Long before Unforgiven deconstructed the Western, or Blazing Saddles lampooned it, Cat Ballou poked the genre in the eye. An altogether enjoyable comedy, the film is full of small surprises, big laughs, and wonderful character turns. Catherine Ballou (Jane Fonda) is a schoolteacher until a hired thug kills her daddy. To protect what she loves, she collects two petty criminals, a wisecracking hired hand, and a hired killer, Kid Shelleen (Lee Marvin). Unfortunately, Shelleen is a raging drunk who is so inebriated and unsteady with a gun he literally misses the broad side of a barn. However, Cat, has, as they used to say in those days, a mind of her own, and she masterminds a spectacular train heist that puts them all on the lam. Marvin won an Academy Award for his role as the derelict Shelleen, and his performances (he actually has two) are still topnotch and on target. The framing device, two wandering minstrels, played by Stubby Kaye and Nat "King" Cole, are the maraschino cherries on the top of this Wild West confection. --Keith Simanton
The sleeper hit of 1965 Cat Balou was declared an instant classic when its sly blend of Western parody and rapid-fire action hit the screen. Lee Marvin won an Oscar for Best Actor for his dual role as noiseless ("it got bit off in a fight") gunslinger Tim Strawn and as Kid Shelleen the woozy boozy has-been who goes up against him. Jane Fonda co-stars as Catherine "Cat" Balou the schoolmarm-turned-outlaw who teams up with Kid. Slinger Nat King cole and comedian Stubby Kaye also appear singing the title song "The Ballad Of Cat Ballou." This wild and wooly adventure is "the ultimate American spoof of the American Western." Judith CristSystem Requirements:Starring: Jane Fonda Lee Marvin Michael Callan and Dwayne Hickman. Directed By: Elliot Silverstein. Running Time: 96 Min. Color. This film is presented in both "Widescreen" and "Standard" formats. Copyright 2000 Columbia TriStar Home Video.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: WESTERN/MISC. Rating: UPC: 043396048645 Manufacturer No: 04864
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