7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A step towards greater understanding,
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This review is from: In The Heat Of The Night [DVD]  (DVD)
When this film first appeared it was seen as a major artistic statement on race and the issues of segregation. It was a return of American Film taking on contentious issues not really seen since the Macarthy era of blacklists and fear of offending the silent majority. It was a brave film and you sensed that the people involved knew they were making a significant film. Many of the phrases used in the film became instantly used 'call me Mr Tibbs' or more annoyingly Rod Stieger's 'speak to me' when he picked up the phone,try doing that as see the response. Importantly the film had impact, without becoming an ideological tract. The acting is outstanding and the relationship which develops between Rod Stieger and Sidney Poitier is one of the great film performances, the two great actors never bettered this. Having travelled through the Southern States during the sixties ,the film is a true reflection of that time, it is a wonder that Virgil was not killed,many died for far less. The film also shows weaknesses in all the characters, it is an adult film, Virgil Tibbs could be as wrong as the southern sheriff acted by Rod Stieger. The key point of the film is that it is what unifies us rather than divides that is important and this needed affirming at a very critical point in the history of the United States. Film is important.