Sometimes (often in fact) it’s not the designated star who winds up being the real star of the film. Jane Fonda is the headliner for the 1965 comedy-western Cat Ballou, but it’s Lee Marvin who took home an Oscar, and it’s Lee Marvin who deserved to. This is not to say that Fonda did a poor job of acting; it’s merely that she was, plain and simply, outshone. It’s not really all that surprising; Marvin was, after all, a veteran actor with some sizable roles in his past (including the title role in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), and he was given a role that was even more colorful than Fonda’s schoolmarm-turned-outlaw.
The film was directed by Elliot Silverstein, and it was his first feature film. Considering that, it comes together particularly well, with great comic action sequences, some well-directed dramatic scenes, and scene transitions with musical accompaniment by Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole. Throw in a traditional plot with some non-traditional elements, and a fun film is the result. Continue reading