Monday, January 07, 2008

"In the Heat of the Night"

The time periods in which the movies we watched over break and “In the Heat of the Night” were made, have drastic effects on the prejudice and chemistry between characters. For example I am sure that now, in the present day, there are multiple towns in the Deep South that are still racist, but not like a Mississippi town in 1967. Virgil is has walked into a place in which the people have already assumed he is a lesser human being.

The idea of racism is hidden within Lethal Weapon and Beverly Hills Cop; whereas in “The Heat of the Night” the bigotry is blatantly forced upon Sidney Poitier. For example when Sam Wood goes searching for the murderer of Mr. Colbert he finds Virgil and immediately calls him “boy,” a derogatory term for white slave owners to call blacks. Furthermore Mr. Tibbs does not even gain the respect of the chief of police, who is offended by the fact that a black man is not only a police officer, but receives more pay in a week than he does in an entire month.

-Nick capezzera

Throughout the movie Virgil has this cool about him which no one can disturb, not even the lynch mob that wants his head. It is comparable to the way Riggs handles himself against the antagonists in Lethal Weapon. He cannot be disturbed, and if the foe does manage to rile the confidence of Riggs the character comes back stronger with more passion to defeat the enemy than before. On top of the mobs out to behead Virgil, he has to deal with the constant barrage of prejudice by the people that he wants to assist. Virgil has a vendetta with the white police department that is insulted by his higher intelligence and well groomed manner.

There is a similarity between Eddie Murphy and Sidney Poitier about how they both have to gain the respect of a new police department, but Virgil must work past the hatred he receives just for being a black man. The link is apparent in both movies when the black cop has gained the respect from the white cops. But even when Virgil thinks he has become equal there is a racist man to bring him back down to the level in which he was assumed from the moment he was accused.


Blogger Vladigogo said...

Is the difference between Axel and Virgil because of time period 60s vs. 80s? Or is it because of the geographical difference? Beverly Hills doesn't seem racist at all in its treatment of Axel, do they? There doesn't seem to be any problem that he is black--but in Sparta there is a major problem with Virgil's skin color.

8:59 PM  

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