In The Heat Of The Night Movie: An American Mystery Drama!
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About In The Heat Of The Night Movie
In the Heat of the Night Movie is an American mystery-drama film that came out in 1967. It was directed by Norman Jewison. It is based on John Ball’s 1965 novel of the same name and tells the story of Virgil Tibbs, a Black police detective from Philadelphia who gets involved in a murder investigation in a small town in Mississippi. It was made by Walter Mirisch, and Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger are in it. Stirling Silliphant wrote the script for the movie.
The film was up for seven Oscars at the 40th Academy Awards. It won five, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Steiger. “They call me Mister Tibbs!” was number 16 on the American Film Institute’s list of the best movie quotes, 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes. The movie is also on the AFI’s list of the 100 best American movies, 100 Years…100 Movies. The Library of Congress chose the film for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 2002 because it was “important culturally, historically, or aesthetically.”
- Virgil Tibbs, played by Sidney Poitier
- Rod Steiger as Gillespie
- As Sam Wood, Warren Oates
- Mrs. Colbert, played by Lee Grant
- Endicott, played by Larry Gates
- Mr. Purdy, played by James Patterson
- William Schallert as Mayor Schubert
- Beah Richards as Mama Caleba
- Courtney, played by Peter Whitney
- Kermit Murdock as Henderson
- As Watkins, Larry D. Mann
- Matt Clark as Packy
- As Ulam, Arthur Malet
- Dr. Stuart, played by Fred Stewart
- Delores, played by Quentin Dean
- Scott Wilson played Harvey Oberst.
- As a scumbag, Timothy Scott
- McNeil, played by William C. Watson
- Charles Hawthorne, played by Eldon Quick
- Stuart Nisbet as Shuie
- Khalil Bezaleel as Jess
- Peter Masterson plays Fryer.
- As butler, Jester Hairston
- As the first tough, Phil Adams
- Nikita Knatz comes in second.
- As clerk, Sam Reese
- As Ralph, Anthony James
- As deputy, Clegg Hoyt (uncredited)
- Alan Oppenheimer played Ted Appleton (uncredited)
- Buzz Barton was in charge of the train (uncredited)
The movie was set in Sparta, Mississippi, but most of it was shot in Sparta, Illinois, where many of the landmarks from the movie can still be seen.
During filming, Jewison, Poitier, and Steiger worked together and got along well. However, Jewison had trouble with the authorities in the South, and Poitier was hesitant to film south of the Mason–Dixon line. Even though they didn’t want to, Jewison decided to shoot part of the movie in Dyersburg and Union City, Tennessee. The rest was shot in Sparta, Chester (a chase scene with Harvey Oberst), and Freeburg (Compton’s diner), Illinois.
In the book, there is no scene where Tibbs hits Endicott. Poitier says that the scene almost didn’t make it into the movie. Poitier says the following in the book Civil Rights and Race Relations in the USA: “I said, “I’ll make this movie for you if you promise that when he slaps me, I’ll slap him right back, and you promise that this scene will be in every version of this movie.” I try not to do things that go against nature.” In his book, Pictures at a Revolution, Mark Harris says that copies of the original draught of the screenplay show the scene exactly as it was filmed. Both Jewison and Silliphant have confirmed this. But Poitier is right that Tibbs slapping Endicott was not what was planned at first. After Endicott hit him, Silliphant’s first step-by-step plan said: “Tibbs has to try very hard to hold himself back. The servant bows his head and begins to pray. Tibbs says with anger, “For him, Uncle Tom! Not for me!”” The first time we see Tibbs’ counter slap is in Silliphant’s revised step-outline.
Silliphant rewrote In the Heat of the Night as a subversive Christian allegory, with Tibbs as the messianic outsider who challenges the racist establishment of Sparta. This is why Tibbs asks the butler to pray for Endicott.
The movie is also important because it was the first big Hollywood movie in colour that was lit with black people in mind. Haskell Wexler noticed that when strong lighting was used for filming, people with dark skin got too much glare, which made it hard to see their faces. So, Wexler changed the lighting so that the photos of Poitier would look better.
Quincy Jones wrote, arranged, and led the music for the movie. The soundtrack album came out in 1967 on the United Artists label. The title song, sung by Ray Charles and written by Quincy Jones with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, was released as a single by ABC Records. It reached #33 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #21 on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart.
Steven McDonald of AllMusic said that the soundtrack had a “tone of righteous fury” and that the goal of In the Heat of the Night was to create a Southern, blues-influenced atmosphere to match the angry, anti-racist tone of the movie, even though the cues from In the Heat of the Night are showing their age. The Vinyl Factory said, “This soundtrack for a movie about racism in the South has a cool, decidedly Southern-fried sound with funk-bottomed bluesy touches, like on the strutting “Cotton Curtain,” the “down ‘n’ dirty” “Whipping Boy,” or the “fat ‘n’ sassy” “Chief’s Drive to Mayor.”
The Box Office
The movie opened in New York City on August 2, 1967, at the Capitol Theatre and the 86th Street East Theatre. It made $108,107 in its first five days. It opened in Miami Beach, Florida, and Toronto, Canada, on Friday, August 4, and made $20,974 for the weekend. When added to the money it made in New York, this made a total of $95,806 for the weekend. It came out soon after riots between people of different races in Newark, Milwaukee, and Detroit. By January 1971, Americans and Canadians had paid $11 million to see the movie in theatres.
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