The American Film Institute's series on today's most acclaimed Hollywood directors focuses this time on Oscar-winner Norman Jewison, helmsman of such movies as In the Heat of the Night, The Hurricane, and Moonstruck. The documentary features extensive interviews with Jewison and actors he has worked with over the years--from Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger to Goldie Hawn and Whoopi Goldberg--and clips from his major films. Although the piece doesn't go into depth on any one film, it does provide a good overall picture of Jewison's character, philosophy, and style. He emerges as a kind and sincere man, beloved by his actors and dedicated to making films with important social messages. In the Heat of the Night was, according to Poitier, "revolutionary, unheard of" in its significance for the civil rights movement. When no studio was willing to take a chance on financing his film, A Soldier's Story, a murder mystery about six African American soldiers set during World War II, Jewison offered to make the movie for nothing. And there are some great inside-Hollywood stories here, such as Jewison's wry tale of his meeting with the studio executives who wanted him to direct the screen adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof. --Laura Mirsky
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