In The Heat Of The Night Essay

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In the Heat of the Night is mystery drama film directed by Norman Jewson in 1967 which based on John Ball’s 1965 novel of the same name. It tells the story of Virgil Tibbs, a black police detective from Philadelphia, who becomes involved in a murder investigation in a racist small town in Mississippi. Phillip Colbert, a wealthy industrialist from Chicago was murdered. He was constructing a factory in Sparta and staying with his wife during construction. Police Officer Sam Wood during his motor patrol of Sparta found his body on a pavement at the front of a pathway entrance onto Main Street. Police Chief Bill Gillespie enters in the scene at a time where the body has been seen and begins to investigate. A local mortician and photographers take…show more content…
Beautifully atmospheric, Haskell Wexler's brilliant cinematography and Norman Jewison's first rate direction make you feel the humidity of the small Mississippi town in which a black detective teams with the redneck sheriff to solve the murder of an important industrialist. Here are many bad "issues" movies out there, but this is not one of them. In a bad movie, all of the racist characters would be one dimensional and one hundred percent evil; here, Steiger is allowed to play a prejudiced man who is actually sympathetic and capable of growth. In a great twist, Virgil Tibbs himself is shown to be capable of prejudice, as he pursues Endicott without sufficient evidence. It's refreshing to see a movie that portrays the entire spectrum of racism, from the crazy extremists (and there are plenty of those on hand here) to the more subtly prejudiced. Nevertheless, In the Heat of the Night remains a powerful film that retains its ability to both entertain and make you think. Race relations have improved considerably in the three decades since the film was first released, but its message about the slippery nature of racism and the way imbedded, unquestioned beliefs can contaminate an entire community is one that should not quickly be
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