Choice: Film

In the Heat of the Night, Prince Charles, London WC2 (0171-437 8181)
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In the Heat of the Night, Prince Charles, London WC2 (0171-437 8181)

Poor Sidney Poitier. When he was good he was very, very good and when he was bad he was nice. In the pre-Trevor MacDonald days of the Sixties, Poitier was the white man's positive black role model par excellence. Take the notorious melodramatic bore, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner which afforded everyone the undignified spectacle of watching Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn struggling with the fact that their sweet air-headed daughter is determined to marry a matchlessly brilliant, successful research physician (Poitier) who is inconveniently black. In the Heat of the Night, also made in 1967, is far superior, but although both films racked up Oscars by the truckload, Poitier wasn't nominated for either. Not because he wasn't good, but because scripts never let him play anything other than saintly. Still, this gives him more opportunities than most and the picture beat out Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate for Best Picture. David Benedict

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