While traveling in the Deep South to visit his mother, African-American homicide detective Virgil Tibbs becomes unwittingly embroiled in the racial tensions of the small town Sparta, Mississippi after he is arrested for the murder of a wealthy businessman. When the bigoted town sheriff Bill Gillespie finds out that Tibbs is Philadelphia PD’s best homicide detective, he is reluctantly paired up with Tibbs to investigate the crime, as neither man can solve the case alone. Putting aside their differences and prejudices, they join forces in a desperate race against time to discover the shocking truth.
We kick off our xenophobia induced classic program with a sweltering Deep South classic released only two years after the end of the Jim Crow segregation laws and a year before Dr. King was assassinated. Sydney Poitier demanded the film would be shot in Illinois after he and Harry Belafonte were almost killed by the KKK during a trip to Mississippi. The film is carried by a commanding Poitier as Virgil Tibbs but also sports a fantastic supporting cast including Warren Oates, Lee Grant and Rod Steiger. Scored by a young Quincy Jones with a title song by the late great Ray Charles, this classic will be shown as the first feature of a two-parter with the 1984 Eddie Murphy action comedy Beverly Hills Cop.
Cast: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant
Drama, Misdaad, MysterieLand: VS
Speelduur: 110 minuten