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Cat Ballou (1965)

Cast: Jane Fonda, Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, more...
Director: Elliot Silverstein, Elliot Silverstein
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Musicals, Westerns
Running Time: 96 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Thai
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This musical spoof of Westerns featured Lee Marvin in dual roles that won him a Best Actor Oscar. Jane Fonda stars as the title character, a prim schoolmarm returning to her hometown of Wolf City, Wyoming, after receiving an Eastern education. On the train ride, Cat meets up with a pair of friendly, charming crooks, Clay Boone (Michael Callan) and his uncle, Jed (Dwayne Hickman), the former becoming hopelessly smitten with the naive but tough Cat. Upon arriving home, Cat discovers that her eccentric father, Frankie (John Marley), is being threatened with bodily harm by a development company that desperately wants his land. When Frankie is murdered by ruthless, noseless killer Tim Strawn (Marvin), Cat straps on a pair of six-shooters and persuades Clay, Jed, and her father's loyal Native American hand Jackson Two-Bears (Tom Nardini) to sign on as her posse. In her quest for revenge, Cat also recruits Kid Shelleen (also played by Marvin), a one-time fearsome gunslinger who's now a hopeless alcoholic. Cat Ballou (1965) is interspersed throughout the narrative with appearances by Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole as a pair of balladeers who comment on the action musically in Greek chorus style. ~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Time for a Revival, I'll Drink to That! by thejasonholland November 19, 2003 - 3:56 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
This is the type of movie that could easily be scoffed at by today's younger audiences. It is dated and it is a western, but a parody wrapped in a "typical" western's disguise at that. It has all of the ingredients of a movie that should be viewed by generation after generation.

Lee Marvin is the last of the Old West gunfighters who, even though he's crawled inside a bottle for that few years, hasn't sold out and been employed by a railroad or local land developer. He is commisioned by our protagonist, Cat (Jane Fonda), a shoolteacher who is forced to find any decent protector when her father is being threatened off their ranch. Unfortunately the only people she meets or is near her are a cowardly uncle-nephew team of con men and an Indian ranchhand who isn't much of a "savage."

The comedy is expertly timed. The performances ring so true, you can feel yourself getting caught up with each character's own struggle. And, of course, the story is narrated by two banjo-picking balladeers, Nat "King" Cole and Stubby Kaye. Just about everything you would see in a pre-1960s western pop up- from a train robbery, a deul, to an outrageous barfight. And just about every stereotype or ignorant act typical of older westerns are brought down by the witty satire- from Indian abuse to the role of women, finding purpose for all the characters to defeat the "bad guys."

If you liked Blazing Saddles, and understood where it was coming from, there is no reason you shouldn't enjoy Cat Ballou. If nothing else, watch because of Lee Marvin's performance- one of the funniest in any genre of movie history.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.65)
54 Votes
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