Best Picture Winners Part 40 (of 87): In the Heat of the Night

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Title: In the Heat of the Night
Year: 1967
Starring: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Scott Wilson
Runtime: 1 hr 49 mins

What It Is: In Sparta, Mississippi there’s a murder that has occurred. In an attempt to solve it the ill-intentioned Sparta Policeman Sam Wood (Warren Oates) has detained a Mr. Virgil Tibbs (Poitier). His crime? Being black in Mississippi. Back at the station it is discovered that Tibbs is a homicide specialist in Philadelphia. Of course at first this is hard for the racist policeman of Sparta to believe, but after a call to his Philly PD chief he agrees to help these small town cops with their murder. All the while he is dealing with the rampant racism that runs through the core of 1960’s Mississippi.

Memorable Quote: Chief Gillespie: I got the motive which is money and the body which is dead.

Competition: Incredible! Bonnie & Clyde is responsible for a groundswell change in not just the way movies are made but their content. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are marvels. It’s acting is so good it’s the only Best Picture nominee to get nominations in every acting category. Next up we have Dr. Dolittle which features previous Best Actor winner Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady) takes on the doctor who can speak to animals. How exactly did this get a nominated? *RESEARCHES* Oh, bribery! This is a terrible film. It’s boring overwrought and way too long. 2 and a half hours! Of a crazy Englishman talking to animals…why? Holy crap The Graduate is a seminal piece of 60’s cinema. Mike Nichols brings the best out of a very young Dustin Hoffman and a past her prime Anne Bancroft. To top it all off this Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack is just killer.Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner continues Sidney Poitier’s great year of 1967. How he didn’t receive a nomination for either of his performances is ridiculous. I’d like to note his performance here and his working off of 2 great actors in Best Actor nominee and previous winner Spencer Tracy and Best Actress winner Katharine Hepburn. Stanley Kramer keeps it tight and it’s a film I genuinely enjoy. I’d like to point Cool Hand Luke and Wait Until Dark both of which are fantastic films.

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