Customer Reviews: In the Heat of the Night (40th Anniversary Collector's Edition)
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on February 4, 2008
You know, that old saying, "Opinions, is like...(You know), everyone has one? I suppose, that can also apply to movie reviews, too. I read the review, that someone sent in, on the 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition of, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT. It was very enlightening, but there was something about it, that just didn't make sense. That person indicated in their review, that there wasn't anything different in the 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD, of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, which was released a few weeks ago, from the original DVD version, which was released, in 2005. When I read that person's review, I said to myself, "Well, there's no sense buying it again, just for the movie alone". Then, it occurred to me. Why would the studios release a great movie, like this one, on it, "The 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition"...and not have any special features, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the film? According to the review, of that person, and unfortunately, according the lack of special features info, on the Amazon page, I believed that person, and Amazon...Until the other night, when I saw the "The 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition" DVD of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, in the store. I flipped the cover around only to find out that there're not 1...not 2, but 3 featurettes:
3) QUNICY JONES: BREAKING NEW SOUND...(Which is worth buying the DVD for)
So, I bought it. I suppose, the point of all of this is. Actually, there're two points:
Don't go by only one's opinion or one's review, and the most important point: Amazon, you have a great web page, and we all know that you're trying to cut costs, but remember: You're trying to save, but in long run, you'll be losing...losing money and customers.
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on May 19, 2002
Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger almost set the screen afire in this film that deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1967. Superbly directed by Norman Jewison, the movie brings us into deepest Mississippi one summer midnight, when a northern industrialist with plans to build a new factory is found murdered in the middle of Sparta's main street. At the same time, Virgil Tibbs, a black detective from Los Angeles, is waiting at the station for the train that will take him back home from visiting his mother.

This being Mississippi, and a black man out after dark, it must have been the black man who committed the murder, right? Tibbs is hauled into the sheriff's office and brought face to face with Bill Gillespie, the epitome of every redneck law officer south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Gillespie's reaction to Tibbs is first contempt (this is a black man after all), suspicion at his full wallet ("Boy, that's more in a week than I make in a month, now where did you earn that?"), and finally shock, when Tibbs hurls the response into his face, "I'm a police officer."

Gillespie is further stunned to realize that Tibbs' contempt for him is at least as great as his for Tibbs, when he hears Tibbs telling his superiors over the phone "They got a murder on their hands, they don't know what to do with it." Tibbs' boss volunteers Tibbs's services as a homicide expert to Gillespie, who doesn't particularly want to accept, but he doesn't have much of a choice; the industrialist's widow says if her husband's murder isn't solved and fast, there won't be any factory anywhere. The resulting reluctant partnership between the two men is a pairing unlike any seen on screen; they resent each other but they can't solve the crime without each other; Gillespie needs Tibbs' expertise, and Tibbs needs Gillespie's protection from the local rednecks who want him dead.

The movie wonderfully evokes the atmosphere of a small town in the deep south, the abject poverty in which most of the blacks in the area lived, and the attitudes of the whites in town that made it dangerous for any black man to stand tall as a man. At the movie's end, Gillespie hasn't changed his views about blacks, but he has come to respect Tibbs as a lawman and as a human being; and Tibbs comes to realize that inside of Gillespie's hardshell racist attitudes is a decent man struggling to get out. The acting, the directing, and above all, Quincy Jones's magnificent score, made this one of the best movies of the 1960's and for years beyond.

Judy Lind
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on March 25, 2008
I live in Sparta Illinois where the movie was filmed in the fall of 1966. It took several viewings back in 1967 before I could get past the "I know whose house that is," and " Why did Stieger drive all the way around the block to get to the Mayor's place?"
Anyway, I wanted to add that the sound quality on this release is excellent. You can hear the rocks popping off of the police car's tires as Warren Oates slowly drives away from the diner. I also found the extras to be most interesting. The one on Quincy Jones and the soundtrack was very informative.
To fans of the film and its companions in the 1967 Oscar race I would also recomend "Pictures at A Revolution: Five movies and the Birth of the new Hollywood" by Mark Harris.
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on January 14, 2014
Having seen the original release in the movie house, and owning the VHS and DVD, I can tell you the re-master is GREAT! Others have written of the outstanding production this was as well as the superb acting. Add to that an almost flawless re-master - and you have a great 110 minutes of a classic film.
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on January 15, 2001
"In the Heat of the Night" excels not only because of the story but also because of a composite cast that works so well. The acting is sometimes over the top (as the director admits during the DVD commentary), but such shenanigans fit in this type of film. Multiple viewings help in the understanding of how detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) unravels the mystery of who killed the rich Northerner in a Southern town. Though somewhat dated because of the racist subject, it still holds together as a who-done-it and deserved better recognition from the American Film Institute when that group named its 100 best films of the century. Among that Top 100 was another 1967 Poitier film, "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," which does not hold up well today. And for the record, Poitier was likely overlooked by the Academy Awards here because he starred in three box office bonanzas in '67, the third being "To Sir With Love." Instead, the Oscar went to 'Heat of the Night' co-star Rod Steiger. As for the DVD, there are some visible scratches in the film, and there is only a commentary track with no other extras. A "making of" documentary would have been nice, but the four-person commentary (director Norman Jewison, cinematographer Haskell Wexler and actors Lee Grant and Steiger) serves well. This one is worth owning for the low price attached, although the video transfer and packaging could have been handled with more repect. It deserves it.
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on January 25, 2014
I've loved this film forever--since it came out--for its dialog, story, acting, relevance (then especially), and a few interesting plot twists. I don't know if it's one of the top 10 movies ever made, but it's one of my top 10 favs to view. It DID win the Best Picture Oscar for 1967, as well as Best Actor for Steiger (both well-deserved).

The blu-ray provides a near-great picture, with vivid and accurate colors, and reasonable sharpness on an HD TV for a 1967 film. The choice of cameras/film evidently gives this less than the stellar sharpness and clarity in blu-ray of some movies made at the time or earlier ("The Ten Commandments," "The Battle of the Bulge," and "2001: A Space Odyssey" being the gold standards, in my opinion, for blu-rays for the 1950s and 1960s, respectively). But, alas, "In the Heat of the Night" is not a 70mm production. It's a bit softer and warmer of a picture, but plenty sharp enough. The sound is good but not special in any way.

All things considered, an excellent job was done remastering this for blu-ray.

However, there is no separate menu, but instead one that can be brought up from the bottom of the screen and then lowered to make it disappear, all while the movie continues to play, and the film always starts immediately when loaded into your blu-ray player. In this respect, they could have made it seem less cheap.

All in all, though, I'm very pleased to own this blu-ray for its picture and sound quality, the extras (same as on the most recent DVD), and as always, for the best presentation of this fantastic movie itself.
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on February 25, 2002
I lost track of how many times I've watched this movie over the years and yet, I still find it stimulating to my system. Taking place in the redneck driven byways in the Mississippi of the 1960's, not only does it make a sweeping social statement on racial bias and ignorance, but it's also one entertaining vision of cinema. Sidney Poitier is masterful as Virgil Tibbs, a "colored" homicide detective from Philadelphia, in the wrong place at the right time as a sleepy little river town comes to grips with the death of a big business man who was to be the holy grail of local commerce until his untimely death. It is Rod Steiger, however who burns brightest as a midlife police chief with no family and a metric ton of issues which he vents through misplaced anger and cools at night in a bottle of bourbon as he attempts to bring the murder case to resolution as quickly as possible, regardless of the truth."No pity. No thank YOU!" One of my all time favorites.
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on March 22, 2014
Review of the film - "In the Heat of the Night" has a lot going for it including (1) Best Picture of 1967 (both Oscar and Golden Globe), (2) Great mystery that will keep you guessing, (3) Moving performances by Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger (Oscar and Golden Globe winner), and others (see below), (4) Sharp and intelligent dialogue (written by Stirling Silliphant, winner of Oscar and Golden Globe for adapted screenplay), Precise and methodical direction (by Norman Jewison, nominated for Oscar and Golden Globe), Memorable music score by Quincy Jones (Grammy nominee), (6) Mostly shot on location in and around Sparta, Illinois (not in Sparta, Mississippi where the story is set) with many places still findable including the bridge where Rod Steiger slowly chases down the suspect, Harvey Oberst! The Chester Bridge across the Mississippi River connects Chester, Illinois and Perryville, Missouri. (7) Many memorable lines by Poitier and Steiger that have become part of film history including "They call me, Mister Tibbs!". (8) Other performances are also noteworthy by Lee Grant, Warren Oates, Larry Gates (the recipient of "The Slap!"), Beah Richards (always wonderful), Quentin Dean ("Delores", seen nicely through a window with strategically placed mullions!), and Scott Wilson (As the aforementioned suspect chased down slowly by Rod Steiger, this was Scott Wilson's first film role. Scott is best known today for his charismatic role as "Hershel Greene" in "The Walking Dead"! You've come a long way, Scott! "In the Heat of the Night" truly is a classic as are both of Sidney Poitier's other 1967 films: "To Sir With Love" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner".

Review of the Blu-ray disc - It provides the best viewing of "In the Heat of the Night" yet! I have the VHS tape and earlier DVD discs and the Blu-ray is nearly perfect. The colors and the sound have never appeared or sounded better. It is also the best wide screen version I have ever seen including the original screenings in Atlanta in 1967. Extras for films that are this old (47 years!) are not always available or of very good quality. The ones included here are not new (I do not think) but they have not (to my knowledge) been available before. All are enjoyable.
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on March 14, 2014
In the Heat of the Night was always one of my favorite movies. And not just because of its devastatingly direct racial theme--just as relevant today--but because Norman Jewison is one of the very few Hollywood directors that can make an utterly serious movie (or for that matter a comic one) fun to watch. The plot unfolds step by step adding to the mystery of a murder in a Southern town; keeping suspense to a pitch; the characters are believable roughneck southerners, and the two top ones--Rod Steiger, who was rewarded with an Oscar, and Sydney Poitier solidified his place as America's top black actor--and a pioneer-- of his time "The slap that was heard around the world," when Mr. Chips slaps a prominent citizen is worth watching this movie. This movie resonates on many levels; glad to see it in Blu-ray, and great form.
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on April 30, 2003
One of the decade's best Oscar winning films (but lamentably, not for its true star, Sidney Poitier). those who only know the television series which is tepid by comparison have really missed out. It is a marvelous study in race relations, driven by two of the best performances ever by Sidney Poitier (portraying a Philadelphia homicide detective called a "powerful piece of po-lice manpower by Rod Steiger, as the redneck sheriff of a small Mississippi town). They are thrust together when confronted with the murder of the most influential man in town.
For some, the confronting of race in this film does not seem as dated as another reviewer suggests. It is fascinating to see Poitier, one of the only African American stars of the time play a role here in such contrast to his roles as a most polite, non threatening Negro in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and "To Sir, With Love". We can tell this is a different kind of man, from the first time he confronts the Sheriff. When asked if he will be the cause of any trouble, his response "no trouble at all" is delivered with quiet but chilling self- assuredness that lets everyone know that even in the Sheriff's office, HE is the one in control.
There is one interesting change of the original script. Legend has it that the script originally called for Poitier's character to stoically accept a slap in the face from an old Southerner he's questioning admirably portrayed by William Schallert). Poitier opined that it would be a much more powerful scene in instead of turning the other cheek, he returned the same slap. He did, and made it one of the more powerful moments in the film.
Great quotable movie line, exclaimed by Rod Steiger: "I got the motive which is money and the body which is dead!" Super supporting cast, including the aforementioned Schallert, Warren Oates, Scott Wilson, and Lee Grant. Its great right down to the title song, sung with more soul than can be contained in any one man - save Ray Charles.
A movie to be seen time and time again, and certainly one for the library.
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