"In The Heat of the Night" is the racially charged melodrama that made Sidney Poitier a star. Poitier is Det. Virgil Tibbs, an out of state detective assigned to investigate a racially motivated crime in the deep South. Tibbs' initial congenial good nature immediate brand him a push over by both his fellow officers and the populous. But Tibbs is a man of conviction. He immediately runs into interference from Police Chief Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger), a bigoted and pompous law man who begins to change his ways when it turns out that Virgil's hunch on the case might just turn out to be true. Both the central performances of Poitier and Steiger, and the unlikely bond and ultimate friendship that ensue, are electrifying reasons to revisit this powerful drama of the 1960s. Lee Grant, Beah Richards and Warren Oates costar. In the late 80s "In The Heat of the Night" became a prime time television series starring Caroll O'Connor. But by then much of the tempestuous and confrontational aspects of its subplot had been removed.
MGM/UA gives us a non-anamorphic widescreen DVD. Colors are severely dated with a lot of fading present throughout the print. Age related artifacts are everywhere and sometimes distract. Black levels are often weak. Pixelization is primarily responsible for an unstable image. The audio is mono and badly dated as well, strident and poorly balanced. There are no extras.