Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bill and Wayne’s Excellent Adventures in the World of Movies



CAT BALLOU


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.”



Captivating Sizzle or Sizzling Captivity...



23 comments:

JJ said...

Wow! What great memories. I have not even heard Stubby Kaye's name in thirty years. And let us not forget The Dirty Dozen.

#167 Dad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
#167 Dad said...

JJ,

Wow! Someone remembers Stubby Kaye.

The Dirty Dozen was a hell of a good movie.

Sadly enough, your reference reminds me of Tom Hanks crying over Trini Lopez getting killed in The Dirty Dozen - in Sleepless in Seattle. Sleepless in Seattle? What kind of man am I?

I was doing a little reading on Lee Marvin. How's this for irony: Lee Marvin, the man who might be best known for his role in the Dirty Dozen, rejected the lead role in Patton because he felt the film glorified war.

Momma Fargo said...

Wow! That brings back 1982. We showed that movie at our high school to bring in money for our junior prom! Yikes! Great movie!

#167 Dad said...

Momma,
Kid Shelleen was the man...

Susan R. Mills said...

I don't know about captivating sizzle or sizzling captivity, but the horse is definitely quirky cool!

Cate P said...

I loved Cat Ballou, god, I haven't seen it for years. Thanks for reminding me, got a hankering for it now...
Keep up the reviewing.

#167 Dad said...

Susan,
I'm thinking captivatingly quirky...

#167 Dad said...

Cate,
Bill and Wayne thank you for the encouragement.

Erika said...

I have never been a Western watcher, but now I think I might have to try it out.

#167 Dad said...

erica,
the world weally needs more western watchers...

RDD said...

Westerns have always been my favorite movie genre, with a particular affinity for spaghetti westerns of which over 500 have been made. A misconception is that they are called spaghetti wersterns because they were filmed in Italy. This is generally not true. Almost all of them were filmed in Spain (around Almira) but were made and financed by Italian production companies (thus the spaghetti). The most successful and well known of which are the Sergio Leone westerns which made Clint Eastwood a star - A Fistfull of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good the Bad and the Ugly. Leone made several more though - Duck You Sucker aka A Fistfull of Dynamite starring Rod Steiger and Jame Coburn. He also "ghost" directed My Name is Nobody which stars Henry Fonda. This movie is truly good. And, the best of all Once Upon a Time in the West. Finally, Sam Peckinpah is wrongly credited with creating the slow motion ultra violent western genre with The Wild Bunch but this was already being done years before in the spaghetti westerns. The Wild Bunch is still a great western though. As for modern westerns I liked Open Range a great deal. The 3:10 to Yuma remake was pretty good but Appaloosa was terrible. Finally, a great Australian Western is The Proposition, which I highly recommend. And finally again, a movie that is not a western but has the slow, methodic pace of Once Upon a Time in the West and a movie I have watched at least 20 times is No Country for Old Men, which is a masterpiece in my opinion.
RDD

italgalmm said...

Nefarious: flagrantly wicked or impious : evil

Hmmmm...
You don't hear that word too often.. I like it

ThinkI will use it more often.

I like Cat Ballou too..

#167 Dad said...

itallgalm,
Great minds do think alike.
I first heard the word (or noticed itabout 25 years ago while watching an episode of MOONLIGHTING. Cybil Shepherd used the word. Intrigued, I grabbed a dictionary and looked it up. I glanced up to the tv screen and noticed Bruce Willis was also looking it up.
Crazy, huh???

Guely of Sweden said...

Just to tell you that i got the wrong video on my last entry! Now it has been corrected. Now i gonna read your Cat Ballow review!

Rick Rivers said...

Always liked Lee Marvin.

Guely of Sweden said...

I remember the photo of Marvin and the horse from a book called "LIFE goes to the movies" that i left in perú many years ago.
I saw Cat Ballow in the early 90's to watch Jane(there are few better sights then a young Jane Fonda, or if you see her in bikini in On Golden Pond at 44 it really doesn't matter if she is young or not). At that time in a video in english with swedish subtitles and frankly i didn't get it (my lack of skills in the language department at the time). Gotta get it on DVD cos it seems it deserves another chance. Lee Marvin is (cos they live forever. Dont they?)what they call "A mans man" (meaning a guy that got more admiration from males then females, not a pretty face but tough, like Charles Bronson or Toshiro Mifune). Two Lee Marvin movies i like a lot? Prime Cut(Michael Ritchie,1972)with a bastard Gene Hackman and The Killers(Don Siegel,1964) the last Ronald Reagan movie.

Guely of Sweden said...

As the friend RDD the spaguettis were filmed en ALMERIA (in Andalucia), but not only westerns. Part of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was made there as well.

Clif said...

From the looks of it, your movie review concept is a bigger winner. I'm looking forward to more in the series!

#167 Dad said...

Rick,
I want to talk like Lee Marvin...

#167 Dad said...

RDD,
Man, you could teach a class on the genre.
I've got some movies to see.
Hated No Country For Old Men - at first. But I couldn't stop thinking about it. Read the book and felt better. Many of the loose ends were tied up...

#167 Dad said...

G-Man,
You can coteach the class with RDD. I really apprecate the knowledgeable commentary.
Watched THE SPIKES GANG with Lee Marvin and Ron Howard last night.
Interesting film.

#167 Dad said...

Clif,
Guess I'd better run ith it, huh.
I'll get the Justice League photos up next week. Really enjoyed yours...