Thursday, September 1, 2011

Homebody Film Series: In the Heat of the Night

While I was waiting for this so-called hurricane was passing through New York, I got a chance to catch up on some movies. The Boy and I rented In the Heat of the Night.

Sidney Poitier does a fantastic job as the Virgil Tibbs, the cool, smart Philadelphia homicide detective who gets detained in a backwater Mississippi town on suspicion of murder. He didn't do it, of course, but as an unfamiliar black man in the Deep South of the 1960s, he's an obvious suspect. The sheriff grudgingly accepts his help with the high-profile murder of the factory owner Mr. Colbert.

My skin crawled every time a white man called Poitier "boy". There's no sugarcoating the racism, both implicit and explicit. But what I love most is there's no syrupy-sweet resolution. The sheriff, Gillepsie, doesn't have a complete change of heart and he implies Detective Tibbs' wanting to do well on the case has isn't just about wanting to do justice for the dead men. He's also really invested in proving the town wrong about his abilities, which is a different kind of justice in and of itself. I can definitely see why this film got the Best Picture Oscar. It's going on my Facebook favorites right about now.

I don't know if this is the original trailer but it's pretty good

An accidental funny moment from a very serious movie:

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