#75 In the Heat of the Night

In the Heat of the Night

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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

Product Description
Starring Academy AwardÂ(r) winners* Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger and Lee Grant, this provocative mystery thriller won** five 1967 OscarsÂ(r), including Best Picture. Highlighted by an evocative score from OscarÂ(r)-winning*** composer Quincy Jones, In The Heat Of The Night is a "powerful film" (The New York Times) that delivers the "highest level of exciting entertainment" (New York Daily News)! While traveling in the Deep South, Virgil Tibbs, a black Philadelphia homicide detective, becomes unwittingly embroiled in the murder investigationof a prominent businessman when he is first accused of the crimeand then asked to solve it! Finding the killer proves to be difficult, however, especially when his efforts are constantly thwarted by the bigoted town sheriff (Steiger). But neither man can solve this case alone. Putting aside their differences and prejudices, they join forces in a desperate race against time to discover the shocking truth. *Poitier: Actor, Lilies of the Field (1963); Steiger: Actor, In the Heat of the Night (1967); Grant: Supporting Actress, Shampoo (1975) **Actor (Steiger), Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Sound ***1994: Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

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