Monday, January 09, 2006

In The Heat of the Night is different than a lot of cop/action movies I have seen. Most of the movies I have seen and we have discussed in class include race and discrimination as a small theme throughout the film, but this film is basically based on it. The character of Virgil is portrayed as a very intelligent, wealthy black man who discriminated simply because he is black. The time period of the film is the 1960’s, when segregation was still an issue in the U.S. Virgil is good at controlling himself, but he has to put up with people thinking he is a criminal, stupid, or good for nothing just based on his race.

I really like Virgil in this movie because he proves to everyone that he is more than just an out of town black man in a suit. In the beginning of the film, we see that the cops and chief do not respect him. He is arrested for no reason, and then makes the chief and Sam feel ashamed when they find out that he’s a cop. One by one, the characters in the movie begin the trust and actually look up to Virgil, because they know that he is much more intelligent and has much more skill than they do. As far as Virgil and the chief as “buddy cops,” I noticed that, like everyone else, it took the chief time to accept Virgil, but by the end he and Virgil were actually friends.

In both books by King and Guerrero, the theme of cops being lonely and without families is discussed. This is also seen in In The Heat of the Night, at the end when the chief and Virgil are at the house, just talking. The chief explains that he has no wife or children, and that he is lonely. Overall, I though this movie was very well made and portrayed black and white cops in a way that I had never seen before.


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