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Norman Jewison, the determined director

CBC Television convinced journalist Peter Gzowski to front this late-night talk show after the success at the helm of CBC Radio's This Country in The Morning. In 1976, late-night talk shows were new territory for CBC Television, and the show was panned from the start. But Gzowski soldiered on for two seasons, interviewing a host of personalities five nights a week at 11:30 p.m.

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Eleven years after In The Heat of The Night, Jewison makes another 'message-film' that has Hollywood uneasy. F.I.S.T. (Federated Inter-State Truckers) is a Godfather-like epic about the labour movement in the U.S. that chronicles the life of Johnny Kovak (played by Sylvester Stallone) as the rising leader in a truckers' union during the Depression. In this CBC Television clip, Jewison sits down with Peter Gzowski on 90 Minutes Live and discusses the problems he faced in making the film.

Unflinchingly candid, Jewison speaks bluntly about Hollywood's reluctance to finance movies such as F.I.S.T. that deal with social injustice. "It was difficult to raise the money to make the film," he says. "American studios really don't like to deal with too many subjects that have any smack of controversy about them. It's always difficult to make a film that deals with a serious subject like the labour movement and the creation of unions in North America."
• Jewison was wearing a cast on his wrist during his appearance on 90 Minutes Live. During the shooting of F.I.S.T., it became known that Stallone had publicly quarrelled with Jewison over the ending of the film. "It's not true that Sylvester Stallone broke my wrist in a fight over the ending of the picture," quipped Jewison when asked about the injury. Jewison would later explain that he broke his wrist while playing ice hockey in Switzerland.

F.I.S.T. was Sylvester Stallone's first film after winning critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for his starring role in Rocky in 1976. F.I.S.T. also featured Rod Steiger, Peter Boyle, and Melinda Dillon.

• A former editor of Maclean's, Peter Gzowski joined CBC Radio in 1971 as host of This Country in the Morning. He left in 1977 to become host of 90 Minutes Live, an ill-fated late night television show that was cancelled after two seasons. He rejoined CBC Radio in 1982 to host Morningside, earning a place in the hearts of millions of Canadians as the best broadcaster in the country. Gzowski died on Jan. 24, 2002 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, due to emphysema.
Medium: Television
Program: 90 Minutes Live
Broadcast Date: April 26, 1978
Guest(s): Norman Jewison
Host: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 18:47
Film footage from 'F.I.S.T.' courtesy Chateau Productions.

Last updated: February 8, 2013

Page consulted on May 12, 2014

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