IT’S THAT WAY-OUT WHOPPER OF A FUNNY WESTERN… A SHE-BANG TO END ALL SHE-BANGS!
On her way to see her rancher father in Wyoming, the kind-hearted and inexperienced Cat Ballou (Jane Fonda) gets entangled with two outlaws… who become handy when it turns out that dad is in danger. This adaptation of a serious-minded Western novel adds a great sense of humor and still maintains at least a semblance of darkness. Narrated by two merry minstrels (Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye), the film keeps its spirits high throughout, aided in no small part by Fonda as the good girl who becomes a bandit and Lee Marvin in a very funny, almost slapsticky turn, as a drunken gunfighter (and also one of the masked villains).
1965-U.S. 96 min. Color. Produced by Harold Hecht. Directed by Elliot Silverstein. Screenplay: Walter Newman, Frank Pierson. Novel: Roy Chanslor (“The Ballad of Cat Ballou”). Editing: Charles Nelson. Music: Frank De Vol. Song: “The Ballad of Cat Ballou” (Jerry Livingston, Mack David). Cast: Jane Fonda (Cat Ballou), Lee Marvin (Kid Shelleen/Tim Strawn), Michael Callan (Clay Boone), Dwayne Hickman, Tom Nardini, John Marley.
Trivia: Ann-Margret and Kirk Douglas were allegedly considered for the lead roles; at one point, the movie was being planned as a musical.
Oscar: Best Actor (Marvin). BAFTA: Best Foreign Actor (Marvin). Golden Globe: Best Actor (Marvin). Berlin: Best Actor (Marvin).
Last word: “It seemed we’d never do two takes unless the camera broke down. The producers had us working overtime day after day, until one morning Lee Marvin took me aside. ‘Jane,’ he said, ‘we are the stars of this movie. If we let the producers walk all over us, if we don’t stand up for ourselves, you know who suffers most? The crew. The guys who don’t have the power we do to say, ‘Sh*t, no, we’re workin’ too hard.’ You have to get some backbone, girl. Learn to say no when they ask you to keep working.'” (Fonda, “My Life So Far”)