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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
The Jewish Sabbath does not necessarily end when the sun goes down, but when it gets dark which could be up to an hour later. Also, an observant Jew would not be able to travel outside a city on Sabbath, even on foot, for more than 2,000 biblical "cubits" (~1,000 yards) from the place he was in when Sabbath began. Therefore, Avram would not have been willing to travel, leading his horse, on Sabbath. It is also forbidden to carry on the Sabbath in a public domain (such as a road), or to make one's animal carry. This is another reason why Avram would refuse to travel. See more »
[Samuel Bender, his daughter Rosalie, and other members of the Jewish community enter the saloon, looking for their new rabbi. Rosalie points out the table where Tommy and Avram are sitting. Since Tommy is wearing a fine new suit, Bender approaches and begins welcoming him to town, in Yiddish]
[Bender continues in Yiddish; Rosalie gazes dreamily at Avram]
What's he talking about? What's he talking about?
He wants to know if you're the rabbi.
[...] See more »
Of course I'd have to be crazy to call _The Frisco Kid_ the best movie ever made, but it's certainly a strong contender for the flick I love the most (an opinion shared by my parents, brothers, cousins . . .). From the premise -- a Polish rabbi in the Wild West -- you'd expect a *spoof* a la _Blazing Saddles_, but in fact this is played absolutely straight, the comedy arising 100% from the believable human situations the characters are thrust into.
Because of this, the first third of the movie is much devoted to setting up what follows, and might strike the first-time viewer as a bit slow (actually, it's subtle and as deliciously re-watchable as the rest). Patience will be rewarded, though, because once the pieces are in place, and especially once our hero meets Harrison Ford's bank-robber with a heart of gold, there's just one indelibly great scene after another.
It's important to note that this is much, much more than a comedy. It's episodic, of course, but an early story element returns unexpectedly (more than once); you think you've been watching just an entertainment and you gradually realize there's a real (and genuinely moving) *point* to all this, as is rarely seen in movies this funny. Rabbi Avram Belinsky (played, of course, with pure magic by Gene Wilder) starts off the movie as a well-meaning schlemiel, someone as ineffectual as he is nice, and ends as a mensch, as a moral force to be reckoned with. (Typical and classic moment along the way: when he's forced to explain the nature of God to a bunch of Indians, he is downright Talmudic in his wisdom -- but the Talmud was never hysterically funny!) The final, genuinely dramatic scenes raise issues about faith, friendship, and personal identity and destiny that are downright profound (at least on repeated viewings) -- without ever missing a comedic beat. Extraordinary.
This is a movie that does for faith and friendship what "Manhattan" and "Tootsie" did for romance and gender roles. Can they please get this out on DVD while my folks are still around to enjoy it?
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