Frontierado is fast approaching but before I switch over to looking at high-quality westerns I still have some oddities to examine. For this go-round it’s the movie Jewish Gauchos based on the 1910 novel by Alberto Gerchunoff. The film deals with the musical adventures of a group of Jewish immigrants from Russia working as gauchos (Argentine cowboys) in Argentina in the very early 1900s.
This film plus a few westerns filmed in Israel but set in the American frontier make up the very, very unusual subgenre called Matzoh Westerns (as I’m sure you’ve guessed, those are the Jewish version of the Italian Spaghetti Westerns). Outside of the bizarre subgenre of amputee kung fu movies from Hong Kong, Matzoh Westerns are my favorite cul de sac in the weirdass movie neighborhood.
The movie is sort of like Fiddler On The Roof meets Oklahoma and isn’t really bad, just odd, like a movie about French Cowboys in western Canada would be. Elevating the fun factor is the fact that the movie posters honest-to-God say “Tsuris on the pampas!” and “Horas on horseback!” making you wonder why “Meshuginah mavericks!” wasn’t also on them.
If only Die Hard‘s John McClane had been a fan of Matzoh Westerns instead of Roy Rogers flicks the famous saying from that movie could have been “Oy vey, mo********er!”
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