Cat Ballou Reviews
Maybe I just don't like Westerns ... or comedies. I found all of the jokes flat and all the gags ludicrous. I chuckled once: "He did it! He missed the barn!" Lee Marvin's performance is good. He plays his typical hard-ass role, and he satirizes himself playing the drunken good guy.
The film doesn't say much. There isn't a lot in the way of femme power, but Jane Fonda isn't incredibly compelling. Tom Nardini's token Native character isn't as offensive as most Western portrayals of Native characters, but the line "It wasn't me that did that to Custer" implies that Natives are generally evil, but this one isn't (never mind that Custer had it coming to him, that blond-haired, blue-eyed criminal fuck).
Overall, fans of Westerns might like this comedy, but I'm everything but a fan of Westerns.
Did I mention Jane Fonda?
Still, in spite of this, the film is supported by originality, good musical numbers, charming characters and a fine storyline. As for the femenist subtext, it's noticeable, though not blatant and gets its point across. Touching on the performances, they're surprisingly fairly competent, but still don't get in the way of the hit-hard humor. The humor is snappy and well-written with razor-sharp delivery. Sight gags and dialogue are - in a good way - somewhat unsubtle, but the satire is ironically subtle and clever. This thing does poke fun at the tropes of Westerns, but doesn't shove its being a spoof down your throat. This kind of subtle, clever and sharp satirizing is hardly, if ever found in today's spoofs.
In the end, "Cat Ballou" is unpretentious fun with good performances, charm, interesting messages and razor-sharp satire.
What I got was a spoofy western with numerous musical interludes, or at least musical bits inserted to move the narrative along, not straight up song and dance numbers.
Overall, the film is okay, but I don't know that I would come back to it anytime soon.