Cheif Gillespie: What do they call you back in Pennsylvania!?
Virgil Tibbs: They call me MISTER Tibbs!
Chief Gillespie: Mr. Tibbs! Well Mr. Woods take Mr. Tibbs! Take him down to the depot and I mean boy like now!
A great movie all around, combining a murder mystery with themes of prejudice in the south.
A body turns up in the middle of a small town in Mississippi. The sheriff, Chief Gilespie played by Rod Steiger, tells his deputy to round up anyone at the edge of town who is suspicious. The deputy finds a well dressed black man at the train station and immediately takes him in. After some questioning, it is revealed that this man is Detective Tibbs, played by Sydney Poitier, the best homicide detective from Pennsylvania.
After dealing with his own chief, Tibbs is asked to help out with solving the murder in this little town, seeing as how they have no real experience in this field.
The man that was murdered was a wealthy industrialist, bringing a factory and jobs to the town, so now his wife has threatened to take that away unless they let Tibbs help, seeing as how she has seen his expertise in action.
Chief Gillespie: I got the motive which is money and the body which is dead.
While apprehensive, both Tibbs and Gilespie have to learn to work together, despite their differences, to solve the crime.
The story is great for all sorts of reasons. Its well handled, unfolding the mystery carefully and plausibly. The prejudice issue is also handled well, making use of it as a theme that helps the story out.
Both Poitier and Steiger are great here. They both play people skilled in a certain degree and with personalities that clash and develop to an extent.
Director Norman Jewison handles the film appropriately, with good camera work and editing. The soundtrack is also a good combination of mystery beats and a Ray Charles themes song.
Great movie all around.
Tibbs: Now listen, hear me good mama. Please. Don't make me have to send you to jail... There's white time in jail and there's color time in jail. The worst kind of time you can do is color time.