Updated: Feb 6, 2022
February is Black History Month. Let’s get it started with the honoring of an amazing actor, film director, and diplomat, Sidney Poitier. This brilliant human being, who kicked open doors for other actors of color in the industry to realize their dreams, passed away on January 6, 2022 at the tender age of 94.
His stellar performances, from The Defiant Ones to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, brought him many well-deserved accolades, including a Golden Globe and Academy Award win for his role as a handyman who helps a group of German nuns build a chapel in the film “Lilies of The Field.”
In 1974, Mr. Poitier was granted an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II and in 2009, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the highest honors in the United States, by President Barack Obama. This Hollywood Icon and activist will be greatly missed but never forgotten.
“In the Heat of The Night” (1967), a mystery drama directed by Norman Jewison, is my film pick for Poitier. Based on a novel written by John Ball, the picture is about Virgil Tibbs, a black police detective from Philadelphia, who is mistakenly suspected of murder while passing through a small, racist town in Mississippi. After being cleared, he is asked by the police chief to help investigate the murder case.
This movie is fantastic. This highly successful film paved the way to a sequel “They Call me Mister Tibbs!” (1970) and the 1988 television series of the same name, featuring Carroll O’Connor as Police Chief Willam Gillespie and Howard Rollins as Virgil Tibbs.
So, grab some corn, your favorite drink, and prepare of the slap that was heard around the world. This scene alone is worth the watch. “In the Heat of the Night” can be rented on Amazon prime, Apple TV, and YouTube for $3.99.