My father-in-law, Wayne and I had such a good time analyzing The Big Country that we’ve decided to declare ourselves amateur film critics.
Sticking with the western genre, sort of, we chose Cat Ballou as our second subject. Cat Ballou, a western/comedy/musical, starring Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin is an exceptionally unique film. One might compare Cat Ballou to Paint Your Wagon, also starring Lee Marvin. But then again Paint Your Wagon is first and foremost, a musical while Cat Ballou is first and foremost, a western.
Jane Fonda is captivatingly sizzling as a one time innocent school teacher who seduces four men to help her avenge the death of her father. Then again, maybe she is sizzlingly captivating.
Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye are quirky cool as the western version of a Greek chorus.
If you really want to talk quirky cool, let’s talk about Lee Marvin. Heck, if you really want to talk quirky cool, let’s talk about Lee Marvin’s Horse. The photograph above does an adequate job of explaining the quirky cool aspect, doesn’t it?
Marvin was presented with the 1965 Academy Award for best actor in response to his dual role as a drunken gunfighter, Kid Sheleen and his nefarious brother, Tim “Silver Nose” Shawn. It's not every day that the blowhards of the academy grant a best actor award for a comedic role.
Lee Marvin is one of the more interesting figures in film history. An ancestor of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert E. Lee, Marvin served as a United States Marine in World War II. He received a Purple Heart wounds he received at the Battle of Saipan.
Marvin garnered unwanted national attention for his legal battle with Michelle Triola. The woman demanded half of the 3.6 million dollars Marvin earned during the six years she shared a bed with Marvin. This first great palimony suite ended with Triola being awarded absolutely nothing.
Upon receiving the Academy Award, Marvin said, “I think half of this belongs to a horse somewhere out in the valley.”