Gene Wilder as a Polish rabbi crossing America in the 1880s with Talmud in hand, on his way to a new congregation in San Francisco. The director, Robert Aldrich, isn't known for his flair with light comedy; his real skill lies with film noir, as demonstrated in the classic Kiss Me Deadly and Attack! But his unsympathetic eye helps to keep the story and star in check. Cuteness is constantly threatened but only occasionally delivered. All in all, a surprisingly competent entertainment (1979), marred mainly by last-minute cutting. With Harrison Ford as Wilder's unwilling sidekick. PG, 122 min.
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