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Fiddler on the Roof

Published August 31, 2022

Fiddler on the Roof

Film info

  • Title Fiddler on the Roof
  • Director Norman Jewison
  • Year 1971
  • Run time 3hrs 1m
  • Genres Drama, Romance
  • Tagline To life!

Norman Jewison's adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical is set in the Ukranian ghetto village of Anatevka. Tevye the milkman is constantly being challenged by his poverty, the romantic entanglements of his five daughters, and the prejudicial attitudes of the non-Jews. Tevye carries on lengthy conversations with God whenever the weight of the world becomes too much for him, he does not answer but he is at least more willing to listen than the milkman's remonstrative wife Golde.

Live blog

Time Comment
2:43 “You might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a simple, pleasant tune.”
5:48 Really have to take your ‘equality for the sexes’ hat off for this film.
12:39 Oof, long old intro this. Musicals with overtures are tricky to adapt.
16:58 As a kid, Lazar Wolf was always a terrifying name to me.
29:38 “Would it spoil some vast eternal plan if I were a wealthy man?”
31:35 “For what reason?” “It doesn’t say.” Because there IS NO REASON.
49:38 Mr Wolf really isn’t that scary, it turns out.
1:03:36 In reality, of course, they’re dancing around next to a river with no music.
1:10:33 Motel is adorable.
1:21:18 I’ve never seen a less modest man.
1:27:43 Dream sequences are always annoying and this one is proper horror.
1:44:09 I love an argument that manifests itself as chickens.
1:49:28 “Orders are orders.” BLEURGH.
1:52:49 I just feel that you don’t need an intermission in a streaming version. That’s what the pause button is for.
1:55:12 “They are so happy they don’t know how miserable they are.”
2:07:19 This is a cute song although it does seem like 25 years is a long time to wait to ask the question.
2:21:13 Yaas for the new arrival being a sewing machine, and the baby in the background.
2:35:54 How early does matchmaking start, for goodness’ sake?
2:44:27 “Maybe that’s why we always wear our hats.”
2:56:20 Is this the most depressing end to a musical ever?

Thoughts

I’ve seen this quite a few times as a kid but not for a long time, so I was interested in what I would think of it from a slightly more knowledgeable position. I really love the music, the songs, the dancing, Tevye and his many sidebars and thoughts and stroking his beard. The situations are irritating, because they are so patriarchal, but they are of their time. And then there’s the tragedy of ongoing Jewish persecution. The musical is too long for my tastes, and the second half is really so depressing it’s hard to push through it, but overall, it’s just as good as I remember.

Rating: 3 / 5

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