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 vows 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>
Producer Harold Hecht was wary of Lee Marvin's seemingly uncontrolled performance during production and at one point planned to fire Marvin. But director Elliot Silverstein told Hecht that if Marvin left the picture, he would as well. See more »
When Cat is in the jail cell, the bars on her cell window appear and disappear between shots. 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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