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|Index||95 reviews in total|
29 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
A very silly but very fun movie, 5 March 2004
Author: Samus Aran from Canada
(No spoilers herein).
My friend sent me this movie wanting to know my comments on it, without telling me even a word of what it was about or what he thought of it. I went and checked out the entry on IMDB and was a touch confused why he was sending me a sort of musical half-western flick, being that neither of those categories would pop up at the top of either our lists.
Needless to say, something about this movie surprised me -- I fully enjoyed watching it ! Right from the start the characters were interesting and the scenes quite absurdly funny. Some of the singing was truly awful (in a funny way), and other songs were actually very toe-tappingly catchy.
There is a whole lot of physical humor in this movie, from the opening scene after they bury the guy, to the ending scenes with the bull. And holy crap the older man drinks a lot. I don't think I've ever seen a movie where a single character drinks so much hard alcohol ! Along with the numerous sexual jokes I certainly wouldn't recommend this movie for children.
As the movie came to a conclusion, I found myself attached to the main characters and wanting to see more of their adventures. The plot had a very natural progression. As silly and ridiculous as it certainly was, the plot made a strange sort of sense.
I rate the movie an 8 out of 10.
21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
"A Happily-Married ... Triple", 14 August 2000
Author: Michael Coy (email@example.com) from London, England
Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin - in a musical? Yes, and it works rather
No expense was spared by Paramount in assembling the behind-camera talent. Lerner and Loewe's successful stage show was beefed up by Andre Previn's compositions and Nelson Riddle's arrangements, and a script by Paddy Chayefsky. If Clint and Lee aren't exactly Mario Lanza and Tito Gobbi, they are good enough. Clint sings timidly but tunefully ("I Talk To The Trees", "Gold Fever") and Marvin's growly "Wandering Star" was a big chart success back in 1969. The songs are strong, the lyrics clever and the choreography slick and busy. At two and three-quarter hours, the film is rather too long, but it contains plenty of interesting things, including some excellent comedy.
No-Name Town is a rough and ready prospectors' settlement, one of many such ramshackle communities springing up during the California Gold Rush. Two very different men link up as partners and grow into inseperable friends. 'Pardner' (Eastwood) is a straight, solid farmer from the Mid West, while Ben Rumson (Marvin) is a hell-raising wildman from no place in particular. When a mormon auctions one of his wives (Elizabeth, played by Jean Seberg), Rumson buys her. Things get complicated when Pardner falls in love with Elizabeth, and she falls in love with .... er, both men.
Added interest is provided by the arrival of a bunch of French whores and a party of rescued wagon-trainers (this last was drawn from a true story).
Good things include a barnstorming performance from Marvin, radiating enormous personality and a real flair for comedy. His career flowered late, but he was at his best in the late sixties ("Point Blank", "Hell In The Pacific", and of course this one). Previn's musical interlude which introduces the Parson (Alan Dexter) is superb, leading into one of the film's best songs, "Here It Is". The comical discords of the musical passage are a joy in themselves, and they pave the way perfectly for the Parson, who is at odds with everybody. "Hand Me Down That Can Of Beans" is rendered by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, guesting in the movie. The boys obviously decided to stay on, because they crop up in various shots throughout the film. Mad Jack is played with manic zest and a peculiar British accent by Ray Walston, none other than TV's "My Favourite Martian".
The interminable gag of the collapsing tunnels stand as a metaphor of the film's shortcomings - over-elaborate, and over-long.
23 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
A Nicely Naturalistic Musical, 8 June 2004
Author: Martin Bradley (MOscarbradley@aol.com) from Derry, Ireland
Joshua Logan's screen version of "Paint your wagon" works a treat, perhaps because the original stage version is so little known and apparently has been given something of a make-over by screen writer Paddy Chayefsky. The fact that the leads (Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood and Jean Seberg) can't sing matters not a jot; they perform with charisma, (even Seberg is less wan than usual) and bring a touch of realism to the proceedings, their songs seeming to evolve naturally from the action. Other singing duties are performed by the splendid Harve Presnell and a rousing, mostly male, chorus for this is a musical western of a more robust kind than "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". It's plot, which concerns mining for gold, polygamy and the building of a town, fairly races along. Logan handles the whole thing with great aplomb and brings to it some nice, naturalistic touches sadly lacking from his earlier musicals, "South Pacific" and "Camelot". Most critics didn't warm to it, though and it remains largely under-valued.
19 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
the cap on the timecapsule, 17 August 2004
Author: shipes_j from vernon florida
paint your wagon is, in a lot of ways, the end of an era that I
cherished the most (my teen years) the musicals were always there as a
kid even though I didn't really like them in the fifties (except 7
brides) ....but there is something about the orchestration of those
musical movies that sounded so similar....and true to its genre, paint
your wagon's soundtrack had a timecapsuled, nostalgic feel reminiscent
of those bygone days when musicals ruled.....the negative rap on this
film is probably due to the timing of its release...the Vietnam war was
hot and perhaps people couldn't accept its bawdy comedy and musical
theme....even though it should have been a perfect escape type
film...it is considered a major flop....like some others that took on
an afterlife that superseded its theatrical run...word of mouth finds
favor with the film in almost all venues....except some of the reviews
I've read recently.
I love the depth of the dialogue and the nitty gritty reality of the mindsets of those prospectors who took from life what they needed and created their own utopian world (or tried to)...and ironically were sad (inside)even though there was uproarious drinking and carousing...which characterizes man self destructive nature when left to himself to do as he pleases...not unlike ancient rome.
lee marvin played the lead role so well...it was almost as if it had been written for him...even surpassing his clever coolness of a similar character "a #1" (emperor of the north...a film about the great depression hobos)
in paint your wagon so much of man's delemia is characterized in dialogue about growing up, doing what feels good, and paying the price for such behavior later.....the grim reminder of man's struggle with his own self can best be shown in the scene with ben rumson as he takes an assessment of his life in a few brief words to holmbrook (the mediator)...."there are two kinds of people....them going somewhere and them going nowhere....I'm an exodus to nowhere....sometimes I get mighty homesick"....then you hear the profound lyrics to the song "born under a wander star" where even the most blessed place one can get will never be satisfying enough to make these kinds of folk want to stay.
another heady piece is the scene with clint singing "gold fever" and how greed will turn people into a total different character from what they were before the fever hit....
this movie has a lot of heavy thoughts and depth even though it is a great comedy film...it's the reason it is my favorite movie of all times....really cool characters....outrageous comedy....mind provoking dialogue...and a nostalgic soundtrack that will take you back to the fifties....
as for the bad rap on lee marvins singing...just how great would those songs have come off if he had had an operatic baritone with perfect pitch?...in a word...fake.
14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
It still grabs ya, 28 July 2004
Author: orthogonal6 from US
Is the movie great? No, but it is a good one. If it were great, it
would not suffer from it's long running time. A wider audience would no
doubt warm to a shorter version. More is the pity, too, because the
movie has much to offer. The scenery is beautiful; the sets
reconstructions are first rate. Listen to the lyrics of some of the
songs ('Gold Fever' and 'The First Thing You Know' are two good
examples) and you can appreciate the wordsmithing skill of Alan Jay
Lerner. If you like a large all-male chorus, the film offers some of
the best singing of that kind you are likely to hear. Listen especially
during 'There's a Coach Coming In'.
I must confess a guilty admiration for characters who are unapologetically amoral and corrupt, at least as defined by 'respectable society'. I wouldn't necessarily want one for a neighbor or even a friend (well .. maybe), but they are fascinating on film or stage. If the film is a comedy, they can be hilarious and often steal the show. All you need is the right actor to fill the role. Paint Your Wagon offers one of the most uproariously amoral characters on film, brought to amazing life by Lee Marvin. He delivers Ben Rumson's imminently quotable home-spun philosophy of life with great relish and comedic timing. Can he sing? No. But then would a somewhat dissipated Gold Rush miner likely be a good singer? His non-singing actually fits.
The rest of the cast is good but not exceptional. Ray Walston is memorable as Mad Jack. I still find it hard to spot the actor I am used to behind the beard and accent. He also has some great lines. Harve Presnell is the only truly major-league singer in the cast and delivers the most memorable song. The remaining actors are adequate. Eastwood is good but replaceable. Jean Seaberg is not Meryl Streep but is certainly easy on the eyes. The townsfolk are solid.
An enjoyable movie, with Lee Marvin's performance worth the price of admission. It is too bad it requires such a long time commitment to experience it all.
22 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful, 26 November 2003
Author: knsevy from KCMO
***SPOILERS, IF ANYONE CARES****
And I HATE musicals!
This film falls in with 'Little Shop of Horrors' and 'The Blues Brothers' in the very short list of musicals I really love.
It's Lee Marvin who makes the film. You could have replaced Eastwood or Seberg with almost any other actor or actress; it's Marvin's performance as Ben Rumson that brings this movie to life. All the way through, his facial expressions communicate volumes about his character - for a quick instance, watch his eyes as he prepares to eulogize Pardner's dead brother in an early scene.
Anyone else could have played Pardner or Elizabeth and done as good a job, but Lee Marvin gave us a Ben Rumson that I don't think anyone could equal. He does more just by his looks and body comedy than could be expected.
If you disagree, please go back and watch what I think is his best scene: Rumson trying to walk nonchalantly away from No Name City as it sinks into the collapsing tunnels he built under it.
A fantastic film. It's only average, if you don't have the capacity to fast-forward through Eastwood's and Seberg's songs.
8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Clint CAN sing. Movie is a hoot., 18 December 1998
Author: MaKoch from Madison, WI
I once heard a critic state any movie where Clint Eastwood sings should be rated for violence. He must have never actually listened to this movie. Clint may not be the best voice in the cast but he is surely not the worst. As a young man he has a pleasant "everyman" kind of voice I ENJOY. And in addition to that this an outrageously funny and moving movie.
12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Old Fashioned fun, 3 December 2004
Author: nixholl (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Norfolk
I first watched Paint your wagon at the age of about ten when my dad who incidentally loves this movie had it on in the lounge. At ten years old it is a film that seems to rather drag and seemed so old to me I could barely watch, but now watching it again many years later have come to appreciate it as quite a comic take on the old west. Its characters are amusing and despite some criticism on clint eastwoods performance as partner i enjoy all the actors performances including his. My favourite song of the film would have to be 'no name city' as i remember as a child being amazed at how low the reverends voice goes during that song. Overall I enjoy this movie and will watch it if it is on television. An 9 out of 10. Good old fashioned fun.
9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
"Gotta Dream Boy, Gotta A Song, Paint Your Wagon, And Come Along", 9 January 2007
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
Unfortunately Paint Your Wagon came at a time when big budget musicals
were going out of vogue. The expenses of this film nearly bankrupted
Paramount and it was many years before the studio recouped its
investment. Another big Broadway hit from the same era, Finian's
Rainbow also came to the big screen a few years earlier and bombed at
the box office.
Paint Your Wagon ran 289 performances for the 1951-1952 season on Broadway. Daring in its time, Paint Your Wagon had an interracial love theme. That was too tame for the newly liberated silver screen from the Code and here we have a woman, Jean Seberg, marrying two gold miners, Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin. This might be the first story on screen about polyandry unless you count Noel Coward's Design for Living and that was a heavily censored version.
Listening to Lee Marvin it sounds like an eminently practical arrangement. Lee saves Clint Eastwood after a fall and nurses him back to health and he makes him a partner. Then he 'buys' at auction Jean Seberg who is the second wife of passing Mormon John Mitchum.
Since Clint's a partner in everything, sharing a wife seems a sensible arrangement. Lee's character Ben Rumson has some very interesting ideas on morality, especially morality out in the wilds. You'll have to see Paint Your Wagon to hear him explain his views.
Jean Seberg's voice is dubbed by Anita Gordon, but Eastwood and Marvin do their own numbers. For Marvin, he does it in the tradition of Rex Harrison and Richard Burton in those other Lerner and Loewe musicals and it comes off nicely. Clint Eastwood's many talents do not include singing however.
But as it turned out Paint Your Wagon needed all the help it could get at the box office. They could have cast a singer in Clint's part, but where was there on who could play the role, be the right age, and bring in the dollars. By 1969 there really was no such male singer in Hollywood. Probably in the fifties someone like Gordon MacRae or Howard Keel might have done it then.
The comedy is pretty raucous from Lee Marvin's original ideas on sex to the whole town caving in because of all the mine tunnels beneath. Paint Your Wagon holds up well and it's not as bad a film as has come down by reputation. It might be painful for Clint Eastwood fans to hear him sing though.
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A Better Film Than Its Original Reviews, 25 March 2011
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Paint Your Wagon has often been sited as an example of a big-budget
film that lost its way. The problem for the film was that it was
released at a time that the traditional Hollywood musical was dying.
Motion pictures such as Bonnie and Clyde and Midnight Cowboy were
ushering in the age of dramatic realism. However, with the film's
release now more than forty years in the past, it holds up amazingly
well and is thoroughly entertaining.
The film follows the life of two gold mining partners (Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood) who find themselves in love with the same woman (Jean Seberg). The twist is that she is in love with both men. The solution is that Seberg's character marries and lives with both of them. This unusual family is made possible by the fact that they find themselves in a rough gold mining camp in the California wilderness. Eventually, the tri-marriage breaks down due to a variety of circumstances and one of the husband leaves and one stays.
The often-dismissed production values of the film now look amazing. Alan Jay Lerner shot much of the film outside of Baker City, Oregon in the wilderness. The town, No Name City, was recreated to scale. Indeed, no studio would green-light this kind of big-budget musical film today. One of the things that make it so special is that a modern audience is seeing something that could not be produced in the present.
Along with the production values, the music is exceptional. There are no throw-away songs, and against the backdrop of the Oregon wilderness they come alive. When it was released Marvin's and Eastwood's voices were ridiculed. Once again, the passing of time has led to audiences that don't expect the perfect pitch-and-tone musicals of the 1940s and 1950s. Their voices sound like that of a couple of gold miner's.
No matter the age group, this is a film that is worth seeing. Undoubtedly it will be a pleasant surprise for young and old.
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