Z-View: “Cat Ballou”

Cat Ballou  [1965]
Director: Elliott Silversteen
Screenplay:  Walter Newman  and Frank Pierson from a novel by Roy Chanslor
Starring: Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin.

The Pitch: “Let’s make a funny western!”

The Tagline: “It’s That Way-Out Whopper Of A Funny Western…A She-Bang To End All She-Bangs!!”

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

If you’re going to make a funny western it needs to be two things: 1] A western and 2] funny.  Cat Ballou manages to get one out of two right.  It’s a western, but it’s not funny.  Of course humor is all relative.  If you’re a fan of the tv series F-Troup  which premiered the same year and was set in the old west, you’ll definitely enjoy Cat Ballou more than I did.

Jane Fonda plays the daughter of a rancher who was killed by a hired gunfighter [played by Lee Marvin] for his land.  Fonda sends for a gunfighter of her own and ends up with a drunk [also played by Lee Marvin] who shoots best when half lit.

The story is pretty much by-the-numbers except for the fact that every ten minutes or so there is the appearance of two minstrels [played by Nat “King” Cole and Stubby Kaye] who show up to sing us the next chorus of “The Ballad of Cat Ballou.”

Most folks enjoy this film more than me so remember your mileage could vary.