The Organization

ISBN 13: 9780792848370

The Organization

 
9780792848370: The Organization

Academy AwardÂ(r) winner* Sidney Poitier (In the Heat of the Night) reprises his role as Lt. Virgil Tibbs in this taut drama that exposes the ruthless, high-stakes world of international drug trafficking. Co-starring Raul Julia (Presumed Innocent), this action-packed (Variety) crime thriller is edge-of-the-seat entertainment (Los Angeles Times). Under the cover of darkness, six masked figures raid a seemingly respectable furniture factoryand steal a multimillion-dollar cache of heroin! But these are no ordinary crooks. They're a passionate band of former users-turned-vigilantes whose frustration with the law's inability to combat the city's drug problem spurs them to take on a powerful narcotics ring. After contacting Tibbs, they confess to the break-in, beg him to keep silent and ask for his help. But once he reluctantly agrees to operate outside the law, Tibbs soon finds himself at odds with the police and a ruthless drug syndicate that will stop at nothing to silence him! *1963: Actor, Lilies of the Field; 2001: Honorary Award

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Review:

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. --David Stubbs

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