The Ballad of Josie (1967)

Doris Day and Peter Graves in The Ballad of Josie (1967)

A Wooly Day

As an admitted fan of Doris Day and her movies I have to say that "The Ballad of Josie" whilst not terrible is not one which I care for that much. It's not that Doris Day gives a poor performance, in fact despite having to make the movie because of her then husband signing her up to it Doris actually is the best thing about the movie closely followed by the list of well known faces in the cast. But the story is a bit dull and the jokes are rarely that funny, it basically misfires time and again.

After her no good, drunken husband dies Josie Minick (Doris Day - The Glass Bottom Boat) must find a way to support herself and her son Luther (Teddy Quinn). When she decides to run their abandoned ranch she is met by plenty of opposition from the sexist local business men who think a woman's place is in the home. Sick of listening to their chauvinist opinions especially when they ask her to try and talk the women into giving up their vote Josie decides to make a stand and become a rancher, that is sheep rancher rather than cattle ranching. Her actions and refusal to be beaten down by the men leads to a women's uprising.

George Kennedy in The Ballad of Josie (1967)

If you split "The Ballad of Josie" up into story and comedy the story is quite minimal as we watch as Josie after becoming a widow and put on trial for the murder of her husband has to support herself and her son. Lousy when she gets a job working as a waitress she then makes a stand and sets out to be a rancher despite all of the opposition and sets up a women's suffrage group. That is it and of course with this being a Doris Day movie there is also some romance in there but none of it is that interesting.

Then there is the comedy side of things and a prime example of how weak it is is the scene when Josie takes a waitressing job, she struggles carrying plates, pours coffee in a guys lap and gets her hair caught in a hanging fly trap with none of it really making you laugh. And that sense of lack lustre laughs continues throughout the entire movie with more jokes going by with no effect than actually making you laugh.

In the end the only good thing about the movie is the cast with Doris Day trying to make the movie work and coming across as quite charming even though her character is dull. That is the same with the rest of the cast, you smile when you see Peter Graves, George Kennedy and Andy Devine to name just a few recognizable faces but their characters are all quite dull.

What this all boils down to is that "The Ballad of Josie" is a very ordinary comedy western which if it wasn't for the recognizable cast would have ended up below average.