Director Robert Aldrich has always adroitly mixed comedic and dramatic aspects in his films, and Frisco Kid is no exception. For audiences expecting Mel Brooks belly-laughs amidst the Yiddishisms, however, there’s bound to be disappointment.
As Avram Belinsky, Yeshiva flunky packed off to an American rendezvous with a leaderless 1850s San Francisco congregation, Gene Wilder has his best role in years. The manic gleam featured in early Wilder pix has now turned into a mature twinkle.
Excellent counterpoint is provided by Harrison Ford, as the cowboy, who proves the perfect foil for Wilder’s gaffes.
Frisco Kid remains a series of set pieces, however, and not a cohesive film. For all his skills, Wilder is given too many solo shots. As is his practice, Aldrich has also inserted some action sequences that are jarring in their sadistic intensity.