Monday, January 07, 2008

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

In this film, Virgil is placed in an environment where he is practically the only black man in town (at least from what the audience sees) and he is unwanted. The town's feelings toward black people is shown right away when Officer Wood arrests Virgil for the murder without even questioning him - just assuming it must be him. It was very obvious that Virgil and the chief of police were completely opposite. Virgil was tall, dressed in a suit and tie, composed, and very intelligent when it came to his work; whereas the chief was short and stocky, dressed in his uniform but in a sloppy fashion, constantly chewing gum, and seemed to act like he knew what he was talking about when it came to work. The relationship between the two was a constant tug-of-war as the chief went back and forth on whether to let Virgil help him with the homicide investigation. This film definitely depicts racism with the town constantly verbally (and trying physically) attacking Virgil, and also when they go to the cotton field and talk to the owner. The owner was shocked to be treated as an equal by Virgil; also, other townspeople did not want Virgil in the room with them. It was very interesting how the point was constantly brought up how the views of black people were different in the South compared to the North – Virgil had to keep explaining that he was a cop from up north.


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