Monday, January 07, 2008

In the Heat of the Night

“In the Heat of the Night” is quite different from the movies which we watched over the break. Unlike the other two films, race is the predominant issue between the black cop and the white cop, as opposed to race not neccessarily being an issue in the others. The first time we are introduced to Virgil, he is being arrested for a murder that he knows nothing about; he is suspected of this crime solely because of the color of his skin. This sets the scene for the rest of the movie and the continuous racism that will flow throughout. I find it very strange that the white cops strongly dislike him because of his blackness, and continually undermine him, even arresting him twice, yet they do not follow through on the threats to send him home and keep asking for his help time after time. The movie does show growth in the white cops’ attitudes towards Virgil in the sense that in the beginning they wanted absolutely no help from him and towards the end, he is now willing to except the fact that Virgil may actually know more than him in this instance. I believe this may have been a statement as to the time period in which racism was slowly becoming less of an issue.
When digging deeper into the movie, there are similarities that can be drawn between Virgil and Axel Foley. Both characters are black cops in a predominantly white town trying to solve crimes that the white cops don’t completely want their help solving. In both cases, the white “boss” cops are very hesitant to accept the help of somebody whom they view as an outsider and inferior to their “cop” knowledge. They both also end up coming through in the end and completing their cause.


Blogger Vladigogo said...

You are right that there is an overlap between Axel and Virgil in helping out the white cops, but what are the differences between the two of them and their situation?

8:47 PM  
Blogger Madeline Obler said...

I agree there could be some similarities drawn between Axel Foley and Virgil Tibbs. They are both rejected by white men, however, I think the situations are extremely different and that has to be taken into consideration. The white men in “In the Heat of the Night” outwardly rejected Tibbs plainly stating their rejection was due to the fact that he was a black man. The white men in “Beverly Hills Cop” reject Foley’s ideas for different reasons. The chief in Beverly Hills was warned by Foley’s chief in Detroit that he was spontaneous and, though clever, did not always make the best choices as a cop.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Vladigogo said...

So we have a mirror image between the two films:

Virgil is rejected for his race even though he is highly qualified.

Axel is rejected because of his behavior and not because of his race.

Is this true?

9:42 PM  
Blogger Danny said...

I think that is correct that he is rejected because of actions and not race, but he also is treated a little differently because of race as well; for instance how the story of why he is thrown out of the building changes from the real reason. I think his race proably had a little effect on this.

7:33 PM  

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