Quotes: Oldest Daughter Tzeitel: "But Mama,
the men she finds. The last one was so old and he was bald. He
had no hair". Golde: "A poor girl without a dowry can't
be so paticular. You want hair, marry a monkey".
Based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem, this
filmed version of the stage play captures the energy, fun and
drama of the original play, and is a truly entertaining classic
musical. The Screenplay was by Joseph Stein, adapted from his
The basic story involves a poor, Jewish, Russian
peasant milkman, Tevye (Topol), his wife, Golde (Norma Crane),
and his family of five unmarried daughters, who live in a traditional,
Jewish community in pre-revolutionary Russia. The plot revolves
around their family's struggles between traditional Jewish values
and the changing times. Each of his three eldest daughters, Tzeitel
(Rosiland Harris), Hodel (Michele Marsh) and Chava (Neva Small)
in some way, cross traditional Jewish customs/values in finding
and choosing a husband. He tries to cope with, and work out most
of these value clashes, periodically talking to God.
The entire cast is excellent. Topol is perfectly cast as the robust,
life- loving, title character. While this film certainly represents
the high point of his career, he has continued to deliver noteworthy
performances over the years, in a wide range of films, including:
"Flash Gordon" and "For Your Eyes Only."
Leonard Frey earned a Best supporting actor nomination
for his convincing portrayal of the poor tailor, Motel who musters
up his nerve to ask Topol for his blessing for the marriage pledge
that Motel and oldest daughter, Tzeitel made to each other.
My choice of a favorite scene is a tie, between
the whole opening/title sequences and the nightmare scene/song;
both are great!
A close second is the matchmaker song sequence
where the two oldest daughters, Tzeitel
and Hode l (Michele Marsh) explain to the third daughter, Chava
(Neva Small) how she could be stuck with a match made by Yente,
the town match maker. She mistakenly had her eye on the Rabbi's
son. Nothing like a sisterly talk to point out reality.
Music for stage play and film were by Jerry Bock, with lyrics
for stage, play and film, by Sheldon Harnick. The film has numerous
great songs, including: "If I Were a Rich Man," "Matchmaker,
Matchmaker," and "Sunrise, Sunset." The Musical
Score was Adapted and Conducted by John Williams. Mr. Williams
went on to huge fame with the music for the STAR WARS movies,
INDIANA JONES movies, and many others.