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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 native Americans are manhandling Tommy at their village, one of the Indians is clearly wearing a gold wristwatch on an expanding metal strap. See it at 1:03:12 on the Region 1 DVD. See more »
[Avram pretends that he is a random cowboy, delivering the Torah to the Bender family as a favor to his friend the rabbi. Rosalie Bender thinks he's cute]
What do you want?
Um, well, I came to bring this thing here
[he pats the Torah]
for, eh, for Mr. Bender, iffen I got the right house, an' all.
You do. I'm his daughter.
Yeah, I know that.
[He remembers that he is not supposed to have seen her photograph before, much less carried it from Poland]
Oh! Oh, you're the daughter! You're the Bender ...
[...] 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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