Posts Tagged ‘sidney poitier’

If you’ve been to, oh say, any store in the last couple of weeks, you are well aware of what time of year it is — Father’s Day. And of course all the stores are telling you, in brightly colored signs, what your father needs to make that day complete — things like a new tie, a fancy touch screen watch or perhaps a tri-speed, 9 gauge wireless razor of the future. Well, what if instead of listening to all those advertisers, you listened to little ole me. Rather than buying your pops a gift that will be over-priced and under-used, why don’t you plop down and watch one of these three father-centric classic films with him instead. Trust me, time with you is worth all the new ties in the world!


Spencer Tracy, Father of the bride, classic film, vincente minnelli

Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Bennet star in Father of the Bride (1950, Vincente Minnelli director)


spencer tracy, guess whos coming to dinner, classic film, stanley kramer

Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn and Katharine Houghton star in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967, Stanley Kramer director)


Gregory Peck, classic film, the yearling, Clarence Brown

Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman star in The Yearling (1947, Clarence Brown director)



Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

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12. In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Other Nominated Films:
Bonnie and Clyde, Doctor Dolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Prior to compiling this countdown list, I’d never seen a Sidney Poitier movie. I knew who he was, and I knew about the profound effect he had on movie history — but I never had the opportunity to see one of his films.  You could say that Poitier was the first major black movie star — he was the first black actor to be nominated for a competitive Academy Award (The Defiant Ones); he was the first black actor to win the Best Actor award (Lilies of the Field); he played roles that defied previous racial stereotypes; and by 1967 he was a MAJOR box office draw.  With that being said, I’m glad In the Heat of the Night was my first Poitier film. And I’m glad that my first two memories of Poitier will be his delivery of the iconic line, “They call me MISTER Tibbs!”, and his performance, as Mr. Tibbs, reacting to being slapped by a white man — by slapping the white man right back. Wow. While Poitier gives one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen, in my opinion he’s actually topped by his co-star, Rod Steiger (and that’s saying a lot). Steiger is just so convincing and so stinging in his portrayal of the arrogant and prejudiced Police Chief Bill Gillespie. In a way, In the Heat of the Night could be considered a character study of two men, of different races, who are on the same mission with the same goal. And although Tibbs and Gillespie start out on the wrong foot and use different methods to solve crime, they eventually put their differences aside and work together. Steiger would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, while Virgin Tibbs would go on to be ranked as one of the top 50 heroes by the American Film Institute.

Nominated for 7 Oscars, Winner of 5

Best Actor in a Leading Role – Rod Steiger (WON)
Best Film Editing – Hal Ashby (WON)
Best Picture – Walter Mirisch (WON)
Best Sound – Samuel Goldwyn SSD (WON)
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium – Stirling Silliphant (WON)
Best Director – Norman Jewison
Best Effects, Sounds Effects – James Richards

Virgil Tibbs: They call me MISTER Tibbs!


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