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In the Heat of the Night [DVD] 
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Rod Steiger plays a small-town Mississippi sheriff who is forced to collaborate on a murder investigation with Virgil Tibbs, a black homicide detective from Philadelphia (Sidney Poitier). The pair at first find themselves totally at odds with each other, but as the investigation proceeds each learns to respect the other's talents. The film won five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Steiger.
This 1967 film took home lots of Oscars for its fascinating drama about a Philadelphia detective (Sidney Poitier) who assists a redneck Southern sheriff (Rod Steiger) in solving a murder. A study in racism that ebbs a bit through the collective and shared need between a black man and a white man who don't want to be working together, In the Heat of the Night continues to strike a chord today. Steiger is a mass of snarling danger, Poitier a bundle of nerves covered in class. Norman Jewison (Moonstruck) directs with a keen feeling for the cultural and social atmosphere of the setting. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Poitier plays a black northern dectective Virgil Tibbs, who is arrested in the deep south for a murder he had nothing to with. Steiger is a bigoted local Sheriff eventually forced to work with Tibbs to solve the case. Both the lead performances are truly mesmerising. There are a number of classic scenes in this film of which perhaps my favourite is when the Sheriff interviews Tibbs for the first time and finds he's a policeman.
The film is very well directed by Norman Jewison and won 5 Oscars in 1967, including best actor for Rod Steiger. Quincy Jones also deservedly won a Grammy for his music score. The only extra is the original trailer, which is a shame. However the film itself is so good that the DVD has to have 5 stars regardless.
I got the film on R1/USA DVD quite some time ago (a fairly good rendition) - it's only recently that it's been given the proper treatment on Blu-ray, based on the 40th anniversary DVD edition which was only released in the USA.
Whilst this HD presentation might not be a massive improvement, it does have superior definition and a clear 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (essentially dialogue-based) soundtrack.
If you know nothing of this movie then you can get an idea by reading the Amazon 'Product Description' - BUT if you do it gives away the plot basis, which is a 'secret' of the film and when it is revealed should come as something of a shock....
A very short non-spoiler explanation would be to say that it covers the rampant racist attitudes held (note that I use the present tense !) in the southern states of the USA, covering them with great clarity and in a wide variety of ways - the 'vehicle' to drive the story which allows that to occur is something of a MacGuffin, being a murder 'whodunnit'.
Why is this film ground-breaking ? - not necessarily because it covered those racist attitudes (it was made in the era of the battle for Civil Rights in the USA), but essentially because it showed an African-American 'fighting back' against the resident white/racists (most significantly when he returns a face slap delivered to him by one of those white racists).
So, the film deftly manages to not only deal with those important issues but also keep you engrossed with the drama of that murder investigation.Read more ›
The direction in this film is remarkable and subtle, with the clever use of music accentuating at the exact moments an avid viewer would want them.
The supporting cast held their own, with handy contributions all around, all helping to add to the community resentment towards Tibbs.
The plot was powerful but the presence of certain characters seemed a little tenuous. The characters almost seemed an inclusive to emphasise the obvious. For example, the visit to the cotton mill seemed to have no eventual purpose to the plot except the show the blatant bigotry that was implied by the rest of the film in a somewhat more reserved approach.
Aside from that minor blip, the film flows brilliantly and I highly recommend this film to all who want a damn good film with quality acting and direction. A must see classic of the 60's era.
The magic of the direction for me is that you could watch it in the antarctic, in winter, and still feel like you were slapping at mosquitos, melting like butter on a fried catfish, with the aircon full blast. If you haven't seen it, you have missed a classic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Classic film and well worth having the blu ray, its the best version to date, far superior to previous DVD versions and Haskell Wexler's cinematography jumps off the screen as do... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Chris Mac