(Review originally written at 14 October 2005)

"In the Heat of the Night" is a typical movie of which you can say 'They don't make them like this anymore' and a real shame that is.

The movie is a typical 'whodunnit' movie cleverly disguised as a racial themed movie. To be honest the whole murder mystery storyline isn't that new or interesting but it truly is the racial theme of the movie that makes this a classic. The tension between Det. Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) and Police Chief Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) is perfectly scripted and portrayed by the actors and it's beautiful to see how the two slowly gain each others respect. What I love about "In the Heat of the Night" is the objectivity of it. In movies like this it's very easy to make all the white characters bad guys and make the black person the helpless victim of their racial ideas. But Virgil Tibbs in this movie also isn't a perfectly good person. He is determent to find evidence that a racial person which he had a bad encounter with, did the killing. Both sides have certain prejudices about each other and that is perfectly shown in this movie. The whole racial theme, in the way as it's portrayed in this movie, might be a bit outdated and not relevant anymore now but most of the racial elements in the movie are still relevant, which makes "In the Heat of the Night" also still these days a powerful and important movie to watch.

The movie has a splendid Southern atmosphere and the musical score by Quincy Jones suits the movie perfectly and adds to this atmosphere.

The movie its character are perfectly portrayed by the impressive cast. Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger play or both on par with each other and portray some impressive characters. Only Steiger won an Oscar for his role while Poitier wasn't even nominated.

The movie might be a bit slow at times and the 'whodunnit' elements of the movie also aren't done in the greatest way, "In the Heat of the Night" still remains an unforgettable and still important movie to watch.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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