Fiddler on the Roof

Director: Norman Jewison
Year Released: 1971
Rating: 3.0

Hard working farmer Tevye (Chaim Topol) is cursed with five daughters (three of them ready for marriage), is poor, has to deal with anti-Semitism in Russia and doesn't approve of the progressive ideas of the young generation (marrying people you love, dancing at a wedding), but there's no problem that can't be solved … with a song! First part (pre-intermission) is light-weight and jubilant, with a steady stream of catchy numbers - as great as Zero Mostel was as Tevye in the Broadway version, Topol's take is certainly impressive - but in the second part, with his one daughter running off with a Marxist and his other daughter running off with a gentile (the former understandable, the latter inexcusable) is a little run-on: he's not one of the cinema's Crazy Fathers, and it's only time before he relents. Shortened versions of this apparently exist, but if you're going to see it you might as well endure the three hour version: as a tale of the diaspora and Jewish identity I'd rather watch this than Preminger's interminable Exodus.