Respect to Mr. Tibbs

In Heat of the Night is a film of its era – an important one. Race relations are common dramatic arches for cinema, while few were graced with the liberty of lessening MPAA restrictions while being made amid the chronicled period. Plot devices weave into uncomfortable topics like abortion, brazen for the era, but In Heat of the Night treats it with civility, not shock. It’s a necessitated piece of this murder investigation, nothing more.”

Read our full In the Heat of the Night Blu-ray review for more

Video

Fox first issued In the Heat of the Night on Blu-ray. It was a terrible disc. Kino’s 4K disc is not, even with the distributor forgoing any HDR. Beautiful grain makes an immediate impact, improving the immense texture held on the film stock. Spectacular close-ups properly convey the imagery’s intensity, from sweat droplets to pores. Police uniforms resolve down to stitching and tin badges. Shots following alongside storefronts makes every piece of writing legible, resolution truly remarkable. Kino’s encode doesn’t struggle in the slightest.

Tone bounces between the pure darkness of night and the intense sunlight during the day. Even though this isn’t HDR graded, there’s enough range to make a convincing case that it is. Vivid contrast breaks from shadows, dimensionality looks sublime, and black levels retain pure black without issue.

Even the dense color can fool the eye. Flesh tones warm up the screen. Primaries glow. The fall season setting means leaves create ample yellows and oranges in the backdrops. There’s energy in every aspect of this master, minus any errant processing that plagued Fox’s now woefully outdated HD presentation.

Audio

Kino includes stereo and 5.1 options, both DTS-HD. There’s little difference between them. Each features solid dynamics, although Ray Charles’ theme music does expand organically in the surround mix. Otherwise, the mastering keeps the material focused and centered – mostly. Inside the mechanic’s shop, hammers pound and torches light around the soundstage in the surround mix, a brief moment where the audio stretches outward.

Fidelity is on the rougher side due to age and nothing else. It’s perfectly represented and clean. Some bass is generated from the soundtrack, naturally falling into the subwoofer.

There is a slight audio drop around 41-minutes. The dialog is too low to hear, even at high volume. It’s brief.

Extras

The UHD contains two commentaries. Film historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson join Walter Mirisch on the first. Then, director Normal Jewison pairs with cinematographer Haskell Wexler and actors Rod Steiger and Lee Grant.

On the Blu-ray, Kino goes all the way by including the two sequels, They Call Me Mister Tibbs and The Organization. Then, a featurette about ’60s era filmmaking that focuses tightly on In the Heat of the Night. Two additional featurettes follow, and then come trailers.

In the Heat of the Night
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

Movie

An engrossing murder mystery and condemnation of southern Civil Rights-era biases, In the Heat of the Night is a brooding, sizzling police procedural.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 52 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: