6.6/10
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Paint Your Wagon (1969)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 15 October 1969 (USA)
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1:07 | Trailer
Two unlikely prospector partners share the same wife in a California gold rush mining town.

Director:

Joshua Logan

Writers:

Alan Jay Lerner (book), Alan Jay Lerner (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Marvin ... Ben Rumson
Clint Eastwood ... Pardner
Jean Seberg ... Elizabeth
Harve Presnell ... Rotten Luck Willie
Ray Walston ... Mad Jack Duncan
Tom Ligon ... Horton Fenty
Alan Dexter ... Parson
William O'Connell ... Horace Tabor
Benny Baker ... Haywood Holbrook (as Ben Baker)
Alan Baxter ... Mr. Fenty
Paula Trueman ... Mrs. Fenty
Robert Easton ... Atwell
Geoffrey Norman Geoffrey Norman ... Foster
H.B. Haggerty ... Steve Bull
Terry Jenkins Terry Jenkins ... Joe Mooney
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Storyline

A Michigan farmer and a prospector form a partnership in the California gold country. Their adventures include buying and sharing a wife, hijacking a stage, kidnaping six prostitutes, and turning their mining camp into a boomtown. Along the way there is plenty of drinking, gambling, and singing. They even find time to do some creative gold mining. Written by David J. Kiseleski <davidk269@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Ben and Pardner shared everything -- even their wife! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 October 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Paint Your Wagon See more »

Filming Locations:

Baker, Oregon, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,500,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie version bears little resemblance to the Broadway musical on which it was based. After the success of several musical movies in the 1960s, most notably The Sound of Music (1965), producers went looking for other projects to make, and "Paint Your Wagon" made the list. The original plot, about an inter-ethnic love story, was discarded as being too dated. The only elements retained from the original included the title, the gold rush setting, and about half of the songs. In the play, Elizabeth has a minor role, Pardner (Sylvester Newel) does not even appear, and Ben Rumson dies at the end. See more »

Goofs

When the town is falling apart, you can see the strap holding Horton and the prostitute he's with to the bed as they fall to the ground. See more »

Quotes

Pardner: Ben, how's married life?
Ben Rumson: Pardner, it was so good that I forgot that I was married.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the end credits and the Paramount logo, the screen goes black and a closing medley of the songs is heard for several minutes. See more »

Alternate Versions

On its release to what were then called "neighborhood theatres" (i.e. theatres which showed films that had ended their first runs downtown), the film's running time was shortened by having three songs eliminated, "I Still See Elisa", "The First Thing You Know", and "Gold Fever". This left both Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood with only one solo song each. The film was restored to its original length for its first television showing, and has remained that way ever since. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Seberg (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Gold Fever
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by André Previn
Sung by Clint Eastwood & The Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Gotta Dream Boy, Gotta A Song, Paint Your Wagon, And Come Along"
9 January 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

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.


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