Cat Ballou (1965)
Cat Ballou (1965)
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as Catherine 'Cat' Ballou
as Tim Strawn
as Clay Boone
as Jed Beaumont
as Jackson Two-Bears
as Frankie Ballou
as Sir Harry Percival
as Sheriff Cardigan
as Butch Cassidy
as Sheriff Maledon
as Train messenger
as Train Engineer
as Train Conductor
as Honey Girl
as Mabel Bentley
as Singing Tart
as Armed Guard
as Train Fireman
as Mrs. Parker
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Critic Reviews for Cat Ballou
The picture isn't as consistently funny as its reputation would suggest, but Marvin is terrific.
A drunk Lee Marvin on a horse to match makes this comedy western classic.
Though designed as a star vehicle for Jane Fonda, this first "official" spoof of the Western genre, catapulted Lee Marvin to major stardom, offering him two divergent roles (one played with a silver nose) for which he was rewarded with the 1965 Oscar.
Lee Marvin clearly steals the film in his double role as the good guy/bad guy hired gunman.
Audience Reviews for Cat Ballou
Most review this film simply as a film and that's certainly a legitimate way to go, all things being equal, but it misses the context of the times it was created in. In 1965 a something happened that shook the world and that something we forget or take for granted: the realisation that not everyone was free. In those days there was a riot waiting to happen behind that thought depending on what side of the street one stood on. This film imagines what life might be like otherwise and therein is its importance. So there's a woman outlaw, a Native American compadre, black and white balladeers leading the narrative, and a drunk trying to reclaim his life: all losers societally, bound together to change their lives, an American tale then. And then there's the story. The story ... eh, generic Western. But the rest carries the idea, if not perfectly, of freedom from the presumption of what role lives ought to be. "I choose my life!", but played for cute, for laughs, lightheartedly.
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.
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?
Cat Ballou Quotes
|Cat Ballou:||Some gang! An Indian ranch hand, a drunken gunfighter, a sex maniac, and an uncle!|
|Jackson Two-Bears:||Kid, Kid what a time to fall of the wagon. Look at your eyes.|
|Kid Shelleen/Tim Strawn:||What's wrong with my eyes?|
|Jackson Two-Bears:||Well, they're all red, bloodshot.|
|Kid Shelleen/Tim Strawn:||You ought to see 'em from my side.|
|Clay Boone:||He did it. He missed the barn.|
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