Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
Cat(herine) Ballou's family farm is being threatened by the Rail Road. She sends for Kid Shelleen, finding him to be the drunkest gunfighter in the west. When her father is killed by the rail road magnate's gunman, she vowes to fight on. Shelleen manages to ride sideways in several scenes, while minstrels sing the ballad of Cat Ballou in between scenes. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
While Lee Marvin's drunken antics kept most of the cast and crew laughing, it didn't make a fan out of Jane Fonda, who had the job of playing her character straight while the others got to ham it up, and took her role very seriously. Too seriously for Marvin, who according to Dwayne Hickman, was always trying to joke with her and make her lighten up. Hickman recalls that Fonda was "less than enthusiastic about the movie. She wanted to do more serious work and playing straight man to a bunch of crazy characters wasn't her idea of great filmmaking." Marvin's efforts to loosen her up were met with annoyance from Fonda. It didn't help their relationship either that Marvin insulted her French husband Roger Vadim while he was visiting the location set in Colorado. "When he was drunk," said Vadim in his 1986 memoir Bardot, Deneuve, Fonda, "he would tell me that he hated the French. 'But,' he would add, 'I like you because you're half Russian, even though I hate Russians also.'" See more »
When Cat is jumping from the train, she jumps onto finely grained gravel and it appears from the sun angle that it is mid afternoon. In the very next shot, when they are dusting themselves off and laughing, the side of the track is large loose gravel and it appears from the sun angle that it is very late afternoon. See more »
The opening Columbia logo is followed by the first verse of the "Cat Ballou" song, sung by Nat 'King' Cole and Stubby Kaye, complete with scenes of the town. We then see go to the opening credits. See more »
The only reason Fonda got top billing is because it was called "Cat Ballou"
Let's face facts -- Fonda was OK in this movie, but Lee Marvin was in his glory as over-the-hill gunslinger Kid Shelleen. Add to that his second role as as the noseless Tim Strawn. Toss in the matter-of-fact way the Kid reveals that he and Tim had been brothers.
And leave us not forget my favorite scene -- the "suiting up" of the Kid prior to the ultimate showdown. It's almost like the investiture of an ancient high priest, down to the acolyte-like functioning of Jackson Two-Bears (played to perfection by Tom Nardini). Absolutely no dialogue, and set, as I recall, to music reminiscent of the Spanish corridas.
If anyone draws up a list of Lee Marvin's best films, they'd have to be nuts to not put this in the top three. His "Best Actor" Oscar for this film was well-deserved.
And equally high marks to whomever did the stunt work for Marvin. The antics on horseback during the last scenes, with a "drunken" Kid Shelleen in the saddle, have to be seen to be believed.
By all means, see this movie. Be ready to cheer for the "bad guys" as they seek revenge against the "badder guys". But do NOT, under any circumstances, think for a minute that the movie as shown on TNT is complete. The last time they aired it, they actually CUT part of the above-mentioned dressing scene -- an unforgivable sin of omission, in my book. Rent (or buy) the video or DVD instead.
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