Archives For In the Heat of the Night

“…the transition between old and new is never elegant or seamless.” – from the Introduction to Pictures At A Revolution

The Academy Awards are often controversial — either legitimately or artificially. And since they’ve been around so long they tend to have an identity crisis every twenty years or so. Or, maybe more accurately, every couple of decades the Oscars reflect a generation gap and/or an identity crisis within the movie industry. Witness The 1967 Academy Awards. Held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on April 8, 1968 the 1967 Best Picture Nominees included a mix of movies that hardly seemed like a matched set.

Half of the nominees seemed to be sneering at the other half: The father-knows-best values of GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER were wittily trashed by THE GRADUATE; the hands-joined-in-brotherhood hopes expressed by IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT had little in common with the middle finger of insurrection extended by BONNIE AND CLYDE. (from Pictures At A Revolution)

Mark Harris’s wonderfully engaging book, Pictures At A Revolution, takes the five films nominated that year (BONNIE AND CLYDE, DOCTOR DOLITTLE, THE GRADUATE, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT ) and weaves together the stories of how those films came to be and with how they ended up reflecting the conflicted state of Hollywood’s body politic at the end of the 1960s. Harris is a seasoned writer with a strong commitment to research. He’s also not afraid to share a point of view. If you’re an Oscar buff this is a great book to dive into. If you’re a student of the American 1960s, Pictures At A Revolution, is also a great glimpse of that era through the lens of the USA’s biggest cultural export.

Pictures At A Revolution by Mark Harris | 2008 | The Penguin Press


Alycia Simons (blogger for Hotels Combined) put together a few movie location maps for a post on her blog. The map posted above made the rounds on Facebook and Twitter in the last couple of weeks but there are a few additonal maps of interest in the original post. Take a look at your State and see if you agree with the pick. I think SLINGBLADE is probably a better pick for a movie set and made in Arkansas. THE FIRM only shot a few days at best on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River — and it’s very much a movie set in Memphis. (And of course TRUE GRIT is set in Arkansas but neither outing was filmed in the Natural State.)

There are a few more head-scratchers on this map as well — if indeed it is a map pinpointing where movies were shot and not just where the stories are set. I was immediately drawn to the suggestion that TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was shot on location in Alabama. I couldn’t imagine that Universal would send cast and crew into the powder keg Deep South in 1962 to shoot that film. Filmmakers faced similar challenges with production and distribution a few years later with the Oscar nominated film, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT — which was shot on location with rural Southern Illinois doubling for Mississippi. A little checking indicates that all the exteriors for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD were shot on Universal’s backlot in Universal City/North Hollywood.

It’s worth noting here that no matter how far we’ve yet to go, at least we can mark some progress of how far we’ve come. The climatic scenes for last year’s Civil Rights-era film SELMA, were shot on the very bridge in the very city where the original march took place.