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The Frisco Kid
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The Frisco Kid More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Frisco Kid

Author: Phil Hubbs from UK
7 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Imagine it, you've got Harrison Ford who's literately fresh off Star Wars and the hottest thing in Hollywood at the time. So what better way to follow on from that with...a Gene Wilder comedy set in the wild west?. This is probably the one type of film that I wouldn't ever expect to see Harrison Ford in.

The plot is very straight forward, a Jewish Rabbi needs to get across the US to San Francisco so he can take up his new position and meet his new wife there. Its a perilous journey and he's gonna need help, luckily along the way he meets up with cowboy and bank robber Ford to guide him. What follows is a classic old fashioned odd couple tale with Ford as the stern dashing risk taking criminal who's good in a fight and fast with his pistol, and dragging his arse behind him is the strictly religious meek kind gentle innocent Rabbi who absolutely refuses to ride his horse on a Saturday.

Its the typical Wilder vehicle really with cheeky clever dialog, visual gags and pratfalls, tonnes of charm and a heart of gold at the centre. You know what to expect along the way, its pretty obvious really, any clichéd predictable cowboy setup and scenario you can think of but stick a Rabbi in the thick of it, you know its gonna be amusing. I won't say its the best comedy I've come across or the best Wilder comedy, its certainly cute cheerful and good viewing for all the family. Its not quite as funny as I thought it might be admittedly, watching Wilder prance around in his Jewish tucks trying to cope with the wild west whilst Ford gruffly shouts at him is funny to begin with but does get a tad dull after a time.

The film does lack a bit of bite and could do with some more outright laughs really. Ford's acting is also a bit touch and go at first but he gets into it later on, only problem is he takes things a bit too seriously I think. You do tend to think this will be a farcical spoof type affair much like 'Young Frankenstein', the films poster hints at it and the combination of the ever lovable goofy Wilder alongside the manly Ford does seem to scream it. But this doesn't really materialise, in fact the film does swing more towards a soppy light-hearted drama towards the end which spoils the fun a bit for me.

The best moments are probably when the duo get caught by native Indians, again there are hints of great comedy here but it doesn't quite make it. And Again when the duo end up in a Trappist monastery (vows of silence) know where I'm going with this don't you huh. Yep its the classic setup for the kind of silly laughs you half expect to see in a Mel Brooks parody. Only thing is again they don't quite take advantage of the setup with only one funny silly moment.

I do feel there was a really classic comedy here just waiting to burst free but somehow its been smothered, not sure how or why. Maybe Wilder wanted to actually make a more semi serious comedy with some emotion. Its a strange little movie really, some nice bits of humorous dialog from Wilder at times but they get rained upon by Ford's overly assertive character. The films visuals are nice and cozy overall (you can see its an old film that's for sure) and generally everything ticks along harmlessly giving you the odd smile. Not really the manic wacky zany riot of belly laughs you've come to expect from Wilder. Never the less its a solid quirky alternative little western that's still worth a watch even though it does feel like its missing Mel Brooks' input.


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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A little comedy, but mostly drama

Author: FlushingCaps from United States
1 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just saw this for the first time (I somehow missed it when it was released) last night. Admiring Gene Wilder (who I most closely associate with Silver Streak and Young Frankenstein, two top comedy favorites), I expected to laugh a lot. I didn't.

There were some very funny moments, but this was about 75% drama, with this poor Jewish rabbi having all sorts of serious calamities befall him as he tried to cross the U.S. from Philadelphia to San Francisco in 1850. One early scene has him not just being conned out of $50 trying to help two other men travel west, but as they take him along, they suddenly start beating him up--with a bloodied face of Wilder making this not at all comical--before they take his bags and clothes and throw him off the stage.

To make that scene at all funny, you needed no blood and Wilder not being visibly beaten. Maybe a quick scene where the bad guys pull a gun and say, "Now we want the rest of your money" and we suddenly see him sitting on the roadside, in his long underwear, showing the results of their robbery without the unpleasant moments where they rob him.

This is the type of thing that seems to dominate this film. Some good comedy, but lots of death-defying serious episodes that take away most of the comedic atmosphere.

Other reviewers have gone over the many inaccuracies and illogical portions of this film. They were numerous enough to obstruct my enjoyment--even though I usually overlook things like that in a comedy.

Possibly the dumbest scene was where Wilder and Ford have chased away the bad guys (killing one of them) and are now happily swimming and laughing when the remaining bad guys confront them, holding their guns on them. Intent on killing our heroes--for killing the one bad guy's brother--it was idiotic of them to let the good guys get anywhere close to their own guns, just so we could have an extended gunfight. The guns had been left on the beach and the bad guys had the drop on the good guys. The bad guys should have easily been able to grab the guns while the good guys were swimming, or shoot before they could retrieve the guns.

Too many poorly-written scenes like this and humor parsed out way too seldom kept me from finding this film worth watching. I think I'll watch Silver Streak again this weekend--it too had some intense drama, but the humor was much more frequent, allowing me to overlook the film's flaws.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The Wilder Kid

Author: jotix100 from New York
15 September 2004

Robert Aldrich was a director who made entertaining films throughout his career. He can count his blessings in having had the opportunity to work with one of the best comedians of all times: Gene Wilder.

This film is a delight, from beginning to end. Mr. Wilder, as Avram is a man we can't keep our eyes from, as he dominates the screen and makes this film his own. The adventures Avram goes through, coming to a country where everything is so different from the world he leaves behind, is what glues this tale together.

A young Harrison Ford is Mr. Wilder's sidekick. This bank robber shows the naive Avram the tricks about how to survive in a hostile environment. Mr. Ford underplays the role, and it works well because the funny lines are meant for Avram, and how he reacts to what he discovers, as he travels west.

This film will always be a favorite because it is universal and it reaches the audience with its positive message while laughing and enjoying the great Gene Wilder on the screen.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

An overlooked laughfest!

Author: simpfann from Philadelphia, PA
22 August 2000

"The Frisco Kid" is a little slow-moving, I also thought it had too much profanity and violence, but the comedy segments were hilarious! It was also sort of an ironic experience to watch this movie because of all the Yiddish phrases used, and at the time I watched it a few months ago, I was trying to study Yiddish! The scene where Gene Wilder emphatically tells an Indian chief that the Jewish Almighty does not make rain is a hilarious and brilliant example of setup\punchline joke construction! As a final word, I say that "The Frisco Kid" is hilarious in its comedy segments and I am disappointed that it is so obscure that it was not even on the list of 500 nominees for the American Film Institute's presentation of the 100 funniest American comedy movies

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"I did so many things, God has truly blessed me."

Author: oOoBarracuda from United States
15 June 2016

The Frisco Kid was another movie in which Gene Wilder spoke in an accent, more than one, throughout the entire film. The 1979 film directed by Robert Aldrich saw Gene Wilder as a Polish Rabbi and Harrison Ford as a gun slinging bank robber. Wilder's Rabbi was traveling to San Francisco from Poland to become the town's Rabbi. Ford's bank robber was traveling aimlessly from one heist to the next. An unlikely friendship began to form and the two made the trek west in the middle of the 1850 Gold Rush.

Avram (Gene Wilder) is a Rabbi who has just completed the schooling necessary to be ordained. Finishing at the bottom of his class, he is condemned to making the trek to America and leave Poland behind. Given little direction and supplies, Avram is beaten and stolen from, but he recovered the Torah he is taking to San Francisco and continues his journey. While trying to catch some fish, an uncouth bank robber Tommy happens upon him and helps him catch some dinner. The two discuss their plans and Tommy, seeing how helpless and naive Avram is, decides to accompany him to California. Of course, Avram has no idea that Tommy breaks the law for a living and is taken aback when he realizes he is now an accessory to a bank heist after "holding the horses" when Tommy runs into the bank. Moving forward Avram rubs off on Tommy, and Tommy cusses less and laughs more. An unlikely friendship forms between the two men as they encounter killers, Native Americans and cocky lawmen in the old west. Getting to Frisco was certainly an adventure in this '79 comedy!

Like Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx, Gene Wilder uses an accent through the whole picture, and again, does so very well. Playing a native of Poland, and at times impersonating a western accent while maintaining the Polish accent, Wilder does a great job with his voice in the film. I wanted to love the adventure comedy matching Harrison Ford and Gene Wilder, I just couldn't. The overt Jewish stereotypes were distracting, to say the least. It was fun to see the two play opposite each other, and such opposite characters, but the story was definitely lacking something. Although there were some funny scenes, like the one in which the Torah was delivered to the family Avram was traveling to meet, overall it wasn't a very good comedy and not much of it stays with the viewer upon its completion. I call 75-80 the lost years of Gene Wilder, and this film does little to change my mind about those years. Luckily for fans of Gene WIlder's, 1980 eventually came.

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Han solo meets Nicolas Cage in Far west (tv)

Author: leplatypus from PariS
16 May 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When IMDb told me that Harrison has made an unknown western involving a rabbi, i wanted to see it because it seems very strange. I got lucky to catch it on satellite TV and the movie is really good ! Gene Wilder is really funny and bearded, his gaze looks really much like Cage ! Harrison plays a similar part than in « star wars » because he does a gentle crook who helps somebody in a adventurous journey that ends in a strong friendship! The pair encounters all that the genre offers : gangsters, Indians, rude outdoors, duel ! Sure, the production can't afford the most prestigious landscapes but the outdoors sequences are diversified anyway ! The Jewish faith is part of the fun but is also part of a serious, noble attitude so everybody can be happy ! In a way, this movie is the actual proof that this art doesn't mean sequels, reboots, fabricated biopics, blue/orange light, special effects, explosive action, wealthy healthy families or expensive star casting (which is the actual level of American production): it's just about finding an original, simple idea and motivated people to do it !

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One of the best Jewish Humor Films

Author: abefl2 from United States
19 May 2014

This movie is a hidden gem. A classic for Jewish humor. The Amish greeting scene is priceless. The no riding on Shabbos is true and traditional. Wilder was brilliant not only with his expertise of Yiddish and convincing as a Rabbi, he had all the terms of the era. Lines like this is a good drink with the Indians. The dancing. The importance of the Torah. Harrison Ford was also very good. 1/4 Jewish he was typical of the uneducated but respectful of the Jewish Religion. He played the role convincingly. Classic line at the end who is going to pay for the drinks, take it out of the building fund. Sure there were some errors along the way, but the theme of the movie was right on and very clever. In summary this is one of the funniest Jewish Films I have ever seen.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Delightful, if surreal

Author: leavesonline from Australia
2 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is one of the most entertaining films I have ever seen. A lot of this, however, is unintentional. At the same time, it also really rather sweet.

The plot is a variation on a theme and the greenhorn Rabbi rescued by the tough old hand offers few surprises. The adventures they encounter, however, are truly fantastic. The railroad scene shamelessly exploits every cultural cliché available in a fine example of political incorrectness. Then of course, there's the Amish - plenty of opportunities for laughs there, except it turns out to be a rather sweet, touching scene. The Italian-American-Indians are hysterical but at the same time there is a very human portrayal quite unusual for the 1970s.

The humour is very Jewish and has a delightful lack of malice. The characters are genuinely likable. Of course it's always funny to see Harrison Ford in his younger days (not to mention the wonderful scene where he does a very girly run in his long johns). Gene Wilder gives a fantastic performance that makes this movie truly worth watching.

So while this movie may have dated more than a little and there are some strange quirks and mistakes that have to be ignored, this is a film that remains enjoyable.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Offbeat Adventure With A Lot Of Heart

Author: FightingWesterner from The Lonesome Prairie
14 February 2010

This is really one sweet-natured fish-out-of-water tale, with a wonderful, winning performance by Gene Wilder as a Polish rabbi who's forced to go it alone from Pennsylvania to San Francisco in 1850. It was a real pleasure to experience the old west through the eyes of this very unlikely hero!

Harrison Ford too is fantastic as a young bank-robber who becomes his protector and who's tough exterior masks a heart of gold, which becomes more apparent as he learns the real meaning of friendship through his adventures with the rabbi.

The movie's treatment of religion was very refreshing too. Wilder's various interactions with people of different faiths is at times hilarious, insightful, and very touching, never scornful. The warmth and respect they each show one another isn't often shown in films.

One thing that had me scratching my head was the rabbi's repeated use of the word "God". As an orthodox Jew, isn't the character prohibited from speaking or writing the deity's name?

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Frisco Kid

Author: rootysmail from United States
8 July 2006

I recently saw this film on video and remembered seeing some parts of the film many years ago. What I loved best was Gene's continued portrayal of the Compassionate Rabbi whatever challenges came to him throughout the movie. Not only the humor but the quest to go on through all odds. This movie represented in all of us the shear determination to not give up through one's belief all that it takes to persevere without trying to look good to others. This is an extraordinary film and it also sends a message that you can take an outlaw and see the transformation of his friend from the Rabbi's devout character. What a masterpiece!

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