Detective Virgil Tibbs is caught up in the racial tension of the US South when he is arrested after the murder of a prominent businessman. Tibbs was simply waiting for his next train at the station in Sparta, Mississippi and the confusion is soon resolved but when local police chief Gillespie learns that Tibbs is the Philadelphia PD's number one homicide expert, he reluctantly asks for his assistance. The murdered man, Mr. Colbert, had come to Sparta from the North to build a new factory and his wife and business associates immediately point the finger at Endicott, the most powerful man in the county and the one who had the most to lose if a major new employer comes to the area. Tibbs' life is clearly in danger but he perseveres in a highly charged and racially explosive environment until the killer is found.Written by
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #959. See more »
In the final confrontation between the townspeople and Tibbs out side Mrs. Bellamy's store, the tough in the blue shirt behind and to the left of Purdy alternates between holding brass knuckles and holding/drinking from a small bottle of alcohol. See more »
Outstanding performances from Poitier & Steiger in a film that's genuinely shocking once you consider the prejudice and evil it contains, even more so when you witness those same traits in society over 50 years later. Will we ever learn!
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