One definition of a good movie-reappraisal piece is that it makes you want to see the film in question again, even though your own aesthetic determinations for the last couple of decades have steered you away from this. Mark Harris‘s 2.5 Slate article about the 40th anniversary DVD of In The Heat of the Night is such a piece of writing.
Norman Jewison‘s 1967 police thriller put me to sleep with I first saw it, and I’d be hugely surprised if it didn’t have the same effect again. But thanks to Harris, I’ll be giving it a go. Despite Rod Steiger‘s cracker accent, which is pretty close to chalk on a blackboard. Despite the stacked-deck plot. Despite the rectitude of Sidney Poitier, which can be difficult to take. I would actually love to see it remade as a ’60s period comedy costarring Will Ferrell as Police Chief Bill Gillespie and Chris Rock as Det. Virgil Tibbs.