BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEWS

003768Reviews & Counting
SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Fiddler on the Roof (CE)
DVD disk
02.19.2007 By: Quigles
Fiddler on the Roof (CE) order
Director:
Norman Jewison

Actors:
Topol
Norma Crane
Leonard Frey

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

star Printer-Friendly version
comment
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A Jewish family in pre-Revolutionary Russia attempts to live their lives as best they can, despite the bigotry that surrounds them.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I'm not really a fan of musicals, but every now and again, I come across one that really surprises me. FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is probably the most prominent example of this. It is, hands down, one of the best musicals ever made. It takes a seemingly simple story about three daughters getting married and turns it into a compelling tale about tradition, bigotry, values, hatred, family, and just life in general. In other words, it's a musical with meaning. Don't let that get you down though; there's still plenty of energetic, infectious singing to keep your spirits lifted throughout.

FIDDLER does tend to become more of a downer near the end, but the rest of the film is chock-full of humorous moments and lively performances. The best of the bunch is lead actor Topol, who plays the father of the three daughters. Not only is his acting outstanding, but he's also an incredibly fun-loving guy. Most of the movie's humor comes courtesy of his presence. He also delivers one of the movie's more memorable songs - the well-known "If I Were A Rich Man." The other actors do a solid job as well, but I was slightly put off by how over-the-top some of them were. I guess it makes sense though, this being adapted from a musical stage show and all.

And of course, you can't discuss FIDDLER without mentioning John William's top-notch score. Normally this type of music would have zero appeal to me, but I found myself toe-tapping to nearly every song. Obviously, much of this is also a credit to the singing abilities of the performers.

On the downside, the movie does tend to drag in places. At three hours, there are certainly a couple of scenes that could've been cut without much effect on the story. This is a minor complaint though, as things are kept very interesting throughout most of the running time. It's not just the well-developed story that does this - it's the themes explored as well. There are a number of important messages regarding how we live our lives, the traditions we follow, and how we deal with our hardships. It's powerful material that's handled in a completely relevant manner, no matter who you are or where you're from. And even if the movie doesn't connect with you emotionally, you'll at least be able to enjoy the beautiful cinematography. For a movie this old, I was blown away by how delicately framed its shots are. Truly stunning.
THE EXTRAS
Although many features have been ported over from the previous Special Edition, the additional extras make this 2-Disc Collector's Edition worthwhile enough to be more than just a pointless cash-in. That said, if you already own the film, don't feel bad for passing this one up.

New special features have been marked with an asterisk...

DISC 1

Audio Commentary (with director/producer Norman Jewison and actor Topol): Even though the two speakers have been recorded separately, this is a very interesting track for any fans of the film. I didn't listen to the whole thing (c'mon - it's 3 hours), but their chatter seemed to stay active even while skipping ahead. There are some worthwhile tidbits about the production, and also a number of great on-set stories. Check it out.

DISC 2

*John Williams: Creating a Musical Tradition (11:33): This featurette has Williams discussing how FIDDLER jump-started his career, and also how he attempted to bring the play's musical numbers to life by making them "bigger." An interesting watch.

*Tevye’s Daughters (16:28): A praise-filled collection of interviews from the three respective actresses. They discuss auditions, working with the director, and the like.

*Set In Reality Production Design (9:51): This interesting featurette shows how much of an ordeal it was to create the sets for the film.

*Songs of Fiddler on the Roof (14:44): Writing the songs for FIDDLER was more complicated than it would seem, and this featurette shows why. A surprisingly interesting watch.

Historical Background (11:37): Norman Jewison goes into detail regarding the history of FIDDLER, while old photos fade in and out for reference.

Norman Jewison, Filmmaker (49:28): This vintage documentary is long and somewhat in-depth, but it's also fairly dull. It covers the director's undertaking of the huge project, but it does so with little energy.

*Norman Jewison Looks Back (9:25): This 5-part collection of mini-featurettes has the director discussing some interesting aspects of the production, including studio problems and his debated casting choices.

Tevye's Dream in Full Color (7:33): This lets you enjoy the black-and-white dream sequence in all it's color-filled glory, right along with an introduction and a side-by-side comparison.

The Stories of Sholam Aleichem (6:06): Read by Norman Jewison, these are passages from the original author's stories (on which FIDDLER was based).

Deleted Song - "Any Day Now" (3:05): Although the introduction to the song is available, the actual footage for the number was never filmed. Only the audio remains.

There's also a collection of Galleries (Production Design, Storyboards, Storyboard-to-Film Comparisons, Photographic Production Diary, Promotional Materials), Production Notes, 4 Trailers, and 2 TV Spots.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Coupled with rousing musical numbers and beautiful cinematography, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF manages to take a simple premise and expand its depth above and beyond any musical before it (and after, too). It is, simply put, a cinematic masterpiece. If you haven't yet bought the film, this is definitely the edition to get.
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

Best Selling

| August 2016 More Best Selling
  • 1
    The Jungle Book
  • 2
    Captain America: Civil War (3D)
  • 3
    Captain America: Civil War
  • 4
    Beauty and the Beast (25th Anniv.)
  • 5
    Star Trek Beyond

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting

Movie Hottie Of The Week

More