'Fiddler on the Roof' (Two Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
(Topol, Leonard Frey, et al / 2-Disc Blu ray+DVD / G / 2011 / MGM)
Overview: A grand tradition of song, dance, and musical splendor returns to the screen when 'FIDDLER ON THE ROOF' debuts on Blu-ray. This lavishly produced and critically-acclaimed screen adaptation of the Tony AwardŽ-winning Broadway sensation tells the life-affirming story of Tevye (Academy AwardŽ-nominee Topol, For Your Eyes Only), a poor but soulful milkman whose love, pride and faith help him face the oppression of turn-of-the-century Czarist Russia.
Blu ray Verdict: For all intents and purposes, I'm sure you all know by now the story of 'Fiddler on the Roof.' But, and for the record, a personal one at that, for me 'Fiddler on the Roof' is a TRULY inspiring story.
It's about a Jewish family living in a small Russian village during the Czarist period shortly before the Communist Revolution in 1917. The breadwinner was a poor farmer who sold milk to the people of the village; his wife was a homemaker busy raising five daughters. The older three are prominent in the story.
The oldest girl is in love with the village tailor, and they eventually marry. The second girl falls in love with a 'teacher', also a Jew, with somewhat radical ideas. After spending time with the family for a time, he leaves for St. Petersburg to help promote a revolution from the Czarist regime and is imprisoned. The second daughter, upon learning of his imprisonment, decides to leave her family and join him. The third daughter meets a kind young Gentile man; against her father's dictates they get married.
As a result the father disowns her. Finally, the Czar decrees that all the Jews in the village must leave their homes and leave the country. The movie ends with all the people beginning their exodus from their homes to other lands in the world.
I don't believe that the film is dated. Historical in plotline, it's not a documentary. It's reflective of the times, customs and everyday life of the Jewish people who loved Mother Russia, but were hated by the Csar. The Rabbi was once asked, "Is there a proper blessing for the Scar? Yes my son," the Rabbi answered. "May God Bless and Keep the Csar ... Far Away From Us."
As to the performance, this is one of the all time best musicals. Superbly cast and photographed they really caught the moment in time perfectly - whist delivering some superb entertainment. The songs written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick are classics also. Indeed, all the songs are played at appropriate times (weddings, bar/bat mitzvas, deaths) and so (as far as I feel), even the songs are still very appropriate.
After watching it you will be humming "If I Were a Rich Man" for at least a week. This is a keeper. It can be watched and enjoyed over and over. It is worth every penny - and I'm a penny watcher!
Overall, it is well worth the price, especially with the enclosed DVD version included. And so basically, and for the record, 'Fiddler on the Roof' looks terrific on blu-ray! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Disc 1 - Theatrical Feature Blu-ray:
**Audio Commentary by Director/Producer Norman Jewison and Topol
**Norman Jewison, Filmmaker
**Norman Jewison Looks Back
**John Williams: Creating a Musical Tradition
**Songs of Fiddler On The Roof
**Deleted Song - "Any Day Now"
**Set in Reality Production Design
**Storyboard to Film Comparison
**Tevyes Dream Sequence (in Full Color with Side-by-Side Comparison and an Introduction by Norman Jewison)
**Trailers, Teasers and TV Spots
Disc 2: Theatrical Feature DVD
Fiddler on the Roof - Bonus Clip: "Tevye's Daughters"