Norman Jewison: A Director’s Life
by Ira Wells
Sutherland House, 455 pp., Hardcover, $28.95 ($34.95 Canada)
Chances are when you think of the films and filmmakers of the New Hollywood Cinema, Jewison is not the name that comes to mind first. But, as author Ira Wells points out, Jewison’s career of socially conscious films (In the Heat of the Night, A Soldier’s Story, The Hurricane) and crowd-pleasing hits (Fiddler on the Roof, Jesus Christ Superstar, Moonstruck) is ripe for reevaluation. Yes, the movies hold up, but the biggest takeaway is Jewison himself, his approach to filmmaking, and his ability to work with big names and bigger budgets without losing sight of his vision. It’s about who has the juice, Steve McQueen told Jewison. Sometimes Jewison had the juice, and sometimes he didn’t. But when he did, nothing could stop him.
Free from gossip and thoroughly researched, Norman Jewison: A Director’s Life is academia that reads like a novel. It’s great.