I Watched… (#48)

29 Apr


In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Best-Picture winner at the Oscars in 1968, In the Heat of the Night plays out in a small town in the deep south, Sparta in Mississipi. An African-American detective, Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier), finds himself in the racist town just as a murder investigation is getting under way, and he is part intrigued, part coerced into helping the local police force. Though being the only African-American in “white-man’s clothes” in town means a murder investigation is not the only problem Mr Tibbs has to worry about in this racially-charged mystery thriller.

A truly gripping story and brilliant performances by Poitier (ironically not Oscar nominated) and Rod Steiger, as Police Chief Gillespie, help to create a powerful film that explores racial tensions in the South, at a time when the Civil Rights movement was a major talking point in the USA and indeed the world.

Profoundly shocking at times and driven by strong characters and a mysterious narrative, In the Heat of the Night compels and enchants in equal measure. Powerful stuff indeed.



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