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Cat Ballou av Jane Fonda

Cat Ballou (urspr publ 1965; utgåvan 2005)

av Jane Fonda (Actor)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
841241,250 (4.5)5
When her father is murdered by a powerful businessman, a woman hires a has-been gunfighter to help her gain revenge.
Titel:Cat Ballou
Författare:Jane Fonda (Actor)
Info:Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2000), Edition: Special
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


Cat Ballou [1965 film] av Elliot Silverstein (Director) (1965)



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Cat Ballou (1965)

Jane Fonda – Cat Ballou
Lee Marvin – Kid Shelleen

Michael Callan – Clay Boone
Dwayne Hickman – Jed
Tom Nardini – Jackson Two Bears
John Marley – Frankie Ballou
Reginald Denny – Sir Harry Percival
Jay C. Flippen – Sheriff Cardigan
Bruce Cabot – Sheriff Maledon
Arthur Hunnicut – Butch Cassidy
Nat King Cole – Sunrise Kid
Stubby Kaye – Sam the Shade

Screenplay by Walter Newman and Frank Pierson, based on the novel The Ballad of Cat Ballou (1956) by Roy Chanslor
Directed by Elliot Silverstein

Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment, 2003. Colour. 92 min. 16:9 Widescreen (1.85:1). Mono sound. Bonus documentary (12:37).


You know, you are a sugarplum. You better watch out. Because there are a lot of people that are just as depraved and cowardly as they think they are. And one of them, one of these days, is gonna eat you right up.

If you ask me how many times I’ve seen that movie, I won’t be able to tell you. I’ve lost count. Dozens, I guess. Not only I never get tired of it, but my appreciation grows with every new revisit. This is a far smarter and funnier spoof western than the inexplicably celebrated Blazing Saddles (1974).

The movie is not entirely devoid of serious overtones, few and fleeting though they are. When Cat wistfully observes that the outlaw heroes of her childhood “got old” or passionately declares that she sees all of Clay’s faults but loves him anyway, she unwittingly provides some food for thought. She is even a bit of a feminist: “Why do men always think marriage is the only thing on a woman’s mind?” (Male stupidity, I guess.) All characters have such moments that aren’t quite so light-hearted as they seem. Jackson Two Bears, a Native American fellow who cannot be held responsible for Custer’s Last Stand because he was a baby at the time, is really a politician and a civil activist ahead of his times. Why did he punch you in the face? Well...

...everyone else was doin’ it. I got the right to share in the fun without regard to race, creed or color according to the Fourteenth Amendment.

But it’s a huge mistake to take this movie seriously. It was never meant to be taken that way. It is constant, consistent, relentlessly hilarious romp; sometimes simply goofy, sometimes sharply satirical, but great fun all the same. The story is a simple but effective cocktail of romance and revenge. The characters are even simpler, types really; but are they alive! The dialogue is very nearly flawless. And the cast! The cast is one of the greatest comic ensembles ever assembled on the big screen.

I often read in reviews that Jane Fonda is too serious for the role and really did nothing for this movie except to lend it some box-office power with her top billing and serve as a pretty diversion for the male audience. This is tosh. Sure, she is only 28 and heart-breakingly gorgeous, what with her huge blue eyes, golden hair, milky skin and so on and so forth, including the “wide open spaces” that proved Sir Harry’s undoing. She’s a sugarplum all right. And far hotter than in Barbarella (1968)!

But Jane also gives a superb performance. Too serious? That’s precisely the point! Cat is the most serious character of all, and to a great comic effect too. Mind you, Jane is by no means devoid of comic talent herself. It requires a considerable amount of it to deliver in the right way deathless gems like “Some gang! An horse-ranch Indian, a drunken gunfighter, a sex maniac, and an uncle!” It requires nothing short of comic genius to ask this gang with a straight face to “rob one little train”. The scene with Sir Harry, while pretty serious in the end, contains classic goofiness in the beginning. Does she approve the master bedroom? “Oh, it’s swell. A regular Tintoretto!”

Lee Marvin, however, is indeed the star of this movie. He has made a drunken gunfighter one of the immortal comic characters. What Falstaff and Mr Pickwick are to literature, this is Kid Shelleen to movies. You’ve never seen a man who goes through the day so fast. The past doesn’t exist for him: “My, oh my. How that booze will do you mind. Fog your mind so can’t remember a darn thing.” Just watch his face while he is draining yet another bottle of whisky! That never fails to crack me up. Same deal with the famous Corset Scene. Shelleen’s riding and shooting skills are in a class of his own, too. So is “that plan” to rob that little train. In short, Kid Shelleen is nothing short of a complete manual how to mock mercilessly every single cliché ever used in a western.

I can’t believe Lee Marvin got an Oscar for a Leading Role. How come the Academy showed so much sense of humour? Anyway, such legendary performance fully deserved it. Even Marvin’s brief acceptance speech has become the stuff of legend. It was a classy touch to dedicate half of the award to his horse. This is a very special beast. That delicious moment with the crossed hoofs in the end has rightly become iconic. It never fails to have me in stitches, either. (Once I actually fell off my chair.)

Then there are Michael Callan and Dwayne Hickman, two guys completely unknown to me otherwise, both evidently born to play good-natured bums. Clay is the “sex maniac”, rustler and hustler, as the occasion demands. Note his reaction when he finds himself confronted with Cat’s – um – posterior. Such things happen in the confined space of a railway carriage. Jed is the “uncle” and a priest of sorts, comforting sinners and returning stray lambs to the flock, “drunk as a skunk” but apologising for his “disgusting condition”, eager to assure you he is not going to inflict himself on you any further. He is even a master linguist: “Keep every sheriff easy, move!” Hallelujah, brother!

Even the smallest roles are done to perfection. John Marley is gloriously over the top as Cat’s father. Hard to recognise the Hollywood tycoon from The Godfather (1972), is it? This must be great acting all right. Frankie Ballou certainly has his share of great lines: “Cat, I ain’t running no dude ranch for misfits and unemployables.” Tom Nardini is another “lost name” (where else have you seen this guy?) and another stunning performance with just the right touch of deadpan humour. He may not have been there when Custer last stood, but acquits himself with distinction in the melee on Fall Harvest day. So, by the way, does Mabel (Gail Bonney) as Frankie’s “six-foot dove”. Reginald Denny appears for just a few minutes in the end, but can you forget the zany Sir Harry with his 19th-century technology and caveman passions?

Last but not least, Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole make most western soundtracks sound even sillier than they are. Here the music is charming and the lyrics provide a good deal of spicy stuff right from the beginning:

Well, now, friends just lend a ear
For you’re now about to hear
The ballad of Cat Ballou

It’s a song newly made
And Professor Sam the Shade
And The Sunrise Kid are singin’ it for you

Cat Ballou, Cat Ballou, Cat Ballou

It’s a hanging day in Wolf City, Wyoming
Wolf City, Wyoming, 1894
They’re gonna drop Cat Ballou
Through the gallows floor

She’s killed a man in Wolf City, Wyoming
Killed a man, it’s true
And that’s why they’re hangin’, hangin’ Cat Ballou

She has the smile of an angel – fights like the devil
The eyes of an angel – bites like the devil
The face of an angel – I say she’s the devil
She’s mean and evil through and through

Cat Ballou, Cat Ballou
She’s mean and evil through and through

You have to see and hear those fellows. Quotation can do them no justice. Just like a mere review, least of all this one, can convey nothing of the movie’s ineffable charm.

Cat Ballou is considered a classic, but that is a meaningless label. It certainly doesn’t mean, in this case, what it is supposed mean. The movie should be far better known and more highly rated than it is. I guess many people simply take it too seriously. If you manage to avoid this silliest of all mistakes, what a feast of fun you have in store! Blazing Saddles, indeed! ( )
  Waldstein | Oct 3, 2019 |
inga recensioner | lägg till en recension

» Lägg till fler författare (7 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Silverstein, ElliotDirectorprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Newman, WalterScreenwriterhuvudförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Pierson, FrankScreenwriterhuvudförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Callan, MichaelActormedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Chanslor, RoyOriginal storymedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Cole, Nat KingActormedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Denny, ReginaldActormedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Fonda, JaneActormedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Hecht, HaroldProducermedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Hickman, DwayneActormedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Kaye, StubbyActormedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Marvin, LeeActormedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Nardini, TomActormedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat

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When her father is murdered by a powerful businessman, a woman hires a has-been gunfighter to help her gain revenge.

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