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Evolving And Continuing On

December 1, 2020

First off, The 1965  (listed as released in 1964) Sidney Lumet directed film (he also directed the 1988 film, “Running on Empty,” part of which I saw the other day on TCM. Those two and so many others in a magnificent career) “The Pawnbroker,” is just about the most powerful and well made film, I have ever seen.

Rod Steiger is absolutely magnificent and uncompromising in his role as a Holocaust survivor, yet in the apples/oranges Academy Awards that year, he was denied, by Lee Marvin’s excellent performance, in a lighter film, “Cat Ballou,” which starred Jane Fonda.

In a classic “make up call,” Mr. Steiger, was awarded the best actor award two years later, for his also great, but not as great performance, in director Norman Jewison’s “In The Heat of the Night,” in which his southern sheriff/police chief teams with Sidney Poitier’s “Virgil Tibbs,” to solve a murder, amidst racial overtones.

At the end, Mr. Steiger’s “Gillespie” says “you take care Virgil,” to Mr. Poitier’s “Tibbs.” It is beyond moving.

Now fast forward, 20 plus years to the excellent television show with the same name/title, which airs each weekday, at 11 A.M. Eastern Time on MeTV.

The great Carroll O’Connor scored a second seminal role (he was of course, “Archie Bunker” on the one and only “All In The Family”) as Gillespie, with Howard Rollins playing “Virgil Tibbs.”

“Gillespie” has evolved, as has his relationship with “Tibbs.” In the first of the two part episode (the second part today), in which among other things, “Gillespie” is kidnapped, Rollins’ “Tibbs” is moved to tears, as he looks at pictures and other items in “Gillespie’s” office.

It is a beautiful scene and illustrates what can happen, when one does not see or at least does not evaluate another, by the color of their skin.

The late Arthur Curry of HBO Sports once paid me that compliment, (he said “you don’t see color” to me), one the great running back, Larry Brown paid legendary coach Vince Lombardi, when they were together with the Washington football team.

On we go, though it gets tougher, when good happens to bad. I had to see it, I guess I did.

Again, keep going!!

 

Mr. Steiger in “The Pawnbroker.”

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