- Gareth Crook
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Updated: Jul 31, 2019
Filling holes in my cinema education this evening with In the Heat of the Night. I’m not sure how this came to be on my watchlist, but I’m sure glad it was. It has an air of a pulp noir, but much more menacing. Good ol boys of Mississippi struggling with the dashing eloquent Poitier, every bit the star and hero of the picture. I’m not sure if this was more shocking in ‘67 than it is now, but the fact that America still has such a terrible record with racism certainly is shocking. Poitier’s policeman thrown into a small southern town faces the resentment you’d expect, but it’s the bridges his character builds that really drives this. It’s full of excitement, be it in the tense race stand offs or the Quincey Jones scored chase sequences. It maybe 50 years old, but there’s still lessons to be learnt.