IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT | Dir. Norman Jewison | 1967 | 109 min
After being falsely accused of murder by Police Chief Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger), African-American police detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) eventually joins forces with Gillespie to track down the real killer. Their investigation takes them through every social level of the racially charged town of Sparta, Mississippi, with Tibbs making enemies as well as unlikely friends as he hunts for the truth.
In the Heat of the NIght is the second “Wexler” film that forms our Spotlight Series on American cinematographers Gordon Willis and Haskell Wexler. To learn more about this scintillating series, read our Whitepaper written by Cinematheque Board Member and Programmer Felicia Glatz:
EXCERPT: “The same year that Wexler collected his academy award, he filmed Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night. In an interview with Trevor Hogg, Wexler recalled some of “daring” technical innovations that he brought with him to the project. Lighting was of course a crucial feature in the film and Wexler pulled out all the stops to increase and convey the intensity of each scene through light design. In conversation with Trevor Hogg, he recalled “I put airplane landing lights into cars so that the intensity of lights were adequate to deal with colour.” Many scenes benefited greatly from Wexler’s soft bounced light, achieved through the use of umbrellas and diffusers or sometimes reflected right off of the ceiling. Littered with moments of shaky hand-held shots to uncomfortably intrusive close-ups, this portrayal of a painfully insular town brings racial tension to a boil. Pitting Virgil Tibbs (Sydney Poitier) and Sheriff Gillespie (Rob Steiger) toe to toe in the most claustrophobic interiors, exaggerating the vast nothingness bordering the bigoted town. Tibbs treads carefully among the backwoods crowd of suspects intent on maintaining his own integrity and that of the law.”
- To READ the whole White Paper click here.
Academy Awards, USA 1968 - Won (Oscar, Best Picture | Walter Mirisch, Best Actor in a Leading Role | Rod Steiger, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium | Stirling Silliphant, Best Sound, Best Film Editing | Hal Ashby), Nominated (Oscar, Best Director | Norman Jewison, Best Effects, Sound Effects | James Richard)
Golden Globes, USA 1968 - Won (Golden Globe, Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Actor - Drama | Rod Steiger, Best Screenplay | Stirling Silliphant), Nominated (Golden Globe, Best Director | Norman Jewison, Best Actor - Drama | Sidney Poitier, Best Supporting Actress | Lee Grant, Best Supporting Actress | Quentin Dean)
BAFTA Awards 1968 - Won (BAFTA Film Award, Best Foreign Actor | Rod Steiger), Won
(UN Award | Norman Jewison), Nominated (BAFTA Film Award, Best Film from any Source | Norman Jewison, Best Foreign Actor | Sidney Poitier)
American Cinema Editors, USA 1968 - Nominated (Eddie, Best Edited Feature Film | Hal Ashby)
Directors Guild of America, USA 1968 - Nominated (DGA Award, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures | Norman Jewison)
Edgar Allan Poe Awards 1968 - Won (Edgar, Best Motion Picture | Stirling Silliphant)
Grammy Awards 1968 - Nominated (Grammy, Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show | Quincy Jones)
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards 1967 - Won (KCFCC Award, Best Actor | Rod Steiger) Tied with Paul Scofield for A Man for All Seasons (1966).
Laurel Awards 1968 - Won (Golden Laurel | Drama, Male Dramatic Performance | Rod Steiger), Nominated (Golden Laurel, Male Dramatic Performance | Sidney Poitier)
National Film Preservation Board, USA 2002 - Won (National Film Registry)
National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 1968 - Won (NSFC Award, Best Actor
Rod Steiger. Best Cinematography | Haskell Wexler)
New York Film Critics Circle Awards 1967 - Won (NYFCC Award | Best Film, Best Actor | Rod Steiger), Nominated (NYFCC Award, Best Director | Norman Jewison). Tied with Arthur Penn for Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
Online Film & Television Association 2016 - Won (OFTA Film Hall of Fame, Motion Picture)
Sant Jordi Awards 1969 - Won (Sant Jordi, Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera) | Norman Jewison, Best Performance in a Foreign Film (Mejor Interpretación en Película Extranjera) | Rod Steiger, For The Loved One and No Way to Treat a Lady)
Writers Guild of America, USA 1968 - Nominated (WGA Award (Screen), Best Written American Drama | Stirling Silliphant)
In the Heat of the Night is the second title in our SPOTLIGHT: WILLIS AND WEXLER series.