Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fiddler on the Roof Movie

Fiddler on the Roof is the 1971 film adaptation of the 1964 Broadway musical of the same name. It was directed by Norman Jewison. The film won three Academy Awards, including one for arranger-conductor John Williams. It was nominated for several more, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Chaim Topol as Tevye, and Best Supporting Actor for Leonard Frey, who played Motel the Tailor (both had originally acted in the musical; Topol as Tevye in the London production and Frey in a minor part as Mendel, the rabbi's son). The decision to cast Topol, instead of Zero Mostel, as Tevye was a somewhat controversial one, as the role had originated with Mostel and he had made it famous.

Principal photography was done at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England. Most of the exterior shots were done in Croatia: in Mala Gorica, Lekenik, and Zagreb. Isaac Stern provided the violin solos.

The film follows the plot of the stage play very closely, retaining nearly all of the play's dialogue and even adding a new scene showing Perchik being arrested, although it omits the songs "Now I Have Everything" and "The Rumor (I Just Heard)". It takes place in the Jewish village of Anatevka, within the Pale of Settlement in westernmost Tsarist Russia in 1905 and centers on the character of Tevye, a poor milkman, and his daughters' marriages. As Tevye says in the introductory narration, the Jews have relied upon their traditions to maintain the stability of their way of life for centuries; but as times change, that stability is threatened on the small scale by Tevye's daughters' wishes to marry men not chosen in the traditional way by the matchmaker, and on the large scale by pogroms and revolution in Russia.

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