IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (1967)

Rod Steiger is a personal favorite thanks to Al Capone, Doctor Zhivago, and The Sergeant. This is considered his best movie but is more of an actor's workshop. He chews gum like someone without gum jacked-up on crystal meth. It's not only distracting, it reeks of performance. In the business, this is called an "activity" and it's simply too... active.

Sidney Poitier on the other hand is good, takes his time, and doesn't need to distract the audience from believing in his character. The opposite of overacting. And the best aspects of the movie have him not only surprising the narrow-minded locals that he's a good investigator because of his color, but the audience because of his young age: In his cadence there's a sort of edgy experience, but the film fails to back this up and seems, in a directorial sense, far too aware of itself (and its timely importance) while stretching a 48-minute story into two hours, and has dated elements that needed about five years to really hit home... in a realistic, non-forced, and at this point, less dated approach. GRADE: C+

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