Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Article 5595 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Norman Jewison
Featuring Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey
What it is: Musical
In pre-revolutionary Russia, a Jewish milkman must contend with a changing world that challenges the traditions in which he believes.
I didn’t right away expect to be reviewing this one because I had forgotten that the movie does indeed have fantastic content; the fake nightmare that Tevye dreams up to convince his wife to change the marriage plans for their eldest daughter features corpses and ghosts risen from the dead. There’s also a somewhat more subtle touch of fantastic content here as well; the title character is an anthropomorphic metaphor rather than a real person, and he remains something of a mystical character. As for the movie itself, the story inhabits a special place in my world. Though I do some local acting, I’m not fond of musicals and don’t audition for them. There’s only one musical I would consider doing, and that’s the one this movie is based on. Why? Because for me, it’s the only musical I’ve seen that works on such a deep emotional level that it transcends the artifice of the form; the music deepens the emotional and thematic elements of the story in a way that I’ve not seen before or since. it may be a musical, but it inhabits a very real world indeed, and one that can be deeply tragic. Yet it’s Tevye’s emotional struggle to hold on to his faith while watching the traditions that define it fall apart that really make’s the movie so deeply satisfying to me. It’s hands down my favorite musical, and I’m glad the fantastic content allowed me a chance to review it here.