A terrific movie in 1967 when it was released and still a terrific movie in 2014. Some classic lines...."They call me MISTER Tibbs" and "I've got the motive which is money and the body which is dead"....just a great story with some terrific performances all around.
When the movie, which was shown as part of TCM's "The Essentials" series concluded, co-hosts Robert Osborne and Drew Barrymore spoke about what a watershed year 1967 was for motion pictures and that this was symbolized by the Academy Awards that year. That prompted me to do a little research. In addition to "Heat" the other Best Picture nominees were....
"Bonnie and Clyde"
"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"
From the vantage point of 2014, the only outlier among these nominations was "Doctor Doolittle", which no one talks about much today, but the other four were all amazing movies, still relevant today and still considered among the best movies ever made.
And it didn't stop there. Steiger took home the Oscar for Best Actor, but his competition included Warren Beatty for "Bonnie and Clyde", Dustin Hoffman for "The Graduate", Paul Newman for "Cool Hand Luke", and Spencer Tracy for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner". How's that for an all-star ballot?
Katherine Hepburn won for Best Actress for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", and her competition was Anne Bancroft for "The Graduate", Faye Dunaway for "Bonnie and Clyde", Dame Edith Evans for "The Whisperers", and Audrey Hepburn for "Wait Until Dark". Again, another all-star ballot.
Mike Nichols took home the Best Director Oscar for "The Graduate" by beating out this Who's Who among movie directors: Arthur Penn, "Bonnie and Clyde", Stanley Kramer, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", Richard Brooks, "In Cold Blood", and Norman Jewison, "In the Heat of the Night".
And consider this. Sidney Poitier, who was NOT nominated for any acting award, starred in two of these great movies, "In the Heat of the Night" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", AND he starred in a third big hit movie of 1967, "To Sir With Love". Talk about a body of work in one year!
I am sure that film buffs out there could probably come up with a year that was equal to or greater than 1967, but it won't be easy.
Post-script: "In the Heat of the Night" ended on TCM in time for me to switch back to the Pirates game in time for me to see the Pirates rally for two runs in the eight inning and beat Toronto, 8-6. Perfect ending!