Whether seen on large screen or small, Fiddler On the Roofs engaging musically enhanced storytelling is an all embracing exhilarating experience.
Adapted from the stage play based on the wonderful short stories of Sholom Aleichem, the film recounts the life and times of Tevye (played by Topol), a Russian Jewish peasant milkman who’s trying to keep his family together and preserve Jewish traditions against the background of anti-Semitism and changing political environment of pre-revolutionary Russia.
After energetically expressing his goals in the rousing musical opener, Tradition, Tevye sets about trying to arrange marriages for his three daughters, who are intent upon escaping his matches in order to marry for love.
The story is engaging, the music extraordinary– with beloved songs such as Sunrise, Sunset and If I Were a Rich Man underscoring important moments in the story and spurring it forward.
The fiddling referred to in the film’s title is provided by none other than the brilliant Isaac Stern, and it’s splendid. The film won 1971s Oscars for scoring and sound– as well as for cinematography.
The Collectors Edition, a 2-disc set, comes through admirably with the film’s brilliant images and audio.
Additionally, Disc One features an informative and entertaining behind the scenes commentary by Director/Producer Norman Jewison and Topol. Disc Two presents deleted scenes and a deleted song (“Any Day Now”), as well as a documentary about Norman Jewison and commentary about difficulties making the film in Yugoslavia, stories of Sholom Alecheim read by Jewison, an interesting interview with John Williams about the music, cast member interviews, a feature on production design and storyboards, the theatrical trailer, a historical backgrounder with photos by Ann Weiss, interesting material about the songs of Fiddler and the songs of Sholom Aleichem and other extras that enhance the viewing experence.
This is one you’ll want to have in your DVD library.