Private Screenings: Norman Jewison



5-6 p.m., 8-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13

Veteran director Norman Jewison has been one of the industry's most prolific artists for more than a half-century, hitting the mark and putting his signature on some of Hollywood's most well-known and beloved films: "The Cincinnati Kid," "In the Heat of the Night," "The Thomas Crown Affair" (you know, the first one with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway), "Fiddler on the Roof" and, of course, "Moonstruck," to name just a few. So we know that this man can tell a story.

When TCM's Robert Osborne sits down and talks with Jewison for the latest of the network's latest great "Private Screenings" interviews, we find out that Jewison also is a great raconteur. It's easy to see that he likes an audience and knows full well how to punctuate the best parts of a story.

This visit with Jewison, recently filmed before a live audience at the Sarasota Film Festival, is spirited and, as always with the series, full of anecdotes that film buffs and just about anyone else who likes watching movies will devour.

Like many of his generation, Jewison got his start directing television. His first major job was directing a Judy Garland television special in the early 1960s with guests (because he convinced them to come on the show) Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. That's formidable stuff, but Jewison pulled it off -- with panache, apparently.

From there, he earned greater respect throughout the industry. The road was paved with pitfalls, pratfalls and plenty of good luck (in addition to much color). But here he is, taking credit, as he should, for a body of work both iconic and risky (think about Sidney Poitier's Virgil Tibbs slapping a white man across the face in 1967's "In the Heat of the Night"). Heady stuff, not to mention historymaking.

The interview, which doesn't seem to last long enough, moves smoothly along, owing to Osborne's ease and also stemming from Jewison's great way of adding emphasis and style to stories about his illustrious career -- one that has touched nearly every genre and earned him (in addition to many awards) the Academy's Irving Thalberg Award in 1999.

Following the interview, TCM has scheduled Jewison films "Moonstruck," "The Cincinnati Kid," "The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming" and "Gaily, Gaily."

Turner Classic Movies
A Turner Classic Movies production
Producers: Sean Cameron, Dena Krupinsky
Director: Sean Cameron
Executive producer: Tom Brown
Editor: Jay Bellisimo
Production manager: Glen Fisher
Director of photography: Don Bohannon
Host: Robert Osborne