Michael Schlesinger on

In the Heat of the Night

Released 1967
Distributor United Artists
Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger star in this incendiary drama about a black detective tasked with solving a murder in the still-segregated Mississippi of 1967 – times being what they are, Norman Jewison’s film continues to pack a punch. And speaking of punches, Poitier’s then-shocking retaliation against a supercilious old bigot upended movie theaters both north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

About Michael Schlesinger

Michael Schlesinger is widely acknowledged as the dean of classic film distributors, having worked for more than 25 years at MGM, Paramount and Sony, keeping hundreds of vintage movies in theatrical release (and later DVD), and instigating the restoration of many more, including the completion of Orson Welles' 1942 documentary It's All True some 50 years later. Behind the camera, he wrote and produced the American version of Godzilla 2000, co-produced such Larry Blamire parodies as The Lost Skeleton Returns Again and Dark and Stormy Night, and has written, produced and directed several short films featuring the faux-1930s comedy team of Biffle and Shooster. No power on Earth will ever convince him that It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World is not the Greatest. Movie. Ever.