The Ballad of Josie (1968)

Genres - Comedy, Western  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy Western, Feminist Film  |   Release Date - Feb 1, 1967 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Craig Butler

By 1968 and The Ballad of Josie, Doris Day's incredible box office reign was winding down. Day was still Day, one of the cheeriest and most pleasant screen personages around, but the times were changing; finding films that fit her personality became a challenge, as Josie makes clear. Not that Josie is a horrible film; indeed, thanks to Day and a very strong supporting cast, it's entertaining. But Josie has a dead end script, the kind of stew that is put together of parts of better films. It's also a comedy that wants to be serious. . .kind of. With a screenplay so in need of clarification, a director with a gift for focus was needed. Andrew V. McLaglen does very well working with his actors, but he comes up short in making the screenplay into a palatable, cohesive piece. This would matter less if the material were really funny, but it's not. Instead of inventive situations, one gets the very tired "woman gets drunk on two small drinks" situation; instead of wit, one gets retreads of worn jokes. But day gives it her spunky best, and that's saying a lot. Add in the likes of Andy Devine, Peter Graves and George Kennedy, and the result is good enough to get by -- just barely.