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A rabbi from Poland goes to America to lead a Jewish community. When he arrives in America he is hijacked and has to work his way across the country. On the way he meets up with a bank robber and they form a friendship, have many (mis)adventures including being captured by Indians. Written by
When the "Frisco Kid" first came on tv two decades ago I recorded it and watched it over and over, my wife and friends and I quoting parts of it at each other at appropriate moments in our lives.
I read the (some) lukewarm comments here on the Database and the more positive ones and let them ride, just keeping this small pearl tucked away as my favorite movie. Then last night I came home, turned on the tv and caught Gene Wilder as the rabbi Avram Belinksi trying NOT to look at the woman on the train's wondrous cleavage as he was making his way to 1850 San Francisco, so I and sat down and watched the movie through again. It is still as funny, quaint, realistic, well acted and kind as it has ever been.
Gene Wilder demonstrates the best acting he has ever done. He IS Avram Belinski. Complex, human, childlike and oh so (what I imagine) European Jewish. A stranger in a doubly strange land. Strange by being an urban Pole in the "wild west" and strange by being a Jew in that world. I learnt a lot about "Jewishness" from this movie, and at the same time a lot about Americanism too. Being neither myself I can still appreciate the humour. Humanist, long suffering, realistic and proud.
Whatever it is inside me that makes me feel good and part of humanity is touched by "The Frisco Kid". That is why I regard it as my "favorite" movie, not the best movie ever made. That title I reserve for another totally different obscure B/W movie called "King and Country" whose demonstrated injustice is counter-balanced by Avram's integrity.
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