Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen

If you love Fiddler on the Roof then you’ll get a kick out of Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen.

It takes you behind the curtain of the classic 1971 movie adaptation of the Broadway hit.

Thanks to Evan Ruster and his wife Kat (at the Perlberger soiree) and Michael O’Sullivan of The Washington Post for getting me to watch this doc.

Trailer for “Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen”

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  • My Rating: 94/100
  • IMDB Rating: 7.6 /10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 92/100 (Users); 81/100 (Critics)

Review of “Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen”

Fiddler on the Roof is one of the most beloved musicals of all time, so a documentary about how it leapt from stage to screen in the early 1970s sounds like a slam dunk.

“Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen”, directed by Daniel Raim, is an affectionate behind-the-scenes look at the making of the 1971 film adaptation.

The doc features interviews with key players like lyricist Sheldon Harnick, film director Norman Jewison, and lead actor Topol.

There are plenty of fun anecdotes, like the revelation that Jewison, despite directing the film, had never actually seen the stage musical before taking on the project.

Or that Topol, an Israeli actor, spoke limited English and learned his lines phonetically.

And that to recreate Jewish life in Russia, Jewison couldn’t shoot in Russia (Cold War). He opts for the next closest thing: Yugoslavia.

Or that when Israel Prime Minister Gilda Meir sits for a screening of Fiddler, she cries.

There is some minutiae that only a Fiddler superfan could love.

And because it’s in the Making Of genre, you also get some inside baseball stuff. Curious what the weather was like when they shot the exterior scenes in Yugoslavia? Fiddler’s Journey has you covered.

And did you know that the movie was filmed through nylon stockings stretched over the lens to create its earthy look?

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly, Chief Maniac, Daily Doc