Tuesday, July 2, 2013

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Today's film is In the Heat of the Night, which features Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs, a detective trying to solve a murder in a town full of racism.

In a town in Mississippi where no one is ever murdered, someone is murdered.  The police have no idea what do, and as the film progresses, randomly arrest people based on speculation. Virgil is quietly minding his own business waiting for the train when he is grabbed and arrested without being questioned.  Soon the police learn that not only is he innocent, but he is a police officer in Philadelphia.  Bonus: He's the best homicide detective in Philadelphia.  So the prideful police chief begrudgingly asks him for help.  Virgil doesn't want to, but his boss tells him to.

The police chief, Gillespie, asks him his name, and when he replies, "Virgil", he laughs. But he doesn't understand how important he will be to the investigation. None of the police have ever been through the hell of a homicide investigation, and as an experienced detective with forensic knowledge, Virgil is the perfect guide.

I did enjoy watching the early forensics.  He was good about looking at the victim's hands and his head injury. He proved the innocence of another man they arrested because of this.  However, he goes to the victim's car and sees the bloodshed.  He wipes his bare hand all over it!  ewwwwwww.

Why are the talking portions so quiet while the guy running through the leaves is so blaring?

I was wrong about all those people smoking in the '40s movies.  Smoking is not the worst habit. Smacking gum with your mouth open is! Gillespie is a nasty gum smacker. That is so nasty.  In every scene I see him, he is smacking his gum with his mouth wide open.The funniest was when the camera zoomed in on his face, smacking away in tune to the music!

Most of the film deals with the main character's prejudices.  The police and other residents of the town are mostly racists, while Virgil is a classic example of a Northerner's superiority complex.  Gillespie and Virgil slowly start to lose their prejudices, but never fully let go because they are prideful.  Both of them were good actors, and I particularly liked his death stares. Also, dude slapped a guy. I will give this film an 8/10.

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