Movie of the Day: "In the Heat of the Night" (1967)

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, when Dr. King's iconic "I Have a Dream" speech was shared across the land. Celebrating the occasion with our continuing series of civil rights films, today's entry sees another 60's icon, Sidney Poitier, take center stage in this Best Picture winner from 1967, about a Philadelphia cop who helps a Southern sheriff solve a murder in the South. Sidney Poitier was the first African-American movie star whose appeal stretched across audiences black and white. As a noble, moral and upright hero who was sometimes criticized for being too perfect in his roles, he helped to change the perception of African-Americans by playing positive characters with dignity, when they had rarely been portrayed as such on screen before. His presence is still incredibly powerful, as you can look back and see how dynamic his charisma and appeal was, especially when he appeared next to other screen icons, like Spencer Tracy in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner or Tony Curtis in The Defiant Ones.

Original Trailer from 1967: