In the Heat of the Night


Sunday, Nov. 12 at 1:30pm
St. Louis Public Library

As timely and relevant as it was in 1967 — an especially fraught time in the civil-rights movement, when American cities were riven by race riots — “In the Heat of the Night” celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. An Oscar® winner as Best Picture, the film was shot in nearby Sparta, Ill. — only 50 miles from St. Louis — because star Sidney Poitier feared for his life if the production were based in the South. In the film, Philadelphia police detective Virgil Tibbs (Poitier) is arrested on suspicion of murder by Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger), the racist police chief of tiny Sparta, Miss. After Tibbs proves his innocence, he joins forces with Gillespie to track down the real killer. Their investigation takes them through every social level of the town, with Tibbs making both enemies and unlikely friends as he hunts for the truth.

109 min.

Directed by

Norman Jewison

Film Category

Archival Presentations Mean Streets: Viewing the Divided City Through the Lens of Film and Television Race in America: The Black Experience Show-Me Cinema


With Novotny Lawrence, associate professor of Race, Media, and Popular Culture in the Radio, Television, and Digital Media Department at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Shown with

The Streets of Greenwood

The Streets of Greenwood

Jack Willis, Fred Wardenburg & John Reavis

Recently restored by Washington University Libraries' Film & Media Archive, the film chronicles the voter-registration efforts of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Greenwood, Miss., in the summer of 1963.

21 min.