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The SIDNEY POITIER TRIBUTE Continues Thursday Night with TO SIR WITH LOVE and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT

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February is Black History Month, and to help celebrate, The St. Louis Black Film Festival will be presenting a Tribute to the 86-year old Sidney Poitier at their Classic Black Film Festival. Lucky St. Louis movie buffs will have the opportunity to view eight vintage Sidney Poitier on the big screen. Every Thursday in February, The St. Louis Black Film Festival will be presenting two Poitier films at St Louis Cinemas Galleria (630 St Louis Galleria, Richmond Heights, MO 63117).

The SIDNEY POITIER TRIBUTE Film Festival continues this Thursday night (February 13th) with two Poitier classics; TO SIR WITH LOVE and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT

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Poitier played a British, engineer-educated novice teacher of a challenging classroom of undisciplined English teenagers in TO SIR WITH LOVE in 1967. The title song, which became a hit, is warbled by Lulu, who plays one of the students as does sexy Suzy Kendall and Judy Geeson whose attractive co-ed gets a crush on the teacher. After having limited success with his unruly students, Mark Thackeray (Poitier) decides to toss the curriculum’s books in the garbage and open up a dialogue with them, allowing the topics of discussion to be of their choosing but directing it towards life after high school. However, he insists that they use manners, addressing him as “sir” and the girls as “miss” etc. Everyone (including the parents) notices marked improvements in Sir’s students. While there are some bumps along the road and the issue of race (naturally) is introduced, the film’s end (though predictable) is emotional and satisfying.

 TO SIR WITH LOVE screens at 6pm

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The racism in the Deep South is given the once-over in IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (1967 – a good year for Poitier – this, TO SIR WITH LOVE, and GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER). The winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Poitier’s costar Rod Steiger, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT is set in a small Mississippi town where an unusual murder has been committed. Steiger played sheriff Bill Gillespie, a good lawman despite his racial prejudices. When Virgil Tibbs (Poitier), a well-dressed black man, comes to town, Gillespie instinctively puts him under arrest as a murder suspect. Tibbs reveals himself to be a Philadelphia police detective; after he and Gillespie come to a grudging understanding of one another, Tibbs offers to help in Gillespie’s investigation. As the case progresses, both Gillespie and Tibbs betray a tendency to jump to culture-dictated conclusions. Still, the case is solved thanks to the informal teamwork of the two law officers. Based on the novel by John Ball, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT inspired two sequels, both starring Poiter as Virgil Tibbs. In 1987, a TV series version of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT appeared, with Carroll O’Connor as Gillespie and Howard Rollins as Tibbs.

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT screens at 8pm

Here’s the rest of the SIDNEY POITIER TRIBUTE Film Festival schedule:

February 20th: THE DEFIANT ONES – 6pm
A PATCH OF BLUE – 8pm

February 27th: A PIECE OF THE ACTION – 6pm
LET’S DO IT AGAIN – 8pm

Admission is free with AARP membership card, otherwise $10 for each movie.

There will also be a “Social Happy Hour” from 4-6 before each movie.

For more info or to participate go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Louis-Black-Film-Festival/179694092087006

For more information please contact James Thomas at email: jamesthemovieman@gmail.com

Check back here at We Are Movie Geeks for more information about the SIDNEY POITIER TRIBUTE Film Festival

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