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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic of liberal American film making, 11 Feb 2007
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This review is from: In The Heat Of The Night [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
This film won best picture Oscar in 1967. It was one of a number of distinguished liberal American films made at the time of the growth of the Civil Rights movement -'To Kill a Mockingbird' was another - when the US was very much a divided nation, with African Americans, as the term now is - it wasn't then - still very much an underprivileged, underrepresented sector of society. Now, when Barak Obama has just announced his intention to run for the Presidency, the film has a certain period, nostalgic feel to it (not that all the race-based problems in the US have been solved by any means). But that does not stop it from being a cracking good film. It's well plotted, very well directed and very atmospherically set. But what really sets it apart is the chemistry between Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) and the local small-town Southern sheriff (Rod Steiger), by birth and upbringing no 'nigger-lover' but at the same time intelligent enough to recognise ability and integrity when he sees them, so that the two eventually form a strange alliance against the deep-rooted prejudices of the town. Steiger in particular is terrific. Ar the end of the film, when they take their farewells of each other, their genuine respect, understated as it would be with two such men, is very moving. Anyway, every minute of this film is totally absorbing and I recommend it highly.
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