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 <email@example.com>
Aside from the grueling pace, the cast had a wonderful time making the film. Lee Marvin in particular seemed to relish his dual role as Kid Shelleen and Tim Strawn. "Lee was playing this whole thing with a kind of bravado that caused his colleagues on the crew to break up laughing on every take," said director Elliot Silverstein in a 2000 interview. There were times during the shoot, however, when Silverstein was uncertain about the direction that Marvin was taking the character of Kid Shelleen. It was clear that regardless of how Silverstein wanted a scene played, Marvin had his own ideas. Often he would just nod his head at Silverstein's directions and play the scene in the way he saw fit. When producer Harold Hecht noticed how Marvin's comedic performance kept the cast and crew in stitches, he convinced Silverstein that Marvin's instincts were right. See more »
As the gang has robbed the safe at the train and are ready to jump, they aren't holding anything in their hands as they start jumping off. In the next scene however, as they land on the ground they are holding money sacks from the train. 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 »
One of the best modern westerns made that John Wayne wasn't in. Jane Fonda is great as the schoolmarm-turned-outlaw Cat Ballou. When she begins to seek vengeance against the railroad for her father's death, you believe she's really going to get them.
I don't have to say much about Lee Marvin's performance; it's perfect all the way. His dual role, where he plays Kid Shelleen and his evil brother, Tim Strawn, gives him the chance to really stretch his acting talents. When Marvin plays the drunken Shelleen, he's a comic delight. Even his horse looks drunk. When he plays Strawn, the screen sizzles. If you need a reason to see this movie, Lee Marvin should be the reason.
Michael Callan is fine as Jane Fonda's love interest, and Dwayne Hickman steals the scenes he's in as Callan's "uncle"; he's really good in this film. John Marley is pretty funny, also, and Cat's father; his views on the Indian nation are revolutionary, to say the least. Tom Nardini is wonderful as the hired hand who goes along on Cat's quest, none too willingly.
All in all, this is a tour-de-force of acting and writing. Sharp, witty, warm and action-packed, this is a film everyone should see at least once. I've seen it many times, and it's never lost its luster for me.
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