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Cat Ballou (1965) Poster

(1965)

Trivia

At his acceptance of the Oscar, Lee Marvin opened by saying, "Half of this probably belongs to a horse out in the Valley somewhere".
Nat 'King' Cole died several months before the film was released.
The film's horse trainer told Elliot Silverstein that the scene where a horse leans against a wall with its front legs crossed could not be shot because horses don't cross their legs, then that it might be possible if he had a couple of days. Silverstein invoked his rank as director and gave him an hour. The trainer plied the horse with sugar cubes while repeatedly pushing its leg into position, and they were able to get the shot.
Kirk Douglas turned down the role of Shelleen. Jack Palance desperately wanted the role but was never offered it.
Based loosely on the true story of the "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" gang, who were one of many robber bands who dwelt between heists at the Hole-in-the-Wall in Wyoming. The character of Cat Ballou is equivalent to the real life robber "Etta Place" whose true identity is unknown.
Roy Chanslor's original novel was a serious western. The comedy elements were added for the film.
Ann-Margret was first choice for the title role but turned it down.
Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Western" in June 2008.
Jane Fonda reportedly didn't understand the film when she read the script, but because she was under contract to Columbia Pictures at the time, she had no choice but to take the role of Cat Ballou.
Like several other Columbia releases of the 1960s (i.e., Bye Bye Birdie (1963), Strait-Jacket (1964)), this film includes a spoof of the studio logo, in this case with the Torch Lady doffing her robes in animation and turning into a cartoon cowgirl.
When filming the scene where Kid Shelleen takes a bath and dons his costume, director Elliot Silverstein had all actions timed to the beat of a metronome, its pace increasing when Shelleen takes his guns. He planned to have the scene scored with Spanish guitars following this beat, but the producer was adamantly opposed to anything Spanish in a Western. In the end, electric guitars were used.
This film inspired NBC to make two different pilots which aired on consecutive days in 1971: Cat Ballou (1971) with Lesley Ann Warren, and Cat Ballou (1971) with Forrest Tucker.
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In 1956 the film was originally announced as a musical to star Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis as the brothers eventually played by Lee Marvin; several years later, John Saxon was linked to the project, most likely playing some version of one of the younger characters portrayed by Dwayne Hickman or Tom Nardini.
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Frank Pierson was the 11th writer on the script, following on the heels of screenwriter Walter Newman.
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According to the lines in the section of the ballad sung when 'Kid' Shelleen first comes into town, his first name is 'Steel-Eye'.

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