WHEN In the Heat of the Night (World, 9.30pm) won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1967 it surprised everybody. The sensible money had been on Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate. But In The Heat of the Night is a superb thriller and deserved it. And Rod Steiger deserved his Oscar for his role of shrewd southern sheriff Bill Gillespie. It is a shame Sidney Poitier did not pick up anything for Virgil Tibbs, the sensitive, intellectual detective from the big city. He demonstrates the same superb talent he would later bring to They Call Me Mr Tibbs and The Organisation. When a wealthy industrialist is murdered in the little town of Sparta, Mississippi, a well-dressed black stranger (Poitier) is arrested while waiting at the train station. He is carted off to the local nick by a zealous officer and subjected to a bigoted interrogation by local sheriff Steiger. The police have already decided that Poitier is guilty - until he reveals he is also a detective and is asked by his own department back in the smog to investigate. Poitier and Steiger are initially reluctant allies, but as their investigation proceeds - and as they face racial bigotry wherever they go - they come to respect, if not like, each other. In the Heat of the Night was carefully directed by Norman Jewison and contains none of the sentimentality and racial cliches that could have crept in to almost every scene. The tension is almost palpable throughout. It was filmed in Illinois and Tennessee, the latter standing in for Mississippi. I WILL not hide my disappointment that The Frog Prince (Pearl, 12.10pm) is not the charming 1988 film starring Jane Snowden as a young English girl arriving to study in 1960s Paris. It is instead the musical version of the Grimm Brothers' classic. It stars Aileen Quinn, who you may have seen in Annie, as Princess Zora and John Paragon as the Frog Prince. IT is all shook up and enjoyably bad. Jailhouse Rock (Pearl, 2.00pm) captures Elvis The Pelvis in all his hip-wriggling, nostril-flaring, lip-snarling teen idol glory. There is no real plot to speak of, but we don't care. The steamier songs are mostly by Lieber and Stoller (the latter can be seen as a pianist in the famous Jailhouse Rock sequence, which Elvis choreographed). The title song sold two million records and within two weeks the picture grossed seven million. IN Innerspace (Pearl, 9.30pm) Jack Putter (Martin Short) feels unwell, which is not surprising because he has been accidently injected with Dennis Quaid, a rambunctious navy test pilot who is the victim of a miniaturisation experiment gone wrong. Meg Ryan also stars and for that alone this has to be worth watching. The Forgotten (Pearl, 1.40am) is another Vietnam movie - how many did they make? - but not a bad one, although it never made the theatres. Six Green Berets return home after 17 years in a Vietnamese POW camp only to find themselves stalked by strange government agents. WORLD has run out of Shakespeare to show on Saturday mornings but Housekeeping (11am) is almost as good. It was directed by Bill Forsyth, who also directed those two small but perfectly formed films Gregory's Girl and Comfort and Joy. Christine Lahti lays a free-spirited aunt who is forced to take in her two orphaned nieces. Lahti is great, as always, and the girls (movie newcomers Sara Walker and Andrea Burchill) are excellent. IN Down the Spine of Japan (STAR Plus, 2.30pm) Stephen Pern walks 1,600 miles across the four islands that make up Japan. But it is not him we should feel sorry for; he chose to do it. The camera crew that followed his every move were probably not afforded the same luxury. Their film charts Pern's progress as he learns about the country and its culture. IF you are in Macau this weekend and get tired of watching the construction work, try The Eagle Has Landed (TDM Channel 1, 11.35pm). Even in Portuguese it is entertaining. Based on the fanciful Jack Higgins novel it details a Nazi plot to kidnap Churchill. Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland and Jenny Agutter are in the cast. Never a dull moment.