Riotous, slam-bang Western comedy!
In the most lighthearted roles of their careers, Academy Award-winner Jane Fonda (Klute, Coming Home) and Lee Marvin (winner of the Best Actor Oscar for this performance) shine as the title character, a virtuous young schoolmarm who sets out to avenge the death of her father Frankie (played by John Marley), and as drunken sharpshooter Kid Shelleen, who agrees to help the young woman go after the killer(s). Along for the ride are Clay Boone (Michael Callan), a handsome young felon who is sheltered by Cat and falls in love with her; Jed (Dwayne Hickman), Clay's Bible-thumping uncle, and Jackson Two-Bears (Tom Nardini, who is hilarious), the Ballou's hired hand who philosophically comments on the treatment of Native Americans. Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye are enjoyable as troubadours who sing the plot of the movie as it moves along. Fonda never looked more beautiful, Marvin is a hoot (as Shelleen and his twin brother, the silver-nosed Tim Strawn), and the screenplay (by Walter Newman, Frank R. Pierson and Roy Chanslor, from his novel) is remarkable. Memorable scenes include the opening train sequence, the brawl at the square dance, the showdown between Cat and Sir Percival (played by character actor Reginald Denny) and the conclusion at the gallows. Delightful from start to finish! ***1/2 out of ****
- Jan 26, 2003
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