159 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of musicals - movie & DVD review
Fiddler on the Roof is based on the tales of Russian Jewish life written by Shalom Alechem in the 1800s, with music scored by John Williams. Directed by Norman Jewison, it's widely acknowledged to be one of the best musicals ever made. Tevye, played by the famous jewish actor Topol, lives in the enclave of Anatevka with his wife and _6_ daughters...
Published on January 11, 2001 by Gregory L Dyas
173 of 192 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Buy It! - Horrible Audio Syncing Problem on Blu-ray Disk.
Despite the reviews of others that noted the audio syncing problem on the Blu-ray disk, I purchased it anyway thinking it may have been resolved. No such luck. It is almost unnoticeable during the first part of the movie, though I found myself questioning whether the audio and video were in sync or not - or if it was just me. Halfway through the movie there was NO DOUBT...
Published on April 27, 2011 by My opinion...
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159 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of musicals - movie & DVD review,
This review is from: Fiddler on the Roof (DVD)
Fiddler on the Roof is based on the tales of Russian Jewish life written by Shalom Alechem in the 1800s, with music scored by John Williams. Directed by Norman Jewison, it's widely acknowledged to be one of the best musicals ever made. Tevye, played by the famous jewish actor Topol, lives in the enclave of Anatevka with his wife and _6_ daughters. Insulated & protected by their Orthodox traditions, Tevye must face, with a poignant combination of humor, sorrow and acceptance, the marriage of his three eldest daughters in a series of increasingly unacceptable unions. How far can tradition be bent and still maintain the center of his family and his community's existence? Do we place tradition over family? Oswald Morris' beautiful cinematography and Jewison's compelling film-making pursue these questions both for the residents of Anatevka and for us in our ever-changing worlds.
A marvel, this film has never looked or sounded better for home viewing - a remixed Dolby 5.1 soundtrack and crystal-clear picture on a double-layer disc make this a contribution to your film library you'll not regret. Jewison & Topol's commmentary give you some ideas behind the making of the film, what the director was trying to achieve, and how Topol moved his character from stage to screen. Director's full use of the 70mm aspect ratio demands the anamorphic widescreen format used in this printing.
182 of 197 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movie musicals ever,
This review is from: Fiddler on the Roof [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem, the movie version of Fiddler on the Roof features Topol as Tevye the Milkman, a poor Jewish husband and father living in pre-revolutionary Russia. His story is inevitably tragic, but humorous and touching along the way.
The movie is filled with asides from Tevye, as he reveals his thoughts to the camera. He is forever quoting "the good book," sometimes correctly, sometimes not so correctly.
As was tradition during this time, the matchmaker sets up all marriages. Tevye's daughters aren't too happy about this (as is shown through the famous song, Matchmaker, Matchmaker), and the older three eventually set up their own marriages.
Tzeitel, the oldest, falls in love with Motel, the poor tailor, and they ask Tevye's permission to marry. He finally relents and they have a proper Jewish wedding. Hodel falls in love with a revolutionary who has been staying with Tevye and Golde and their family. She leaves her family to follow him in the heartbreaking song, "Far From the Home I Love." Chava, the delicate middle daughter, falls in love with Fyedka, a Russian. Tevye forbids this marriage, for he cannot turn from his faith. Chava chooses love over family as shown through ballet, and Tevye has no choice but to count her as dead.
Tevye's story ends as the Jewish community is forced from Anatevka. Even in this hard time, Tevye is faithful that everything will turn out all right in the end.
The music in this movie is absolutely beautiful. You'll tap your feet to "If I Were a Rich Man," and "Miracle of Miracles." You'll find tears in your eyes during "Sunrise, Sunset," and "Far From the Home I Love." You'll laugh at Yente and during the dance at the bar.
This is a movie that belongs in everyone's movie collection. It is a story that will last forever.
173 of 192 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Buy It! - Horrible Audio Syncing Problem on Blu-ray Disk.,
Despite the reviews of others that noted the audio syncing problem on the Blu-ray disk, I purchased it anyway thinking it may have been resolved. No such luck. It is almost unnoticeable during the first part of the movie, though I found myself questioning whether the audio and video were in sync or not - or if it was just me. Halfway through the movie there was NO DOUBT. The lips of the actors were WAY out of sync with the video. Long past distracting, it became unwatchable. I had to take the Blu-ray disk out and put in the standard DVD in order to finish watching the movie. Now I know why they include both DVDs!
What a disappointment. What a Shame. What a waste of money, I already owned the standard 40th Anniversary Edition. Amazon should pull this off the "shelf." This wasbad enough to make me write my first review... I feel cheated. And it is NOT my Blu-ray player. My Blu-ray player is a high end Samsung and it plays all of my other Blu-ray DVDs perfectly.
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wide Screen ?,
The new blu-ray version arrived, and my first watch was with some mixed emotions. Colors are strong, but it seems to be a bit on the dark side to me. It is also not as sharp as I expected, and seems to be a bit soft on focus. I think I read some time ago that the film was shot through a nylon stocking which gives it an overall cast of a flesh tone, extremely subtle, but it is there. You get a brief view of the stocking in one musical number when the sun hits the camera from the front, just for a few seconds. The package says it is widescreen, 2:35/1, but it seems to be more like 1:85/1. It hurts in some musical scenes, when you get an impression that you are not seeing all the action. The only thing that is 2:35/1 is the image shown while the intermission music is playing. I suspect this was not made from a new Hi-Def master. I was hoping for the improvement that blu-ray made to "An American in Paris" and "Gigi", but it is not here. I am a big believer in wide screen, and want to see all of the director's creation, and not some cut off version.
As to the performance, this is one of the all time best musicals, superbly cast & photographed. I really caught the moment in time perfectly, while delivering some superb entertainment. It's just too bad it isn't all there.
Overall, it is well worth the price, especially with the enclosed DVD version included.
126 of 143 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The CD is useless,
This review is from: Fiddler on the Roof (Decades Collection) (DVD)
I'm not about to review Fiddler on The Roof or a give a complete history of all its various incarnations like other reviewers have. We all acknowledge it's great. One of the best, if not THE best, musicals ever. I'm here to write about this particular packaging of the "DVD with CD". I don't know about you, but I naturally thought the CD was a CD of the soundtrack so that you can then listen to the songs while driving in your car or hanging around the house. No - it's not a soundtrack CD, which explains the relatively low price - it's a CD of 70's songs. While some are great (Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye and ABC by the Jackson 5), what the heck does "The Night Chicago Died" have to do with Fiddler on The Roof? Or "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb? Maybe they thought Herb worked in the deli down the street!?!?!
I'm not sure if the same CD is included in everyone's package, but here's the listing for my CD:
Billy Don't Be A Hero-Donaldson & The Heywood's
Maggie May-Rod Stewart
The Night Chicago Died-Paper Lace
Ant No Mountain High Enough-Diana Ross
Lets Get It On-Marvin Gaye
To paraphrase Edwin Starr, "What is this CD good for?" Almost absolutely nothing as everybody should already have Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Diana Ross and Rod Stewart on their Ipod already!?!?!? If you want a DVD of Fiddler on The Roof and another version is cheaper - go for that version. Don't think you're getting anything special with the bonus CD.
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this Blu-ray,
Just recently bought 2 blu-ray movies, ten commandment and Fiddler on the roof- the contrast is like day and night, with ten commandment being absolutely amazing and jaw-dropping and fiddler on the roof being an absolute disappointment. This movie has the exact Sound and picture quality of its DVD version -really folks , there is nothing BLUE about it and is a very cheap remastering(if anything????)
Don't waste your $ on it, or you'll be truely frustrated.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life in Russia,
This review is from: Fiddler on the Roof (Special Edition) (DVD)
At one time Fiddler on the Roof was the longest running musical in Broadway history. The musical was based on the books of Sholom Aleichem. Both the books and musical are considered cultural icons. So to film this, Norman Jewison was chosen and despite the name he is not Jewish.
The story is sort of a Jewish version of Pride & Prejudice. Tevye is the village milkman with five daughters to marry off with not much to give by way of a dowry. Therefore, beggars cannot be choosers. Marriages at that time were arranged by the family through the matchmaker, Yenta. (Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch....)
The opening number "Tradition" shows the microcosm in which the characters live. The specific microcosm is the Jewish section of a village during the last Czarist's reign. The village has tradition for everything, "how to sleep, how to eat, how to work, how to wear clothes". You may ask were did the traditions start, no one know but they are traditions. The family is run by the father. All major decisions are made by him. But the mother runs the home. The children are there to carry on traditions of the family. But until they leave the home, the parents make all their decisions, including who they marry.
Tzeitel is the oldest daughter. She is at the age that she must marry soon. Yenta has found a great match, well at least he's well off. The butcher Lazar Wolf wants to remarry and has decided that Tzeitel would be perfect. But to Tzietel, marrying Lazar would be like marrying her father but older. But more importantly, she has found someone that she loves, the tailor Motel. This is not the tradition. But the look in Tzeitel's eyes tells Tevye that she truly loves him. So he decides that he must allow her happiness.
Now the problem is how to break the marriage agreement with Lazar. Worse, how to tell his wife. Tevye devises a plan, "Tevye's Dream". Golda falls for it and the match with Lazar is off.
While making his Sabbath deliveries, Tevye encounters a young radical, Perchik. He invites Perchik to say with his family for the summer in exchange for lessons for his youngest daughters. At Tzeitel's wedding he breaks the tradition that men and women do not dance with each other and dances with Hodel. Perchik decides his mission in the village is done and needs to go elsewhere to fight for the people. Hodel does not take the news well, until he asks her to marry him. The tell Tevye that they are getting married and he says no. They explain that they are not asking for his permission just his blessing. They are getting married no matter what he feels. Tevye contemplates that like Adam and Eve, Hodel and Perchik have the greatest matchmaker. And despite the traditions, he gives them his blessing.
Tevye tells Golda that he has given Hodel and Perchik his permission and asks her "Do You Love Me?" Perchik goes off to Moscow. After he is arrested and sent to Siberia, he asks Hodel to join him.
While bringing the cow home (don't ask where it's been), Chava is harassed by some "outsider" farmers. But Fyedka, an "outsider" farmer, comes to her rescue. They begin to see each other. After Hodel leaves, they arrange a chance meeting with Tevye. He tells Chava that marriage outside the religion is forbidden and to never see Fyedka or speak of him again. Chava rebels and elopes. When Tevye is told that of the elopement, tells Golda that she is dead to him.
The Jews in the town are told that they must leave Anatevka in three days. After a life together the village disperses. Some go to Jerusalem, some go to Chicago, Tevye and family go to New York. In the emotional end, Chava returns to let the family know they are also leaving to Krakow. Despite everything Tevye wishes them to go with God.
This movie is one of the last great movie musicals. Director Norman Jewison took what he learned from directing TV variety shows and the great movies of the 60's to make a truly evocative film about the oppressive life of Jews in Russia. Even though this film is bleak it also shows the hope that all the people of that time lived with. This is a masterpiece.
From a technical view, the score is one of the best. Much of the production design is actual locations in Yugoslavia. And one thing I found out from a Jewison tribute is the color was created by shooting the film through a nylon stocking.
I was lucky to see a stage production of Fiddler with Topol about ten years later. And it confirmed that the film was an accurate reproduction of the stage show in content and feeling.
DVD EXTRAS: Located on Side 1
Commentary by Norman Jewison and Topol
DVD EXTRAS: Located on Side 2
Norman Jewison film maker - A 49 minute National Film Board of Canada documentary on Jewison and the filming of Fiddler. This is principally about the filming of Fiddler but in the middle Jewison talks about his experiences at Universal and UA Mirsch.
Norman Jewison Looks Back - Five mini documentaries where Jewison talks about the creation of Fiddler. These were filmed for the DVD release and are a look back. (10 minutes)
Deleted Song: Any Day Now - Created for Perchik (Michael Glaser - before Starsky and Hutch) to replace his romantic ballad Now I Have Everything. But it was cut too. This is sound only with stills (3 minutes).
Tevye's Dream in Full Color - Tevye's Dream was filmed in full color but then filtered to give it more of a dreamlike quality. This has an into by Jewison and also a side by side viewing of a portion of the number. (7 minutes)
The Stories of Sholom Aleichem - Two stories that inspired Fiddler read by Norman Jewison. (6 minutes)
Historical Background - Norman Jewison gives some historical background on Jewish life in turn of the century Russia. (12 minutes)
Production Design and Storyboards - Production and storyboards from the film and five storyboard to actual film comparisons. The comparisons are always great to see. This shows how it was conceived and how close the actual film was to this. (20 minutes)
Original Production Notes - Normally, I skip these but I decided to look. This is broken into four sections: casting, make-up, call sheets and shooting schedule. The casting are appointment sheets with the names of actors (many which were unknown at that time) auditioning for parts. Interesting names were Ron Rifkin, Rob Reiner, Richard Dreyfuss, John Rubenstein and John Ritter for Motel, Leland Palmer, Katie Sagal, Talia Shire, Darlene Carr, Meg Foster and Ann Jillian for one of the daughters. Richard Thomas for Fydeka
Photographic Production Diary - Like everything else this is broken into subsections. Therefore, you can choose which aspects to view.
Promotional Materials - Various print material for the original and the re release. The best is the animated souvenir program which shows the entire souvenir program page by page.
47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic�and my all-time favorite musical!,
This review is from: Fiddler on the Roof (Widescreen Edition) [VHS] (VHS Tape)
"Fiddler on the Roof" is my all-time favorite musical, both on the stage and on film. This is a story of tradition, love and marriage in a Jewish family living in the face of persecution in Tsarist Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. Based on the 19th century stories of Sholom Alechem, it tells of how Tevye, a poor Jewish dairyman, Golde, his somewhat shrewish wife, and their five unmarried daughters face their dreams amidst the reality of rampant anti-semitism. Director Norman Jewison's treatment of this story is wonderfully sensitive. The cast - especially Topol as Tevye (nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for this role) and Norma Crane as Golde - bring to life all the strength of character, the comedy, and the poignant tragedy of life in the village of Anatevka. The music and choreography are sheer magic throughout! "Fiddler on the Roof" is a timeless classic, and should not be missed.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie, but Amazon product description is incorrect,
This review is from: Fiddler on the Roof (DVD)
I bought this DVD because the Amazon product description said it starred Theodore Bikel, who played in the Broadway and road show versions of "Fiddler on the Roof" for many years - I had the impression this would be a film of the Broadway show. This is just a repackaging of the excellent 1971 movie, starring Topol. The features of the DVD are identical to those on the DVD I bought several years ago - only the box is different.
The Amazon product description has been changed since I ordered the DVD several weeks ago, but it's still not completely correct. The Amazon description lists the actors as Ina Claire, Brian Coburn, Patience Collier, Norma Crane, Barry Dennen - and doesn't include the star, Topol, in the list. The DVD jacket lists the following in starring roles: Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Molly Picon, and Paul Paul Mann, produced and directed by Norman Jewison.
Don't get me wrong - this is an extraordinary movie. Just be aware that it's the movie that stars Topol, so it's not really anything new.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What Were They Thinking?,
I really wanted to love this Blu-ray. I had waited for years for a really good, clean, crisp version of Fiddler On The Roof to come out. It is one of the best movie musicals of all time. I was so disappointed I just wanted to kill myself. This Blu-ray technically is exactly what the folks at the movie company wanted it to be. Unfortunately, it isn't what the movie buying public and consumers of Blu-ray products wanted. When we bought our Blu-ray players we wanted clean. We wanted crisp. We wanted a sharp picture, with vivid colors. Then the restoration technicians produce something like this. How can people just completely and thoroughly miss the point?
First let's talk about the good things. There are some nice extra features on this Blu-ray. I love the discussion with John Williams about adapting the movie music for the big screen. It was also good reminiscing with the daughters.
Another one of the good features is the sound quality. If you shut your eyes, and don't try to listen and watch at the same time, the soundtrack and the quality of what you're listening to is pretty astonishing considering the age of the material. It would have been nice if they could have synched the audio soundtrack to the video but apparently that was a little too much to ask for in this version. Amazing. They can take the Sound of Music, or something as bad as the movie version of South Pacific, and make you feel like you're watching a movie that was released two weeks ago. Then they take a movie as important as Fiddler On The Roof and can't even sync the sound and the picture consistently throughout the film. For all of the discussion about preserving the original intent of the director, I'm sure Norman Jewison really intended to have the sound and the picture sync together no matter how many nylon stockings he put over the camera lenses.
Now, let's talk about the video quality. The colors are actually pretty good. Nice saturation...nothing too faded, no color shift, etc. So what the heck is all this garbage about soft focus, nylons, trying to give the overall feel of a flesh tone? But on the whole, the Blu-ray version is actually worse video quality than the DVD version that was done five or six years ago. The bottom line is, in all honesty, they just messed up and messed up badly. The DVD version issued with this release is easier on the eyes than the Blu-ray. They should have just made Fiddler look as good as The Sound of Music or any of the other recent restorations of movie musicals from the 60s and 70s, instead of trying to do an artsy historical restoration that added nothing to the film. This restoration actually degraded the quality of the film, and I hope is not the last revision of one of the finest movie musicals ever made.
This, unfortunately, maybe one of those movies that just doesn't make the jump to Blu-ray. If that's the case here, that's okay. But in the future I wish they would put some kind of warning on the label to alert the consumer that they're buying a blurry version of an old movie who's audio is out of sync with the video.
Funny. I buy a steam iron and I expect it to be perfect. I buy a car and I expect it to be perfect. And for it to have the features that I paid for at the dealership. Why can't the movie studios the same thing for its consumers? It's one thing not to like a movie after you leave the movie theater. We sort of expect that sometimes. But for an established movie, and a Blu-ray release to fall this short... Somebody really should get beat with a lamp cord. If it is available, buy the DVD version contained in this release. Skip the Blu-ray.
And for those who already purchased the Blu-Ray...there is hope. No you haven't had a stroke. It's made that way.
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