I saw Fiddler on the Roof at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville in 1989. It was their 25th anniversary tour and the lead role was played by Topol who also played the lead role in the movie. In fact, the day we saw it was also Topol’s 54th birthday. I had, of course, already seen eth movie and the stage version was just as impressive. It was the movie version of Fiddler on the Roof that convinced me that a movie version of Les Misérables could be done well.
This is Topol singing the most memorable song in the production.
When I was in my 30s, I read the book Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo. I had read somewhere that Hugo’s style of writing resembled Ayn Rand in terms of story complexity and character definition. Hugo, like Rand (and also Alexander Dumas) fill their stories with numerous subplots and their characters are often easily identifiable as purely heroic or evil. Every word and every detail of the story is important and everything relates to everything else. The book is a masterpiece of literary perfection.
Then a number of years ago, I chanced upon a special about the Cameron Mackintosh stage production of Les Miz and decided I would have to see it. Since them I have seen it four times in three different cities. My favorite character in the show is Eponine and this is one of the best songs ever put on a stage.
I have been waiting for years to see it as a movie. I hear it is absolutely stunning.
You’re probably more likely to be familiar with this song as the opening music for the movie, Inside Man, but I came across it much earlier in this Bollywood video called Dil Se staring Shah Rukh Khan (kind of like India’s Tom Cruise).
This song comes fairly early in the movie and, as is sometimes the case in Bollywood movies, doesn’t really factor into the storyline. The girl is a model/actress named Malaika Arora and, aside from this clip, plays no part in the movie. Instead the lead female role in the movie is played by another woman, Manisha Koirala.
The sequence was filmed in five days exactly as seen, without any special effects. Khan had no safety tether during at least some parts of the train top dance.
I think this is probably one of the best dance sequences ever made and planned at one point to join my daughter on a trip to India, so I could see the Ooty train where this was filmed. I got the visa, but then decided not to go. My daughter, who was working for an NGO in Nepal at the time, made the trip on her own, visiting several sites in India, but she didn’t go see he train.
After seeing the dance clip, I bought the two hour and forty minute DVD and watched it. It is just your basic love story between a guy and a suicide bomber. You can skip the movie and just watch the ending here.
I miss the old MTV and VH1. You know, back when music videos were basically all they played. So, this will be my answer to Radley Balko’s Five Start Fridays.
This is one of my favories. I first heard about it from my son. I think the music was used in the video game Grand Theft Auto. That game was, of course, accused of being the reason for violent attacks like Columbine. The fact that millions of people manage to play violent video games without embarking on mass shooting sprees, doesn’t seem to matter. I noticed that game manufacturers are once again in the spotlight as part of the Executive Branch’s response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Nothing like a school shooting to energize those who want to gut the Bill of Rights (even as they swear they don’t want to do any such thing).