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Cat Ballou (1965)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance, Western | 24 June 1965 (USA)
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A young schoolteacher turns into an outlaw to avenge her murdered father.

Director:

Elliot Silverstein

Writers:

Walter Newman (screenplay), Frank Pierson (screenplay) (as Frank R. Pierson) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lee Marvin ... Shelleen / Strawn
Jane Fonda ... Cat Ballou
Michael Callan ... Clay Boone
Dwayne Hickman ... Jed
Nat 'King' Cole ... Shouter / Sunrise Kid (as Nat King Cole)
Stubby Kaye ... Shouter / Sam the Shade
Tom Nardini Tom Nardini ... Jackson Two-Bears
John Marley ... Frankie Ballou
Reginald Denny ... Sir Harry Percival
Jay C. Flippen ... Sheriff Cardigan
Arthur Hunnicutt ... Butch Cassidy
Bruce Cabot ... Sheriff Maledon
Burt Mustin ... Accuser
Paul Gilbert Paul Gilbert ... Train Messenger
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Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Is this the way to make a funny movie...? You bet it is! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 June 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Balladen om Cat Ballou See more »

Filming Locations:

Custer County, Colorado, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$20,666,667
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

(At 22.08) Tea is poured from a plastic pitcher. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Professor Sam The ShadeThe Sunrise Kid: [singing] Well now friends just lend an ear for you're now about to hear the Ballad of Cat Ballou.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits appear in the pages of a Playbill magazine. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 52nd Annual Academy Awards (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday to You
(uncredited)
Written by Patty S. Hill and Mildred J. Hill
Performed by Lee Marvin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great western spoof, and Lee Marvin steals the film!

Cat Ballou is a movie spoof unlike any other, and a great parody of the Western film genre. Jane Fonda appears in one of her most playful film roles ("Barbarella" is another light and funny Fonda classic), and Lee Marvin gives one of his finest film performances (he won his Oscar for his dual roles). Add to this mix a wondrous soundtrack, with Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye as minstrels of sorts who stroll and sing throughout, making the film almost seem like a musical; an outstanding supporting cast including Michael Callan (who later appeared on TV's "One Life to Live"), and Dwayne Hickman (TV's Dobie Gillis), and the result is this hilarious, thoroughly entertaining film that was nominated for five Academy Awards (Marvin was the sole winner).

Catherine Ballou (Fonda)is a recently graduated-from-school schoolteacher returning home to live with her father on his ranch, but he is gunned down upon her arrival. She enlists the help of a loyal ranch-hand, a couple of outlaws, and most notably, a has-been gunman by the name of Kid Sheleen (Marvin) to help her get revenge. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable film that still stands up today, and Lee Marvin stealing the entire film in his amazing dual role performance as both Tim Strong and Kid Sheleen. Lee Marvin alone makes the film well worth seeing.

The dialogue is great. Take this exchange as an example:

Jackson Two-Bears: "Kid, Kid, what a time to fall off the wagon. Look at your eyes." Kid Sheleen: "What's wrong with my eyes?" Jackson Two-Bears: "Well they're red; bloodshot." Kid Sheleen: "You ought to see 'em from my side."

I was thrilled when the widescreen special edition of this long-time favorite of mine came out in 2003, and on DVD. I have the soundtrack on vinyl, but I have always wished that it would come out on CD; Nat King Cole is one of my all-time favorite singers, and his rendition of "They'll Never Make Me Cry" always makes me...anyway. This film still hasn't lost any of its humor or fun with the passing of time, and stays on of my personal "top ten list" of comedy.


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