1967: Jewison misses Russia preem

From the Army Archerd Archive

May 17, 1967

GOOD MORNING: Mixed emotions dept.: Norman Jewison is “heartbroken” because his “Russians are Coming (2)” will be shown at the Moscow Film Fest in July. He won’t be able to attend due to “Crown Caper” lensing in Boston. “The one thing I made the picture for — was so it would be seen by Americans and Russians,” he reminds. The screening at the Moscow fest is a double victory for him since it was nixed by more timid satellite souls at the Czech fest last year … Jewison’s disappointment was further compounded since his new film, “Heat of the Night” is also pointed for Russian viewing. The latter is a “race problem” pic starring Rod Steiger and Sidney Poitier … Incidentally, this “problem” will be dodged by UA ads. Notes Jewison, “I think everyone’s afraid to bring out a ‘race problem’ picture at this time. So the campaign will be based on its taut murder mystery which, it is also.” (Columbia is also soft-pedaling the advance pufflicity, you recall, on the Poitier romance with Katharine Houghton in Stanley Kramer’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”) (2007 update: Jewison, laughingly recalling the above, tells me, “The Russians loved the picture. They thought I was some kind of pinko. They invited me to three more festivals afterwards.” He also recalls Hubert Humphrey loved the film and it was inserted into the Congressional record. Kirk Douglas loved the movie so much he took out a full page ad in Variety urging everyone to see it.” Jewison is now working on two projects, one is a political satire, “kind of harking back to ‘The Russians are Coming’.” The other is a romantic story, “The Accordion” by John Patrick Shanley. Jewison also recently spoke at the Skirball Center on the AFI series of films that influenced filmmakers. His was “To Kill a Mockingbird” — directed by Bob Mulligan.)

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