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With: Gene Wilder, Harrison Ford
Written by: Michael Elias, Frank Shaw
Directed by: Robert Aldrich
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 119
Date: 07/06/1979

The Frisco Kid (1979)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Rabbi Season

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Frisco Kid (1979) was the penultimate film by Robert Aldrich, a gritty volatile artist who worked within the mainstream system and made many gems (Kiss Me Deadly, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Ulzana's Raid) interspersed with duds (4 for Texas, The Choirboys).

Gene Wilder stars in the film as a Polish rabbi sent to lead a San Francisco synagogue in 1850. After a series of trials and tribulations, he befriends a bandit (Harrison Ford), who reluctantly agrees to lead him across the country to the West coast.

Like Sam Peckinpah, Aldrich was a man's man director; he could direct black comedy, but he had no idea how to handle the straightforward, earnest brand on display here. The bandit and the rabbi share a few very sweet moments, but Aldrich fails to balance them with the violence on one end and sentiment on the other.

Thankfully, Wilder and Ford are quite good together and share a nice chemistry. (Wilder, especially, is lovable.) Reportedly, John Wayne was originally considered for the role of the bandit, but bowed out due to a salary dispute.

DVD Details: Warner Home Video's 2006 DVD release comes with the theatrical trailer.

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