Thursday, January 25, 2024

Thursday Film Picks- Norman Jewison


The great director, Norman Jewison, died on Saturday at the grand age of 97. He was a gifted director with a soul and a need to speak about injustice and talked about racism, prejudice and social issues but he also had a fun side and enjoyed making comedies as well. He was nominated for an Oscar, I think, 4 times but never won but he won 3 Emmys. He was a proud Canadian and born in Toronto making this city his second home. He created the Canadian Film Centre and was involved in the Toronto university. When he travelled through the U.S. south, after serving in the Canadian army during WW2, he was appalled at the segregation and racist attitude of the people and he visited this attitude in many of his films. I am going to choose more than my regular 3.


This is a hilarious comedy about a small U.S. coastal town who feel they are being invaded by the Russians when a Russian sub accidentally runs aground. The U.S. citizens are ready for action while the Russian commander and his men just want to go home. It stars Alan Arkin and Sid Caesar and this is a comedy classic.


This is a classic starring Sidney Poitier as a detective sent to the Deep South to investigate a murder and must deal with the prejudices of the town including the sheriff played by Rod Steiger. This is well acted and deals with the horrible nature of people who hate just because of skin colour. This film won many Oscars and was made into a successful TV series that starred Carroll O’Connor.


This is a famous musical that was on Broadway winning many Tony’s before being made into this film starring Topol as head of Jewish family trying to marry off his daughters while dealing with the racist attitude of the Russians who would love to erase the people off their land. There are some great songs that come from this film like , “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Sunrise, Sunset”. 


I was blown away by Al Pacino’s performance in this film with his famous “You’re out of order” scene being the culmination in this film  about a lawyer, who beats to a different drummer. He often is the bane of existence for some judges and ends up having to defend a judge he hates. It’s well acted and worth seeing.


Cher was in top form in this comedy about a woman, living with her parents and being sought after by 2 brothers. The one, she expects to marry and he is  secure and solid but his wayward brother, played by Nicholas Cage, gets under her skin. This is a very fun comedy that won Cher her Oscar and allowed us to see her Oscar outfit.


I love this movie that stars Denzel Washington as Ruben, “The Hurricane”, Carter who is unjustly accused of a triple murder and sent to prison. Many took up his cause including famous people like Bob Dylan who wrote the song about “ The Hurricane” but nothing is done. Many years later, a young African American from NYC is sent to Toronto to study and given a second chance. There he learns about The Hurricane and, with his 3 teachers / mentors take up the cause to prove his innocence. Due to their diligence, they find the proof giving the lawyers the ability to set The Hurricane free. This caused quite a stir because, I believe, it showed how Canadians helped  this man when the Americans could not and The real Hurricane Carter decided to make Toronto his home. How dare we Canadians find the way! Hahaha. It is  well acted by Denzel who won the Oscar for this role.

Here are some other films Norman Jewison made:







7. AGNES OF GOD- 1985

8. IN COUNTRY-1989

9. BOGUS-1996


Which films of his have you seen?


  1. He lived a long time and made a ton of great movies. Founded the festival? Impressive.

  2. Hi Birgit, this man sounds very much like the British director Ken Loach whose films look at the same sorts of social issues. Not seen many of these films but, Heat of the Night was a brilliant film with two incredible actors, Kate x

    1. In the Heat of the Night IA great and always loved the scene he strikes that one man across the face.

  3. I have yet to see Fiddler, but have seen and thoroughly enjoyed the other movies you cited. Fabulous director.

    1. He was do good. I like Fiddĺer but I don't love it. It is excellent though

  4. A very fine director, glad he had such a long fruitful life.

    Like all director's who worked for decades he had his misses though from what I've seen no outright disasters.

    Of those you spotlighted I'm a big fan of, in descending order, Moonstruck, And Justice for All, In the Heat of the Night and Fiddler (though having seen the stage play a certain magic didn't translate to the screen). I didn't dislike The Hurricane but I wasn't blown away by it either. However despite liking the entire cast of The Russians Are Coming it just didn't land for me. I should probably give it another try, it's been decades so perhaps my feeling towards it may have changed.

    As for me I've seen all but two of his later films-Dinner with Friends and something called "Bogus" which I've never even heard of.

    I really liked the two films he made with Doris Day-"The Thrill of It All" and "Send Me No Flowers" plus the cute Tony Curtis/Suzanne Pleshette comedy 40 Pounds of Trouble which offers a great snapshot of Disneyland in its infancy.

    He also worked well with Steve McQueen (apparently not an easy task) in The Thomas Crown Affair, which has a great look and timeless song in The Windmills of Your Mind, and The Cincinnati Kid.

    There is one other I want to mention-In Country. It's rough around the edges and has pacing problems but a pair of strong performances from Emily Lloyd and Bruce Willis and a profoundly moving climax at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that redeems any other shortcomings the film may have.

    1. I love The Hurricane, more than you buti also love the 2 you love. Moonstruck is such a fun film with Cher at her best.
      The Best Friend's flick with Burt Reynolds is not that great.
      I've heard of Bogus and wanted to see it but, have since, forgotten about it.
      I do love the Doris Day flicks and find them enchanting.
      I need to see In Country. I will always remember being at the opening of the Vietnam War memorial. I was lucky but it was a school trip and the other kids wanted to go shopping...morons

  5. I've seen a few of those. Not as many as all that, though, so I should probably do more of a deep dive one of these days.

  6. I really ned to get around to seeing Fiddler on The Roof

    1. It's a good movie but it's not a favourite of mine

  7. A great Canadian, indeed! May he R.I.P. 🌹 I enjoyed all the movies you mentioned, but absolutely LOVE "And Justice For All" and "Moonstruck", having watched both many times over (part of our home movie collection).

    1. I love those 2 films and need to see them again.

  8. BIRGIT ~

    He was an excellent director!

    'THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING...' is one of the earliest movies I can distinctly recall seeing as a child. It was a family Drive-In Movie Night. LOVED it! Never saw it again until "ru-uuu-fly" about a year and a half ago. LOVED it even more the second time, because as an adult ("ru-uuu-fly"), I understood it a whole lot more better. (I really need to buy this one on DVD!)

    I saw '...HEAT OF THE NIGHT' for the first time as a young man (18-20?) and really liked it. Saw it a second time in my early thirties and still liked it. Saw it a third time, about a year ago, and rather DISLIKED it. (Trust me, you don't wanna know why. Don't get me started...)

    'FIDDLER...' is great!

    I actually appeared in 'AND JUSTICE FOR ALL'. Just doing Extra work (no bit part with dialogue), but I could point to myself, walking my old grandma (supposedly) out of an Old Folks' Home, or sumpin' like that. I don't remember all the details - only saw the movie once and didn't really care for it - but there's some sort of 'retirement home' scene in which I show up... (if'n one knows where to look).

    I'm very familiar with the Bob Dylan song and would be interested in seeing 'THE HURRICANE'.

    I remember seeing 'ROLLERBALL' a few times in an L.A. movie theatre when it was initially released in 1975. (My buddies and I probably sneaked into the theatre every single time. We had worked out a system for sneaking in.) Truth be told, it wasn't a very good movie but, to this very day - 49 YEARS LATER! - I still frequently quote a line of dialogue from 'Rollerball':
    "Who can say? Please sign."

    ~ D-FensDogG
    (Am I the *real* D-FensDogG? Who can say?...)

    1. I'm going to watch "And Justice For All" again soon and look for you, Stephen! ☺ I'm surprised you didn't like the movie.

    2. Debbie D'Doglady ~

      I didn't dislike it. Maybe part of the problem was that I've always felt Pacino is overrated as an actor. And maybe I just wasn't in the correct frame of mind for that sort of story when I saw it. I really should re-watch it sometime. It's hardly unheard of for me to enjoy a movie considerably more the second time I see it.

      I looked it up on Wackypedia and found this:

      "Kirkland pays regular visits to his grandfather Sam, in a nursing home, who is progressively becoming senile."

      That's undoubtedly what I am recalling. Was there, perhaps, a scene in which he visited on a holiday, such as Thanksgiving, or something along those lines? I seem to remember there being a number of people visiting their relatives. Probably the only reason shooting that scene has stuck with me all these years is because I was about 18 at the time, so this was one of the earlier sets I worked on, when everything still seemed new and interesting to me.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      (Who has never once been "out of order!" ;-)

    3. I'll be sure to watch the scene carefully. ☺ That "out of order" speech is my favourite bit. And, I will respectfully disagree with your assessment of Al Pacino's acting chops. One of my favourites of all time.

    4. I love your banter and now I, too, want to see you in this film. I agree with Debbie and think he's a great actor. It could be because the film and the actor go against your personal views and you are passionate about your beliefs.
      I have a feeling you will not like The Hurricane.

    5. BIRGIT . . .

      I hope you and Debbie D'Doglady can find me.
      (Whatever youz twoz do,... do *NOT* blink!)

      I seem to remember it as being shot from above, so you'd be looking slightly down at my (fake) grandma and me. But... I could be wrong about that. Seriously, I think we're talking about 1-5 seconds of screen time. (I had way more better scenes in Hollyweird as the years rolled on. M*A*S*H was a biggie!)

      Did you see 'FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF'? If so, my sister, "Bonehead", got a good 'silent bit' in that movie. There's a scene where the teacher is droning on and on and on, and the students are shown being disinterested or (as in Bonehead's case) downright antagonistic and almost ready to outright revolt.

      [Link> "BONEHEAD's 'silent bit' in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'.
      (That was her FULL-screen shining moment. She had said, "All right, Mr. John Hughes, I'm ready for my close-up.")

      >>... "It could be because the film and the actor go against your personal views and you are passionate about your beliefs."

      Uhm... yeah... it *could* be... I suppose.
      I don't know anything at all about Al Pacino's worldly views. And I don't remember a whole lot about 'And Justice For All'. You are correct about me being passionate about (*SOME*) of my beliefs. I mean, I don't have any strong sympathies toward one flower over another. And I definitely prefer dogs to cats... unless the dog is a Chihuahua, or some other tiny, useless animal. In which case I would probably side with a cat.

      I can state honestly and forthrightly that, as a group, I strongly dislike Cops, Lawyers, Politicians & Judges. (If Cops, Lawyers, Politicians & Judges were a race, I would undoubtedly be - and would honestly admit to being - a "racist".) But, other than those four nasty groups, I don't understand your comment.

      I guess I really *NEED* to see 'And Justice For All' again. Because your comment has me confused, mystified, bamboozled & discombobulated. (Not necessarily in *that* order.)

      [Am I still *bantering* OK? If not, you should blame it on Jose Cuervo, that son-of-a-... cactus plant!]

      ~ Stephen
      Ambassador of Alcohology
      & King of Inebriation Nation

  9. John doesn’t like musicals, but I remember starting to watch Fiddler on the Roof on DVD years ago and he couldn’t resist joining me. He was astonished that it was a musical AND important and serious. He thought they were all fluff.

    1. Ahh, yes...thiscwas made at a time when so much was going on in the world. This one and Cabaret comes to mind for the serious content.

  10. Good on Canadians for helping Hurricane. RIP Norman Jewison.
    Hope you have a pain free weekend.

    1. Yes, I had no idea about the story and am proud of what the Canadians accomplished

  11. Hi Birgit - lots of great comments here - and thanks for the reminders of his amazing films ... I hope I'll catch some of these as I come across them on the tv - cheers Hilary

    PS - I note Anabel's comment ... how many of us adapt when we change our attitudes a little: comment from experience through blogging - cheers Hilary

  12. I've never considered much about Norman Jewison, but looking at the list I've seen just about all of his films and enjoyed them. Guess he's kind of underrated, or at least with me.


  13. I haven't seen all of his movies but I dearly love those that I have: Fiddler, JC Superstar, Soldier's Story and Moonstruck. In the Heat of the Night is on my current "watch soon" list so hopefully I can get to that before too long.