HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Country
Absolution
Rough Draft, A
Battle of the Godfathers
Lu Over the Wall
She's Funny That Way
Vox Lux
Aftermath, The
Five Fingers for Marseilles
Jupiter's Moon
Favourite, The
Mysteries of the Gods
Coming Home
De Sade
Patti Cake$
Hellbound
Final Destination 2
Romance
Bros: After the Screaming Stops
Cockleshell Heroes, The
Mule, The
Sunday in the Country
Nutcracker Fantasy
Spellcaster
Hipsters
Executive Action
Captain Marvel
Zombie Girl
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rhinoceros
Monkey King 3, The
Adventurers, The
Stripped to Kill
Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
Aladdin's Magic Lamp
Christopher Robin
Hole in the Ground, The
Daniel
Blue Christmas
Death Trip
   
 
Newest Articles
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
   
 
  Cat Ballou Wild Women DoBuy this film here.
Year: 1965
Director: Elliot Silverstein
Stars: Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, Michael Callan, Dwayne Hickman, Nat 'King' Cole, Stubby Kaye, Tom Nardini, John Marley, Reginald Denny, Jay C. Flippen, Arthur Hunnicut, Bruce Cabot, Burt Mustin, Paul Gilbert
Genre: Western, Musical, Comedy
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Cat Ballou (Jane Fonda) is about to meet her maker. She was captured for a heinous crime and now sits in prison as the gallows are prepared outside, with the citizens of Wolf City eager to see her hang for all the trouble she has caused them. But how could such an innocent-looking young woman have created such upheaval? For the answer to that, we must travel back in time to the point she was leaving her school, having trained as a teacher, and on the train she met a couple of ne'erdowells, cattle rustlers who were travelling with her, and would be a big part of her life from then on...

They're not all who will be significant as Cat - Catherine - is heading to see her father Frankie (John Marley) who lives on a ranch outside Wolf City, but the corrupt officials there want to hound him off his land for their own devious ends. If this is coming across as a straight ahead Western, with the novelty of a female lead, then that's the way the source novel was, but for the movie there was a twist. Long in development, a style was settled on and that was comedy, spiced up with musical numbers though oddly not performed by the main players: for the songs, Nat 'King' Cole (who had died by the time this was released) and Stubby Kaye were our unlikely crooning Greek chorus.

Which was a very successful conceit, with the balladeers commenting on the action as it unfolded, both in humorous verse and more melancholy form for the sad bits. It wasn't those two who won the attention however, as this was the film which won Lee Marvin his Oscar in the dual role of gunfighters, one mean and coldly efficient, Strawn with the silver nose (it had been bitten off in a brawl), the other Kid Shelleen, the hero of Cat's favourite pulp novels who turns out to be a real person. So who better to defend her father against the baddies than him? Alas, once he arrives it's clear the years have not been kind, as he's a raging alcoholic who can barely hold a gun - so can Cat whip him into shape?

She can, assisted by those terrible twosome she met escaping the law on the train, love interest Clay Boone (Michael Callan) and his uncle Jed (Dwayne Hickman), and to show how progressive this is, her right hand man is an Indian, Jackson Two-Bears (Tom Nardini), who was her father's best friend and now becomes invaluable to Cat. All these men are quickly devoted to her, and with Fonda at her most luminous you can well understand why they would be, but to get even with the authorities in Wolf City they must break the law, and she proves especially ingenious in the way to carry out that. The sense of injustice meted out to Cat and her unofficial family is never far away, and kept this compelling.

Unfortunately, what was less compelling were the jokes, as while going the comedy route was a good idea, the fact only a few scattered laughs are the result meant this could have been a lot wittier; as it is they tended to fall back on slapstick, which while the cast were capable, felt tired. But there were compensations, as a regretful air permeated the tale which prompted the audience to genuinely hope Cat and company win the day, not only because those they are battling fall back on such nasty methods of meddling, getting away with their wrongdoing because they have the law in their pocket and allowing Strawn to kill Frankie with impunity, then claiming to know nothing about their crimes when Cat confronts them. So it may not have been hilarious - though Marvin was excellent value, the fact that he was an alcoholic in real life tended to make the laughter in his direction uncomfortable - but there was a spirit of muddling through against the odds which won you over. Plus the horse. Music by Frank De Vol.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3416 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
Paul Shrimpton
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: