkenberg2006 from United States
7 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I lived in San Francisco from 1964-1980 and got to see a LOT of movies filmed there. I watched them film the sections in Bart ( being built back then and one of the film's chase scenes goes on in the tunnel) and Muni and saw this and the 2 previous Virgil Tibbs films in San Francisco theatres.

It is fun to look at this movie after 30+ years and see what is still there and what has changed over the years. The 70's seems like a million years ago. The Phillips gas station on Beach Street has had about 10 different brands over the years. The hofbrau on Turk Street ( Iate there every night, it was cheap) and Lew Lehr's steak house disappeared in the 80s.Hare Krishna's on Market Street across from the Sheraton Palace.

I feel this movie is better than the previous Tibbs film, but my opinion is, of course, subjective. Even a bad detective movie has some merits.

Of course, the premise of this film, that 6 people could bring down "the organization" ( mafia?) by stealing 4 million dollars worth of heroin is kind of silly. And the organization is having a hard time coming up with cash to buy back the drugs? Come on guys....

As for the 70s music, well, Lalo Schiffrin and others composed a lot of movie music back then and times change. I liked the music myself.

The 70s saw a lot of movies filmed in the city by the bay. Bullitt, The Laughing Policeman, The Dirty Harry Films, The Monk ( TV film, not the recent TV show, this was with George Maharis and Janet Leigh), The Towering Inferno,and the Streets of San Francisco TV show. I worked as an extra in films in those days and miss that era of cheap food, cheap rent, and cheap Giants tickets...

A great site I just found shows probably every movie filmed in San Francisco.

http://www.MisterSF.com

click on cinematic sf !

George Senda Concord, Ca

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

The end of Virgil Tibbs

6/10
Author: lastliberal from United States
27 September 2007

We first met Virgil Tibbs waiting for a train in Sparta Mississippi In the Heat of the Night. For those that didn't know, he reminded us in They Call Me MISTER Tibbs. Now, he had his badge taken away after no keeping his Captain informed as he fought The Organization in San Francisco.

Maybe the hippie thing is getting tired: calling police "pigs," and the weird dress, and constant "man"'s, or maybe Tibbs is getting tired, but this was just a fair viewing of Sidney Potier as Virgil Tibbs.

Well, at least he is still married to the same woman (Barbara McNair), and I always like seeing Raul Julia (Moon Over Parador, Kiss of the Spider Woman), there is "Superfly" (Ron O'Neal), Daniel J. Travanti when he was Dan Travanty, and Max Gail, whom I remember from "Barney Miller." Sidney Potier is always worth watching and you might have an additional favorite above.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Taking down The Organization?

6/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
30 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sidney Poitier for the third and last time essayed his Virgil Tibbs character in The Organization. It's definitely one film for the paranoid.

There's a robbery/homicide at a furniture warehouse factory outlet in San Francisco. Problem is that those who committed the robbery didn't necessarily do the homicide.

But Virgil Tibbs is known as an honest cop far and wide and when the robbers contact him with their story, he's real interested. The outlet was an organized crime front and what was taken and not reported was five million dollars worth of heroin. If he's willing to work with them, maybe we can take down The Organization.

But The Organization is very resourceful indeed and Poitier has to watch his back 24/7 because he doesn't know who he can trust in the San Francisco PD. The film does have a real cop feel for it because guys like Garry Walberg, Daniel J. Travanti, Bernie Hamilton, and Gerald S. O'Loughlin who all played prominent TV cops are all in the San Francisco PD with Sid.

The robbers are a group of Seventies Revolutionaries and have such diverse folks as Lani Miyazaki, Ron O'Neal, Billy Green Bush and heading the curious crew is a young Raul Julia. Poitier is right, these people have every reason to be concerned.

The key to the whole thing is widow Sheree North who will either be rich or dead depending on how she plays it. Sheree is great as always.

Poitier as in They Call Me, MISTER TIBBS is married to Barbara McNair. Funny though, when Virgil Tibbs as Howard Rollins decided to go back to work for the Sparta, PD his wife became Althea instead of Valerie which she is in both of these films.

The ending shows that the effort might not have been worth it after all. The Organization is EVERYWHERE.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Mr Tibbs is back!!

7/10
Author: chinaskee from United States
12 June 2001

From its suspenseful opening heist scene to its realistic ending,Sidney Poitier's third and final outing as Vigil Tibbs is everything a cop movie should be.Well cast with some great chase scenes.Director Don Medford keeps the fun rolling along at a nice pace.All in all,a great film.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

You've seen it all before

5/10
Author: Rich Wright
12 June 2015

Ah, the 70's. Big guns, bigger cars and acknowledgements that *GASP!* police departments have black people too. Close on the heels of Isaac Hayes as Shaft, there was Sidney Poitier as Mister Tibbs. Both starred in a number of films based around their characters, although Poitiers tended to be slightly more realistic in nature (What with them being directly made with the assistance of the local force) and with less wanton violence.

That doesn't mean they were immune to suffering from cliché-itis, though. So you have the usual schtick where the bad guys turn out to be the good guys, endless chase sequences through crowded streets and of course... The 'pivotal' moment where Tibbs has to hand over his gun and badge due to him being suspected of corruption. It may not be the movie's fault that such scenes have been done to death over 40 years, but it is what it is.

Poitier keeps things ticking over nicely with his usual reliable screen presence, and the sparse family moments he shares with his wife and son are a nice touch... Although, too brief to really be that effective. Overall, it's an interesting look at a Gene Hunt era of law enforcement which is long since past (for better or worse) but in terms of entertainment, very, very average. 5/10

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A pretty good cop movie

6/10
Author: Mickey Micklon from United States
9 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While investigating a corporate break-in, San Francisco Police Detective "Virgil Tibbs" (Sidney Portier) discovers that the suspects are in reality a group of revolutionaries bent on destroying a drug cartel known as "The Organization." Without permission from his superiors, "Tibbs" begins to work with the revolutionaries. They work their own ways, "Tibbs" working within police regulations, but still together.

This is a pretty well written movie, but with some slight flaws in performances. The pacing of the movie is slow, but well paced.

The stand out performance is easily Portier. This is the third movie where he portrays "Tibbs," of which he is probably best known for. He plays "Tibbs" two ways in the film. First, he plays the cop. You actually believe that he is a veteran on the police force. "Tibbs" passion is his work, and Portier makes you believe it. He also plays "Tibbs" as a family man who obviously loves his family. We don't get to see a lot of this side of the character since the focus is on the case he is on.

One problem with this movie is that the supporting characters is poorly presented. There is little to no development in the revolutionaries, and we don't get to see much of "The Organization" beyond the hired guns. I was also unimpressed with their on-screen chemistry with each other. Not one really stood out if you ask me. In fact, I felt that these characters would fit better in an early-1970's television series than in a major motion picture.

When it comes to the soundtrack, it's typical 1970's movie music. Not one piece is memorable. However, some pieces of music was used quite well in scenes.

The action is pretty toned down in this film, probably because of the time it was filmed. You get a lot of chases on foot, and one pretty forgettable car chase. You also get some gun play with little blood. There is little to no intensity in the action scenes. The only thing that makes these scenes intense is the music played over them.

There is a pretty good, and unexpected twist at the end of the movie, and it's handled pretty well thanks to Portier's performance. I didn't see it coming. There is also some really good transition edits in this film that I thought were done nicely.

Though not a perfect movie, it is enjoyable, mostly thanks to Portier's performance.

If you ever catch this on HBO or the free section of your On Demand service, check it out if your regular show is either not on for alternative programming or in a rerun. I actually watched it on Hulu, and only had to deal with about two minutes of commercials, which were sometimes oddly placed.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Bye Bye Mr. Tibbs

6/10
Author: wordsmith_57 from United States
3 April 2009

Sydney Poitier is marvelous in any movie he has been in, so far as I have noticed. When he first showed up as MISTER Tibbs in Heat of the Night, I knew it would be a great watch. Unfortunately, by the third run, The Organization, even his usual and expected dazzlement could not save the faulty plot and slow pacing. The premise of a group of amateurs trying to bring down "the organization" and then trying to drag in a good cop like Tibbs (who doesn't let the force know what he is doing) is, well, thin and silly. There were great slices of Tibbs' home life with his son and daughter, which goes to show that Poitier brings life into even a tedious period cop piece like this one. Overall, it's still watchable, but only if you are a dedicated Poitier fan.

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