When wealthy businessman Phillip Colbert is found dead by a patrolling policeman in Sparta, Mississippi, Officer Sam Wood (Warren Oates) immediately assumes that the African American found loitering at the train station with excess cash in his wallet is the prime suspect, and his chief, Gillespie (Rod Steiger) is inclined to agree. That is until they discover the man, Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier), is an acclaimed and learned homicide detective from Philadelphia, who had been waiting for a connecting train after visiting his mother. After being prejudiced against and treated poorly, Tibbs wants nothing more than to catch his train and head home, but his own captain insists he stay and, when Colbert’s widow (Lee Grant) makes the same demand after Tibbs shows more detective skills than the Sparta force, Tibbs and Gillespie have no choice but to work together until the case is solved. Continue reading
This review was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip series for French Toast Sunday.
Curly (Gordon MacRae) loves Laurey (Shirley Jones), but pretends he doesn’t. Laurey loves him right back but is too stubborn to say so. Jud Fry (Rod Steiger) the farmhand lusts for Laurey too. Laurey’s friend Ado Annie (Gloria Grahame) is betrothed to Will Parker (Gene Nelson), but he can’t get Annie’s father’s permission until he has at least $50 to his name. Whilst Will has been earning the money in Kansas City, Annie has blossomed somewhat as a woman, and found herself with plenty of suitors, believing her most recent conquest, travelling salesman Ali Hakim (Eddie Albert), wants her for his wife. Laurey’s Aunt Eller (Charlotte Greenwood) watches everything with a wry smile and a disapproving eye, making remarks that aren’t funny, but which everyone in the film laughs raucously at anyway. Also: everyone sings.