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Fiddler On The Roof (40th Anniversary)
BLU-RAY disk
05.11.2011 By: J.A. Hamilton
Fiddler On The Roof (40th Anniversary) order download
Director:
Norman Jewison

Actors:
Topol
Norman Crane
Leonard Frey

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A poor Jewish peasant in pre-revolutionary Russia who’s content with selling milk and mingling with his kinsmen as he tackles the tough job of having his girls paired up and married is faced with even greater challenges as change and bigotry threaten the lifestyle of his family and people.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I can’t really see FIDDLER ON THE ROOF being a film that many people in my age bracket (25-35) are anxiously awaiting to hit Blu-ray unless of course they grew up with it and cherish it as a favourite. I have no doubts that some people probably love it but most films that are forty years old usually cater to a different generation than mine. I didn’t really know what this film was about; I only knew that it was based upon a famous play, and in that regard, this flick worked marvellously. This flick felt more like a play than a film, with all the asides and the freeze frame pondering. I enjoyed this aspect of the film most of all as you certainly don’t see that very often anymore. Sure, we have guys like Dexter who has many asides in his mind (which we’re privy to) but it’s not very often you see people actually speak these words aloud.

It’s clear that this film is meant to be light hearted and funny, with the main character Tevye being an absolute blast to watch from the moment he explains why there’s a fiddler on the roof. The scene where he wakes his wife up in the middle of the night when she’s clearly sound asleep made me laugh my ass off. Simply put, Tevye is just a great character whom you can’t help but love. Of course, the tone does jump from one extreme to the other when the business of racism comes up. The wedding scene in particular was unfortunate despite the fact that the officer leading the angry mob had warned Tevye and even said he liked him. I’ve never liked watching any film with scenes of oppression toward Jews or anyone else for that matter, and it always makes me mad that the characters being persecuted are always so nice and generally don’t fight back (loved what the boys did in DEFIANCE though).

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is dated to be sure and films that break into song after every other sentence are certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. Because of the touching characters this was an easy film to get into but with a three hour run time, I have to admit that I found myself looking at my watch more than a couple times. These types of films aren’t my favourites but I can watch them if I’m in the right mood. The transfer isn’t bad for a film this old; it plays out like a cross between ANNE OF GREEN GABLES and a Jewish LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. I can’t imagine a milk man being so happy and full of life but that’s exactly what Tevye is which is refreshing these days when most of us feel that we have life so hard. Obviously we could have it much worse.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary: Director/Producer Norman Jewison and actor Topol give us a great commentary full of laughs. Topol makes the commentary just as he makes the film.

Norman Jewison, Filmmaker: A very old look at how director Norman Jewison got into the biz and gets things done behind the camera.

Norman Jewison Looks Back: Here an up to date Norman sits down with us and talks about directing, films and how so much has changed over the years.

“Tevye’s Dream” in Full Color: Norman Jewison shows us how the dream sequence was originally shot, which was in color rather than the black and white version we see in the film.

John Williams: Creating A Musical Tradition: Here John Williams explains how he tackled what he refers to as the honour of bringing the music behind the musical to the big screen.

Songs of Fiddler On The Roof: If you dug the many songs throughout the film then you’ll love this behind the scenes look, if you didn’t then you should skip it.

Deleted Song “Any Day Now”: This song is much like all the others in the film and with an outrageous three hour runtime I find it curious that it got cut.

Tevye’s Daughters: This feature focuses a little closer on Tevye’s daughters and how they tried to make them as diverse and different from one another as possible.

Set in Reality Production Design: Here they give a bit more detail on how the sets were fine-tuned and made to look as real as possible. They looked real to me.

Storyboard to Film Comparison: Here are some comparisons between scene drawings and the actual scenes themselves. Standard stuff.

Previews: There’s an original theatrical trailer, the re-release trailer, some teasers and some TV SPOTS from 1971 and 1979. There’s also a DVD Copy of the film.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
There’s a lot going on in this flick when it comes to racism, religion, family ties and cynicism. It’s very hard to watch at times as most people have forgotten (or don’t know) how hard life was for some groups of people in the world. I enjoyed this flick for what it is and though I don’t imagine I’ll watch it again, I would however like to see the play.
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