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
Both riveting murder mystery and classic fish-out-of-water yarn, Norman Jewison's Oscar-winning In the Heat of the Night
represents Hollywood at its wiliest, cloaking exposé in the most entertaining trappings. Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger prove the decade's most formidable antagonists. Poitier plays Virgil Tibbs, an arrogant homicide detective waylaid in Sparta, Mississippi; Steiger, in his bravura Oscar-winning turn, is Bill Gillespie, the town's hardheaded, bigoted sheriff who first arrests Tibbs for murder and then begs for his expertise. As the clues and suspects mount, Gillespie and his deputies develop begrudging respect for the black officer. The first-rate supporting cast includes Lee Grant as the victim's angry widow, Warren Oates as a voyeuristic deputy, William Schallert as the pragmatic mayor, and, in his screen debut, Scott Wilson (In Cold Blood
) as an unlucky fugitive. The brilliant widescreen cinematography is by Haskell Wexler, and the scat-music score is by Quincy Jones. Ray Charles wails the blues theme song. --Glenn Lovell
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.