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
Rod Steiger received directions to base his performance as Sheriff Bill Gillespie on The Dodge Sheriff, a popular cultural icon and corporate spokesperson for Dodge automobiles. The Dodge Sheriff was a stereotypical southern Sheriff used in an array of advertisements in the 1960s. Steiger took the advice, although he greatly toned down the comedic aspects of the character. See more »
It's supposed to be a very hot summer, yet Mrs. Colbert and Chief Gillespie are walking around in a coat and a jacket. See more »
Whodunits are a dime a dozen in my view.What makes In the Heat of the Night so unique in the murder mystery genre is it's setting:The racially tense deep south.This is what I enjoy about the film.You have two major plot lines to keep you engrossed:The investigation into the murder itself,and the racial tensions between Sidney Poitier's Virgil Tibbs character and virtually every other character in the film.The film is loaded with great acting,particularly from Poitier,who,not surprisingly,considers this his best work and is his favorite amongst all the projects he has done.Not only is this recommended viewing,it is recommended for a spot on your home video shelf.
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