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My God... *What* kind of people are you? What kind of *place* is this? - Recommended 4.5 Stars

In a small town in Mississippi a body is found on the street, cooling as it’s lifeblood seeps out yet still sweltering in the literal heat of the night.  Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) is picked up at the local train station and hauled before police chief Gillespie (Rod Steiger) as suspect number one. Assumed guilty because he is an outsider and black, Tibbs quickly establishes that not only is he smarter and more classy than Gillespie but also a higher paid police detective who specializes in homicide.  Embarrassed, Gillespie engages Tibbs to solve the murder.  Tibbs reluctantly does so, exposing the town’s darkest secrets.  In a town where racism is a daily and accepted occurrence Tibbs must be on his toes to outsmart fatcat political foes, dopey deputies and heat-mad townies alike.

In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Released: 02 Aug 1967
Rated: Approved
Runtime: 110 min
Director: Norman Jewison
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Cast: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates
Writer(s): Stirling Silliphant, John Ball
Plot: A black Philadelphia police detective is mistakenly suspected of a local murder while passing through a racially hostile Mississippi town, and after being cleared is reluctantly asked by the police chief to investigate the case.
IMDB rating: 7.9
MetaScore: 75

Disc Information
Studio: MGM
Distributed By: Kino Lorber
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 110 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray
Case Type: Keep Case with cover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 4/19/2022
MSRP: $39.99

The Production: 4/5

Winner of 5 Oscars, including best actor for Steiger (who beat out Poitier!), Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay ITHOTN is as relevant and timely today as it was in 1967.  HTF’s smart ban on politics and religion make discussing these themes difficult, but ITHOTN serves as a time capsule of where things were and where we are now. Which is saying something, something awful, as we relitigate and re-experience the same issues that we though the civil rights movement had made progress on.  Even the side story of abortion is relevant once again as we face going back to an age where women who find themselves unhappily pregnant will be forced to make terrible choices and the men they are involved with are often driven to violence against them.

While the themes are undeniably fraught, the doors opened by the film are still illustrative. Forefront in that is to not make assumptions.  Tibbs is the key evidence against that but Gillespie, while certainly prejudiced, isn’t the racist pig he is assumed to be either, at least not completely.  And while their actions alone cannot change the society they are part, perhaps their story can help make progress.

Tibb’s calm presence under pressure (and Poitier’s personification of it) are one role model, but don’t forget that “the slap” had an even more profound effect.  Sometimes it takes a precision deployment of light violence to wake a person up that they aren’t as in control as they think they are, and sometimes that response winds up affecting a far greater sphere in society than they could have imagined.

Video: 3/5

3D Rating: NA

The 4k transfer goes a bit above and beyond the 1080p version present in the recent Criterion Bluray, and seems to have kept most/all the cleanup work that was done for that release.  The UHD format is not much use for detail delivery as mostly it delves deeper into the film’s grain, which is a constant presence.  Many scenes have tough jobs maintaining sharp focus in night shots, but you can’t pull detail that’s not there.  Colors are great tho and outdoor daytime scenes pop nicely.  No HDR pass that I can tell, tho perhaps wide color gamut is employed.  Overall it looked great for its age on an OLED display but no miracles here.

Audio: 3/5

Note that the mono soundtrack is the default.  If you want 5.1 you need to select it in the menus.  The move to 5.1 allows Quincy Jones’s eclectic use of jazz to shine a bit more here, tho I still felt like a lot of it was center focused.  I do love and respect the soundtrack, and it made me think a lot of “Midnight Run”.  No serious deep end, which is to be expected and no real action from the rears.  Dialogue is crisp.

Special Features: 4/5

Mostly a “Best of” taken from the Criterion extras, adding the two sequels along for the ride.

Disc 1 (4KUHD):

  • NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson with Robert Mirisch (Nephew of Walter Mirisch, and Son of the Mirisch Company Founder Harold Mirisch)
  • Audio Commentary by Director Norman Jewison, Cinematographer Haskell Wexler and Actors Rod Steiger and Lee Grant

Disc 2 (BLU-RAY):

  • THEY CALL ME MISTER TIBBS! (1970) – The sequel to In the Heat of the Night. Back in San Francisco, a high-priced call girl is murdered and Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs (Poitier) is on the case. Co-Starring Martin Landau and Barbara McNair and directed by Gordon Douglas.
  • THE ORGANIZATION (1971) – In this Tibbs/Poitier finale, Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs (Poitier) helps a group of idealistic vigilantes expose a drug ring controlled by powerful businessmen. Co-Starring Barbara McNair and Gerald S. O’Loughlin and directed by Don Medford.
  • Turning Up the Heat: Movie Making in the 60’s – 2008 Featurette (21:10)
  • The Slap Heard Around the World – 2008 Featurette (7:25)
  • Quincy Jones: Breaking New Sound – 2008 Featurette (13:02)
  • Theatrical Trailers for IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, THEY CALL ME MISTER TIBBS! and THE ORGANIZATION

Overall: 4/5

In the heat of the night is a movie I wish more people could see today.  It serves as a bookend sitting before the civil rights movement and legitimately may have helped spur it on.

But it’s the relationship between Poitier and Steiger that steals the show here, like all good fish out of water / buddy movies. The characters both surprise us in unexpected ways, and they grow from re-evaluating what they thought they knew.  What more could you hope for?

The sequels are absolute junk tho.  I couldn’t sit through them, they seemed like bad Columbo episodes.  Great title on the second one…  I remember watching the Carol O’Connor TV series based on the movie tho and that would be way better than either of these films, sadly.

 

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Published by

Sam Posten

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View thread (18 replies)

cda1143

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And yet...somehow...you managed to blatantly violate the forum's rules to promote your left-wing agenda that has nothing to do with home theater.

Keep it about the movies.
Review the medium.
Keep the rest to yourself.
”about the movies”? That is precisely what this movie is about. Indeed this movie has absolutely nothing to do with home theater.

Forum rule no.4 (bold italics mine)

"4. No politics or religion. We do not permit the discussion of politics or religion at HTF. However, there is a narrow exception to this rule. If the subject matter of a movie or television show includes politics and/or religion, then they may be discussed insofar as they pertain to that specific movie or television show. We stress, however, that such discussions are carefully monitored and will be moderated if it appears that any participant is using this narrow exception to introduce a broader political or religious discussion than is warranted by the movie or television show under discussion. Also, anyone who has not seen a particular movie or television show is disqualified from discussing its political and/or religious content under this rule. Note: Posts by HTF staff including reviewers may on occasion be given wider discretion by site management."

While one can question the reviewer's choice of words, he is without question writing about the subject matter of this film. Thus there is is no violation fo the forum rules, nor is there even any need for wider discretion for HTF staff, as the author writes about nothing outside the scope of this particular film.

Agree with him or not, the reviewer is writing about the film.
 

dpippel

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I'd say that since Sam is both a Reviewer AND a Moderator here, judging whether or not his writeup has crossed a line is a discussion best left to him and HTF management. I don't think they need much input from us. If any of you have a real issue with what he wrote, I'd suggest using that little "Report" button in the bottom left corner of Sam's post. That's why it's there.
 

Sam Posten

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The dude is right, if you have an issue with my review please contact [email protected]

I stand by my review and the parallels to todays issues, both race based and abortion. Both are critical parts of the movie and are reflective of a time that we seem to be heading head back towards not away from.

I’m also quite sure you have no idea what my political bent is. If you think being anti racist is a left wing pov I got nothing for ya.
 

cda1143

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Listen to the HTU Podcast that Sam hosts. :)
I just subscribed. Delighted to discover it. But can anyone be a bit more specific? I can't listen to every podcast back to Oct 2021.

Does the RAH quote have anything to do with any disc version of this film?

Thank you
 

DaveF

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I just subscribed. Delighted to discover it. But can anyone be a bit more specific? I can't listen to every podcast back to Oct 2021.

Does the RAH quote have anything to do with any disc version of this film?

Thank you
Here’s a hint: it’s the one with RAH in it :)

Also, it’s Sam’s signature. Why would the quote have anything specific to do with this particular review? It’s attached to every post and review he makes.
 

Sam Posten

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Here’s a hint: it’s the one with RAH in it :)

Also, it’s Sam’s signature. Why would the quote have anything specific to do with this particular review? It’s attached to every post and review he makes.

Coming from mobile where signatures are hidden this might be the first time he’s seen my sig.
 

cda1143

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Here’s a hint: it’s the one with RAH in it :)

Also, it’s Sam’s signature. Why would the quote have anything specific to do with this particular review? It’s attached to every post and review he makes.
Well I would love to hear this episode, but both iTunes and Spotify only go back as far as October 2021; and unless RAH is a mystery guest not listed in the show notes, his episode was earlier than that?

Ah thank you - Sam’s signature attached to all his posts. Makes perfect sense now. Not having memorized Sam’s signature (shocking I know) I was thrown off by appearances.

In the format of review threads, that quote is the first thing, and the longest thing, one sees in the In The Heat of the Night - UHD Review thread:

click to expand…

Continue reading…

"An embarrassment" according to noted film historian and restorationist Mr. Robert A. Harris

It’s a great quote, but in this context…

Anyway thanks for the info. Best for me in this thread was the podcast. I’m an active forum reader, and this was the first I’ve heard about it.

Sure hope I can find the RAH episode some day.
 

Sam Posten

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cda1143

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cda1143

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@cda1143
Now that I've finally heard the origin of the quote - priceless!
 

Robert Crawford

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I take the afternoon off and I find "cleanup on aisle 7" is on tap. Several posts have been deleted.

If any of you have a problem with Sam's review then contact the HTF owners [email protected]


Any further posts complaining about a moderator's action in this thread will result in disciplinary action. Whatever your complaint, please, take it offline as stated in our posting guidelines. There will not be any further warnings as I mean what I just stated about disciplinary action. These issues should be discussed offline and not openly on the forum. Whether that is contacting Sam or the HTF owners. Any member is welcome to do so.