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Jewison on television vs. film

"Film is the literature of this generation," says Toronto-born Norman Jewison. Small wonder then the Oscar-winning director is considered a Laureate of the film lens and is a fierce supporter of the Canadian film industry. Responsible for such classics as In the Heat of the Night and Fiddler on the Roof, Jewison cut his teeth in television at the CBC before moving to Hollywood where he became a maverick director who wowed audiences with his storytelling prowess.

After spending the early part of his career in television, Norman Jewison is fully established in Hollywood by the mid-60s as a film director. By 1965 he's directed five profitable films, establishing himself as one of the hot new directors on the block. In this CBC Radio clip Jewison talks about the differences between the two media. "Film is much less of a strain, but of course it's much more precise. It's more of an art form."

He explains that his experience in live television better prepared him for a career in film than those directors who came from the theatre or who were brought up in the movie industry. "Film is much slower paced than television, therefore, it really doesn't bother me too much." Still, there's no hiding that he's much more at home on a movie set: "It's very satisfying for a director, this medium. It's much more satisfying than the theatre. And it's more satisfying than television."
• From 1952 to 1958 Norman Jewison worked as a producer and director for CBC Television, mostly on musicals, comedy and variety programs, including On Stage, Wayne and Shuster and The Big Revue. After six years at the CBC Jewison was hired by CBS, moved to New York and worked as a director for The Hit Pararade, The Andy Williams Show and other music specials.

• Jewison did this interview shortly after completing filming The Cincinnati Kid (1965), a movie set in 1930s New Orleans and starring Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson and Ann Margaret. The movie tells the tale of a young poker player who comes into town. He then takes on an old master of the game and challenges his status as the best poker player in the country. Joan Blondell received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Lady Fingers.

• Jewison shot The Cincinnati Kid in colour even though most of the Hollywood dramas of the time were filmed in black and white. "I believe in shooting in colour because life is in colour," Jewison explained in this clip. "I think it is more realistic, and I think the more true we can get back to the colour tones like they do in Europe, the better American pictures will be. I don't know why anybody wants to shoot in black and white."
Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: Oct. 19, 1965
Guest(s): Norman Jewison
Reporter: Tony Thomas
Duration: 3:51

Last updated: March 23, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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