Cat Ballou Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 21, 2013
A schoolteacher hires a gang of misfits to revenge her slain father.
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.
Super Reviewer
½ November 23, 2006
Somewhere inside of Cat Ballou is a great movie trying to get out. With a rarely more beautiful Jane Fonda (see the scene towards the end in the red dress) and a great comedic dual role from Lee Marvin this movie begs to be noticed. But all the other shit driving me away was the problem. Let's start with the whole Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye thing -- STOP! If the songs are actually serving some purpose to move the story forward, fine but if they're just pissing people (namely me) off cut the crap. Then the chemistry between Fonda and Michael Callan was non-existent along with most of the jokes. And were there really natives who spoke Yiddish? Were there really?
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
I've seen better women westerns than this, so this movie felt very silly and average. It gets a laugh here and there, but overall it's just okay.
Super Reviewer
May 5, 2007
Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin are both great in this spoof of the western genre. Nat King Cole is also choice as the Greek choir singing the story of Cat Balou...

Did I mention Jane Fonda?
Super Reviewer
February 20, 2007
Good comedy-western and Lee Marvin was hilarious as a drunken gunslinger better than as a black-hearted hired killer (he played a duel role in this movie).
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2007
This classic comic western sees sweet and innocent Jane Fonda turn desperado with the help of an inept outlaw and the town drunk. Great fun, especially Lee Marvin's turn as both the alcoholic ex-gunslinger and his tin-nosed nemesis.
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2007
Super Reviewer
August 25, 2006
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
June 27, 2011
With all of these musical numbers, I though I was watching "Cats Ballou". Get it? "Cats: The Musical"? ...Sorry it's hard to make a good joke after this thing raised the standards too high for me too even think about reaching its level of hilarity. Okay, it's not that funny, but it's pretty dang funny. Still, the laughter does die down quite a bit at the many slow points. Other mood-killers include some forced scenes, a periodic lack of development, some overdrawn points, inconsistent character focus and some underwhelmingness.

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.
Super Reviewer
October 30, 2007
Strangely enough, what made this film for me was the performance of Nat King Cole. It is such a unique thing for a director to attempt in a Western. This is Fonda at her absolute sexiest. Youch!
Super Reviewer
March 15, 2013
Its a weird movie that exists somewhere between a parody of westerns and a loving homage to them. It is nice to be reminded of a time when someone (in this case Lee Marvin) could win a Best Actor Oscar for such a goofy performance.
Super Reviewer
½ August 23, 2006
Hilarious western, much better than Blazing Saddles. Drunk horses, a resourceful dame in the voluptuous shape of Jane Fonda and a sozzled Lee Marvin make this a hugely enjoyable film.
Super Reviewer
December 25, 2007
Hilarious! A great movie.
Super Reviewer
July 19, 2006
Funny western spoof. Marvin won an oscar for his duel performance.
½ August 4, 2014
I am shocked that people actually enjoy this. It is considered Jane Fonda's breakthrough and Lee Marvin won an Oscar for his two roles, but don't ask me how or why. I found it really boring and the "The Ballad of Cat Ballou" really wears on you. It didn't have the spirit of a Western and it was an unfunny attempt at a spoof. (First and only viewing - 8/10/2014)
August 2, 2014
Watched this again tonite on cable. I first saw it at the Heart Drive-in in Kansas City back in 1965. It was so good my date and I watched the entire movie. It is still a funny, funny brilliant film.
½ May 1, 2007
This is the first of a group of Western Comedies made in the 1960's and 1970's that eventually brought to an end the era of Western movies. It was followed by James Garner's "Support Your Local Sheriff" and "Support Your Local Gunfighter", then Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles". These are all extremely funny movies. I first saw Cat Ballou on Television when I was in High School. Latter when I was in college the girls in Willard Hall at Oklahoma State rented the film to show in the dorm. This was just before VHS tapes came on the market. The movie was made in 1964 and starred Jane Fonda. This was before the Vietnam War got big and before Jane Fonda got political. She was young and good looking. Lee Marvin played a drunken gunfighter and won the 1965 Oscar for best actor. The horse he was riding deserved an honorable mention for helping him win. Most of the movie was filmed in Canyon City, Colorado. When my family took a trip to Colorado to see my relatives in Colorado Springs we went through Canyon City. They still had signs up telling the tourist how to find the sites around the town where they filmed the train robbery scenes.
February 12, 2012
One of the funniest films I have ever seen. Who knew that Westerns could be funny without being slapstick parodies (see Mel Brooks)? Lee Marvin was definitely deserving of the Academy Award for Best Actor for his dual role as Kid Shelleen/Tim Strawn. I had no idea Marvin had such comedic chops in him. The silver nose still makes me laugh. I also loved Jane Fonda as the eponymous character. I nearly forgot how beautiful she was during her younger years (before she peddled fitness tapes) and she was downright gorgeous in this film. She was a tough cookie but a tough cookie worth the trouble. Nat "King" Cole also stole his scenes as Shouter as well. A film definitely worth seeing over and over again. Cat Ballou set the standard on Western spoofs.
½ February 25, 2012
Full disclosure: I went into this film expecting the normal western, but hey, it's interesting because it's got Jane Fonda and she's a cutie, right?

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.

January 14, 2012
This comedy western film is one of my dad's all time favorites. Lee Marvin is funny, and the image of him as Tim Strawn with the silver nose is burnt into my memory, as well as the images of Marvin as Kid Sheleen working with Jackson to sober up back into fighting condition. But overall the film just doesn't thrill me the way it thrills my dad. I'm just not a huge western fan. Definitely not a bad movie, not even a bad western or a bad comedy, I'm just not really the target audience.
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