They Call Me Mister Tibbs!

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They Call Me Mister Tibbs!
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGordon Douglas
Screenplay byAlan Trustman
James R. Webb
Story byAlan Trustman
Produced byHerbert Hirschman
StarringSidney Poitier
Martin Landau
Barbara McNair
Anthony Zerbe
CinematographyGerald Perry Finnerman
Edited byBud Molin
Irving Rosenblum (assistant editor)
Music byQuincy Jones
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • July 8, 1970 (1970-07-08)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,350,000 (US/Canada rentals)[1]

They Call Me Mister Tibbs! is a 1970 American DeLuxe Color crime drama film directed by Gordon Douglas. The second installment in a trilogy, the release was preceded by In the Heat of the Night (1967) and followed by The Organization (1971). The film's title was taken from a line in the first film.[2][3]

Sidney Poitier reprised his role of police detective Virgil Tibbs, though in this sequel, Tibbs is working for the San Francisco Police rather than the Philadelphia Police (as in the original film) or the Pasadena Police (as in the novels).


Detective Virgil Tibbs, now a lieutenant with the San Francisco police, is assigned to investigate the murder of a prostitute. A prime suspect is Reverend Logan Sharpe, a street preacher who is leading one of the sides in a city referendum on an urban renewal project. He tells Tibbs he was visiting the prostitute in his professional capacity, to advise her spiritually, and that when he left her apartment, she was alive and healthy.

Tibbs tracks down and questions the janitor from the victim's building, Mealie Williamson, and Woody Garfield, a shady character who owns the building and might have been the dead woman's pimp, who sent the janitor into hiding. Later, suspicion falls on a hood named Rice Weedon, who is pursued and shot by Tibbs in self-defense.

Tibbs’ ongoing investigation leads him to conclude that Sharpe really is the murderer. When confronted, Sharpe confesses; however, he requests that Tibbs not arrest him for 24 hours, until the polls close on the city referendum. When Tibbs refuses, Sharpe, while being taken away to be arrested, purposely steps in front of a moving vehicle and is killed.



Quincy Jones wrote the score, as he did with In the Heat of the Night, although the tone of the music in both is markedly different. The previous film, owing to its setting, had a country and bluesy sound, whereas his work for this film was in the funk milieu that would become Jones' trademark in the early 1970s.

The film's title was taken from Virgil's assertive response in In the Heat of the Night after the chief mockingly asked him what people call him in the city where he works.

It was followed by a third film titled The Organization (1971).

The film was the last appearance of veteran actor Juano Hernández, who died in July 1970, a few days after the film premiered.


The film has a 60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of June 2009.[4] It did not attract nearly as positive a response as the series' 1967 debut, In the Heat of the Night, which won five Academy Awards including the 1967 Best Picture Oscar.

Musical score and soundtrack[edit]

They Call Me Mister Tibbs!
Soundtrack album by
GenreFilm score
LabelUnited Artists
UAS 5214
ProducerQuincy Jones
Quincy Jones chronology
Gula Matari
They Call Me Mister Tibbs!

The film score was composed, arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones, and the soundtrack album was released on the United Artists label in 1970.[5]

Professional ratings
Review scores

Allmusic's Steven McDonald said "They Call Me Mister Tibbs! had a more open, urban attitude from its San Francisco setting. The music throughout has an edge, with some interesting musical experiments going on ... Jones, as one example, used cimbalom to reflect Tibbs' feelings".[6]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by Quincy Jones

  1. "Call Me Mister Tibbs (Main Title)" − 4:33
  2. "'Rev' Logan (Organ Solo)" − 2:12
  3. "Blues for Mister Tibbs" − 6:27
  4. "Fat Poppadaddy" − 3:28
  5. "Soul Flower" − 4:20
  6. "Call Me Mister Tibbs (Main Title)" − 2:15
  7. "Black Cherry" − 2:15
  8. "Family Man" − 1:20
  9. "Side Pocket" − 2:05
  10. "Why, Daddy?" − 3:08
  11. "Call Me Mister Tibbs (End Title)" − 0:46


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1970", Variety, 6 January 1971 p 11
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of the Sixties: A Decade of Culture and ... Abbe A. Debolt, James S. Baugess - 2011 Page 311 "Tibbs and Gillespie have moved from the racially charged scene in which Poitier utters the film's iconic line "They call me Mister Tibbs ... the role of "Mister Tibbs" in They Call Me MISTER Tibbs (1970) and The Organization (1971), was not nominated."
  3. ^ I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History 2008 -- Page 313 "We had done reasonably well with They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! and we still had another option for a Virgil Tibbs picture with Sidney Poitier."
  4. ^ They Call Me Mister Tibbs! Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes Archived 2009-04-20 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Edwards, D & Callahan, M. Discography Preview for the United Artists label 40000 & 4000/5000 Series (1958-1972) Archived 2017-08-08 at the Wayback Machine, accessed January 30, 2018
  6. ^ a b McDonald, Steven. In the Heat of the Night/They Call Me Mr. Tibbs – Review at AllMusic. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "They Call Me Mister Tibbs!". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 2022-07-20. Retrieved 2022-07-20.

External links[edit]