In the Heat of the Night

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 4/19/22;
Kino Lorber;
Mystery Drama;
$30.99 DVD, $38.99, Blu-ray, $45.99 UH BD;
Rated ‘PG-13.’
Stars Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant, Larry Gates, James Patterson, William Schallert, Beah Richards.

What’s that they say about one man’s meat? With most of the big studios focused on their corporate parents’ streaming ventures, classic movies polished up for disc release have become something of an afterthought (Paramount is a notable exception here).

Enter independents like Shout! Factory, Criterion and Kino Lorber, who are more than happy to pick up some of Hollywood’s timeless, ageless gems and give them the VIP treatment they deserve.

Kino Lorber’s stunning 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of director Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night, starring the late Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, comes just about three years after Criterion released a regular Blu-ray of the film after doing its own 4K scan. But if timing is everything, score one for Kino Lorber, which is releasing its 4K edition just three months after Poitier’s death and at a time when the social justice movement, triggered by the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, continues to flourish.

Film buffs will be all too familiar with the 1967 mystery thriller in which racial relations are a central theme. Steiger is cast as a small-town Mississippi sheriff who finds himself working closely with a Black homicide detective from a big Northern city, Philadelphia, portrayed by Poitier. Both men are strong-willed and a product of their environment, but as they work to solve a brutal crime together, they are forced to reconcile their inherent prejudice for each other. They ultimately achieve justice, but, perhaps more importantly, they also develop mutual respect and even admiration.

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The film features a brilliant score by Quincy Jones and vivid cinematography by Haskell Wexler.

In the Heat of the Night received seven Oscar nominations and won five awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor (for Steiger). The film appears on  AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies list, and in 2002 was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry for its cultural and historical significance. A year later, the film In 2003, was hailed by The New York Times as one of the 1000 Best Movies Ever Made.

In the Heat of the Night was initially released on Blu-ray Disc in 2014 by MGM, through 20th Century Fox, which has since been swallowed up by Disney. Criterion’s Blu-ray edition came in 2019.

The clarity of Kino’s 4K presentation is one of those “you need to see it” moments, and bonus features include a new audio commentary by film historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson with Robert Mirisch, the nephew of producer Walter Mirisch.

‘Game 6’ and ‘Modern Vampires’ Due on Blu-ray March 22 From Ronin Flix and MVD

The comedic sports drama Game 6 and the horror film Modern Vampires are being released on Blu-ray Disc March 22 from Ronin Flix and MVD Entertainment Group.

In Game 6 (2005), New York playwright Nicky Rogan (Michael Keaton) is a playwright desperate for another success. From the outset, things begin to go wrong. His daughter informs him that his wife wants a divorce. His mistress notifies him that his lead actor has a parasite in his brain and can’t remember his lines, and an old acquaintance regales him with tales of Steven Schwimmer, a new and powerful critic who is so poisonous, so destructive, that the New York theater community lives in terror. Although Nicky has grown up in New York, he is a die-hard Red Sox fan and the film is set on October 25, 1986, the day of the most Shakespearian of sporting events, Game 6 of the World Series. At the last minute, Nicky decides to skip his opening night in order to watch his beloved team. The film also stars Robert Downy Jr., Griffin Dunne and Catherine O’Hara. Special features include a making-of featurette and audio commentary by director Michael Hoffman.

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In Modern Vampires (1998), Los Angeles has a discreet community of tortured, bloodthirsty creatures of the night. But when a mysterious vampire (Natasha Gregson Wagner, Lost Highway) enters the scene, the Count wants this blood-sucking seductress eliminated before her rampage of death exposes the cult. Her only chance at immortality lies in the fangs of Dallas (Casper Van Dien, Starship Troopers). But when a distraught mortal, Dr. Frederick van Helsing (Rod Steiger, The Amityville Horror), seeks revenge on the vampires that damned his son, he vows to kill them all, slowly. Special features include a behind-the-scenes featurette, a new interview with director Richard Elfman, and audio commentary with director Elfman and actor Casper Van Dien.

Sidney Poitier Classic ‘In the Heat of the Night’ Gets 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Release April 19

Kino Lorber has announced the next classic it will release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray will be In the Heat of the Night, the acclaimed 1967 Best Picture Oscar winner starring the late Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger.

The film, from director Norman Jewison, will be released on ultra-high-definition disc on April 19, with retail orders due March 22. The 4K Ultra HD set includes, as a bonus, the 1970 sequel They Call Me Mr. Tibbs and 1971’s The Organization.

In the original film, which was released theatrically in 1967, Steiger gives an Oscar-winning performance as a sheriff from small-town Mississippi who finds himself in an uneasy alliance with a black homicide detective from Philadelphia, portrayed by Poitier. In the course of investigating the crime, the two strong-willed men must reconcile their inherent prejudice toward each other. The final result is justice—and an unlikely but touching mutual respect.

Other cast members include Warren Oates and Lee Grant. The film features an evocative score by Quincy Jones and vivid cinematography by Haskell Wexler.

In the Heat of the Night picked up five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay for Stirling Silliphant and Best Editing for Hal Ashby.

Bonus features include a new audio commentary by film historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson with Robert Mirisch (nephew of producer Walter Mirisch, and son of the Mirisch Company founder Harold Mirisch), as well as a previously issued commentary track with director Jewison, cinematographer Wexler and actors Steiger and Grant.