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'In the Heat of the Night' and Sidney Poitier to open TCM Film Festival

'In the Heat of the Night' and Sidney Poitier to open TCM Film Festival
Sidney Poitier, left, and Rod Steiger in the Academy Award-winning 1967 crime drama "In the Heat of the Night." (L.A. Times file photo)

Once again finding timely subject matter in the celluloid past, the TCM Classic Film Festival opens April 6 with the 1967 crime drama "In the Heat of the Night." Directed by Norman Jewison, the film won Oscars for best picture, Stirling Silliphant's screenplay, Hal Ashby's film editing, sound and lead actor for Rod Steiger's turn as a bigoted Southern sheriff forced to team with big-city detective Sidney Poitier. Poitier, Jewison, producer Walter Mirisch, actress Lee Grant and composer Quincy Jones will be in attendance.

A tribute to Grant also includes screenings of her 1951 debut in "Detective Story" and "The Landlord" (1970). Additional honorees include filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich with "The Last Picture Show" (1971) and "What's Up, Doc?" (1972), and Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher with "Singin' in the Rain" (1952) and "Postcards From the Edge" (1990).

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The festival, now in its eighth year, runs through April 9 and features anniversary screenings of "High Anxiety" (1977), with Mel Brooks in attendance, "The Graduate" (1967) with screenwriter Buck Henry, and "Casablanca" (1942).

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