Chandler’s Trailers: “Cat Ballou” (1965)

0000catballou2     “Cat Ballou” is the story of a ballad, or more precisely, the back story of what gives substance to that ballad. (It is entertainingly performed, intermittently, by Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye, though needlessly interrupting the progression of the narrative at several key points.) In doing so, it is neither overtly dramatic nor appreciably folksy in that frontier Americana brand of dispensing exaggerated truth which emboldens a disproportionately mythic sense of history, especially in matters pertaining to the Wild West. That this film rests comfortably in that time and place (though entirely fictional in basis) and that it tells its story in a rambunctiously comic manner (too often cascading into the realm of buffoonery) is a matter of serendipitous fortune as the western, as a genre, was long overdue for a good dose of parodistic self-effacement-  especially with the dour emergence of the 1950’s psycho-dramatic “adult” westerns of Anthony Mann and Budd Boetticher which, despite their undeniable qualities (and they are many)  -as the genre seemed to cascade into an immersive portentousness of Shakespearean proportions (often including direct adaptations of the Bard such as the “King Lear” influence on “Broken Lance” or “Othello” on “Jubal”) that threatened to suffocate the genre with a sudden rush of overreaching self-importance.
To read the complete review, click the following link to:

About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in acting, books, comedy, Film Reviews, Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, movie reviews, Movies, Nat King Cole, Reviews, Romance, westerns. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Chandler’s Trailers: “Cat Ballou” (1965)

  1. Love Cat Ballou. it’s one of those movies I have to re-watch every few years. The characters are real “characters”. Enjoyed the post.

  2. beetleypete says:

    This film was certainly not my cup of tea Chandler. I have a lot of time for Jane Fonda, playing Barbarella, or as Bree Daniels in ‘Klute’, but this was far from her finest hour.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. What a super-serious pedantic review of a funny movie. I almost fell out of the balcony of the theater in which I saw it I was laughing so hard. It doesn’t hold up to time as well as some movies have, but it’s still funny and well done for the genre. And maybe Lee Marvin’s finest moment, at least comedically.

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