Fiddler On The Roof
Norman Jewison’s classic adaptation of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof has made its way to Blu-ray. This collection, which contains both the DVD and Blu-ray, marks the 40th anniversary of the film’s release. The film, on its own, still holds up today. It has entertained people for 40 years, and it will undoubtedly still be around 40 years from now. On top of the movie, the Blu-ray comes bundled with an abundance of special features, making this edition a must own for fans of Fiddler. For anyone who has never seen the movie, the Blu-ray is also a great place to start.
Tevye (Topol), a poor milkman living in pre-revolutionary Russia, is married with three daughters, all of whom are old enough to get married. As anti-Semitic forces threaten his town, Tevye also must face the changing of the times through his daughters, each of whom challenges the tradition which he feels holds his town together. As Tevye’s traditions and morals are increasingly questioned, the future of his hometown becomes less and less certain.
Topol seems like he was born to play the part of Tevye. Having first played the role on a London stage, his transition into the film version is nearly flawless. Jewison does a fantastic job of bringing the musical from the stage to the screen. The cinematography and the scenery are fantastic. Upon its initial release, the film won the Oscars for cinematography, score and sound. These awards were well deserved.
The main film contains an audio commentary by both Topol and Jewison. The two share information on the production of the film and other interesting facts and stories. The commentary is definitely worth a listen, but at 179 minutes, only the adventurous will probably want to sit through the entire thing.
Also included in the Blu-ray is a short documentary, “Norman Jewison, Filmmaker,” filmed during the production of Fiddler. This 50-minute program provides a good behind the scenes look at the film, and it shows the various difficulties encountered while making the film.
There are also several interviews included. The first of these segments, “Norman Jewison Looks Back”, allows Jewison to give perspective on his thoughts of the production. Unlike the documentary included, which was made at the same time as the film, this interview allows Jewison to think back to the making of Fiddler. In the second segment, “John Williams: Creating A Musical Tradition,” the composer talks about how he took the stage score and made it suitable for a feature film. The final interview segment is titled “Tevye’s Daughters,” which includes interviews with the three actresses who played Tevye’s daughters in the film.
Among the other features are a deleted song, various production related extras including Tevye’s Dream Sequence (in full color), trailers, teasers, and TV spots. The extras address the technical aspects of filmmaking, the music, the actors and directing. For anyone willing to sit through all of the features, they will provide hours of entertainment and information. The only drawback is that the majority of these features have already been released on the Fiddler DVD. However, with the upgrade to Blu-ray, this is definitely the version of Fiddler to own.
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