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The Organization

By David Stubbs

The Organization was the second and final sequel to 1967's In the Heat of the Night and sees Sidney Poitier's homicide detective Virgil Tibbs called in to investigate the murder of a factory manager. In a lengthy, dialogue-free opening (the film's best sequence), it appears that we are witnessing the culprits in action. However, this group turns out to be a gang of idealistic young vigilantes who knew that the factory was a front for an international drugs cartel--the Organization of the title--and have made off with a haul of $5 million worth of heroin secreted there. Suspected of the manager's murder, they meet Tibbs and seek his cooperation. He agrees to help them, pitting himself not only against the Organization but his own police department.

Set in San Francisco, The Organization invites invidious comparisons with Bullitt: its somewhat cheesy contemporary soundtrack, derived from Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, certainly marks it as a piece of its period, as do the occasionally less-than-convincing action sequences, risible acting, and far-fetched plot. Poitier, as ever, lends the film a certain dignity and poise, worthy of better material to work with than this. The film is also notable for providing early showcases for two of Cop TV's most famous captains: Daniel J. Travanti (Hill Street Blues) and Bernie Hamilton (later Captain Dobey in Starsky & Hutch) are both assigned minor roles here.

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Don Medford

Stars: Sidney Poitier, Barbara McNair, Sheree North, Gerald S. O'Loughlin, Raul Julia, Fred Beir, Allen Garfield, Ron O'Neal

Released: October 20, 1971

Availability: DVD VHS


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