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Cat Ballou [Blu-ray]

4.6 out of 5 stars 334 customer reviews

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Cat Ballou
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Product Details

  • Actors: Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin
  • Directors: Elliot Silverstein
  • Studio: Sony
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (334 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0033AI4E8
  • Learn more about "Cat Ballou [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"Well now, friends, just lend an ear / For you're now about to hear / The Ballad of Cat Ballou..." so begins the "Greek chorus" of Nat 'King' Cole and Stubby Kaye, banjos in hand. Having seen "There's Something About Mary" before "Cat Ballou," I didn't realize that the former was paying homage to the latter with this clever device. (Of course, being the original, "Cat Ballou" does it much better). By the way, the often-humorous score is by Frank DeVol.
The performances are good all around, each character with well-played and memorable funny bits. Jane Fonda plays it straight and serious next to the inept-ness of so-called outlaws Dwayne Hickman and Michael Callan and the over-the-top Lee Marvin (in a dual role as the Kid Sheleen, the drunken hero, and Tim Strawn, the bad guy with an artificial nosepiece). Marvin and the horse steal the show!
This movie is a lot of fun - pure entertainment - and the DVD people at Columbia/Tri-Star did a really good job putting together some extras. The audio commentary with Hickman and Callan itself is fun to listen to while watching the movie on repeat; it's very informative and even laugh-out-loud funny at times. The featurette with the director provides some good info on the movie, and the original trailer and vintage advertising (movie posters, etc.) is nostalgic.
The picture and sound quality is excellent; the visuals are clear and colorful, no noticeable scratches...the sound is very clear for being monaural. One side of the disc has the widescreen (definitive) version; the other side has the formatted version, which is also worth a look as it contains some extra information at the top and bottom of the screen on the scenes that were soft-matted.
I love this movie - it's nice to see that the DVD people took some interest enough to put together the special features on an almost 40-year-old film. Keep up the good work!
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The late Lee Marvin was a very versatile actor, as demonstrated in this motion picture. He much deserved the academy award for his dual role, playing both the alcoholic gunman, Kid Shelleen, and the evil gunman who is his opponent. He said later that it was a fun role that did not take much of his time.

The story is set during the time of the railroad robber barons. They acquired needed right-of-ways by whatever means. When Cat's father is killed by the railroad's hired gun, she hires Kid Shelleen, sight unseen, and has to get him into shape. They dispense their own form of justice, but the law is on the side of the railroad. The motion picture has many memorable scenes that will stick in your memory.

Lee Marvin's performance made this a classic motion picture. Jane Fonda plays Cat, but without Lee it might have been a so-so film.
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Format: DVD
This is a great little comedy, kind of a musical with lots of laughs, catchy songs, and some classic scenes. Lee Marvin is very deserving of his Oscar, as scene stealer Kid Shelleen. This drunken gun slinger manages to miss the broad side of a barn. Jane Fonda is great as the revenge seeking Cat Balou. "The face of an angel, fights like the devil."
However, the real treat of this film is the pair of wandering minstrels. Stubby Kaye (Nicely Nicely in Guys and Dolls) strums around with Nat "King" Cole providing a lovely soundtrack. Their performance really makes this movie work, and moves it beyond a western parody.
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Format: DVD
Although Jane Fonda was 27 years old when she played the title role in "Cat Ballou", she looks about 19, and that was about the intended age of her character. They gave her a very wholesome look, with her hair especially youthful looking. Pretty much all the guys in the baby boomer generation fell in love with her when they saw this film in 1965, whether they were five or 25. And pretty much all the characters in the film fall in love with her as well. This was her first film targeted at the boomer demographic and her young appearance and relative obscurity were deceptive to her new fans. Six years later when "Klute" was released folks were staggered by how used up she looked, generally because everyone had just assumed that she was younger.

In 1965 it was revolutionary to see a film with such a strong, determined, brave, and resourceful young woman, especially for a western. Although Joan Crawford, Shelley Winters, and Peggy Castle had previously played tough saloon owners, there had never been anyone quite like Fonda's character. "The times were a changin" or at least beginning to change and this film both reflected and contributed to these changes.

If you are thinking of watching "Cat Ballou" for the first time be aware that it has the standard 1960's western production design. Things are very studio back lot, very clean, and extremely orderly (insert not authentic here). And although classified as a comedy it is as much mild action/adventure as comedy. The humorous elements are mostly supplied by Lee Marvin doing a parody of the heavy roles he usually played.

Stubby Kaye and Nat "King" Cole bookend the film as banjo playing western minstrels and also function as musical narrators who pop up within scenes throughout the movie, singing the story as it unfolds.
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