Paint Your Wagon

  • 1969
  • 2 HR 46 MIN
  • M
  • Musical, Western

After THE SOUND OF MUSIC's sweet success, Hollywood thought America wanted to see musicals. Hollywood was right, up to a point. America wanted to see good musicals, and PAINT YOUR WAGON just didn't measure up, failing to come anywhere close to recouping its $20 million price tag at the box office. The play's simple story was tossed out, as were several...read more

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After THE SOUND OF MUSIC's sweet success, Hollywood thought America wanted to see musicals. Hollywood was right, up to a point. America wanted to see good musicals, and PAINT YOUR WAGON just didn't measure up, failing to come anywhere close to recouping its $20 million price tag at the box

office. The play's simple story was tossed out, as were several of Loewe's tunes, and Andre Previn was brought in to compose some new melodies for producer-screenwriter Lerner's lyrics. Marvin and Eastwood star as California prospectors during the Gold Rush of 1849-50. Eastwood is the calm,

restrained one; Marvin is noisy and rambunctious. Marvin buys a wife, Seberg, from a local Mormon. Then, to make sure the lonely local miners will leave his new bride alone, he hijacks a wagonload of prostitutes and takes them to the prospectors in the mining town he has founded, No Name City,

setting them up for business at a saloon. While Marvin is away, Eastwood and Seberg fall for each other; but when Marvin returns and discovers the affair, Seberg declares that she'd like them both as husbands. Since both men love her, and neither wants to give her up, the three try to make the

menage work. Things go well until a New England family, the Fentys, arrive and raises some moral qualms. Moreover, the gold in the area is disappearing. The trio decide to stay in town, reckoning that there must be a fortune in gold dust that has spilled through the cracks in No Name City's

floors. They dig tunnels to recover the stuff, honeycombing the town's underground. With the Fentys as her moral models, Seberg is overcome with guilt about the way she's been living and tosses both her husbands out. Meanwhile, the tunnels collapse, and the whole town implodes. With no gold and no

buildings to speak of, No Name City soon becomes a ghost town. Marvin departs for greener pastures, leaving Seberg and Eastwood to work out their love and lives together. Everyone does his or her own singing--a mistake, except in the case of Presnell. Eastwood talk-sings effectively, a la Rex

Harrison, but Marvin sings so badly that his numbers are camp classics. Lerner and Loewe's songs include "I Talk to the Trees" (Eastwood), "I Still See Elisa" (Eastwood), "I'm on My Way" (Eastwood, Marvin, Gim, Walston, Hawley, Norman, Bruck, O'Connell, Baker, Jenkins, Mitchum, Miners), "Hand Me

Down That Can o' Beans" (Marvin, Miners, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), "Whoop-Ti-Ay" (Miners), "They Call the Wind Maria" (Presnell, Miners), "There's a Coach Comin' In" (Miners), and "Wand'rin' Star" (Marvin, Miners). The songs by Lerner and Previn are "Best Things" (Marvin, Eastwood, Hawley, Norman,

Walston), "The Gospel of No Name City" (Dexter), "A Million Miles Away behind the Door" (Seberg), "The First Thing You Know" (Marvin), and "Gold Fever" (Eastwood, Miners, Dance Hall Girls). The score was nominated for an Oscar.

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  • Rating: M
  • Review: After THE SOUND OF MUSIC's sweet success, Hollywood thought America wanted to see musicals. Hollywood was right, up to a point. America wanted to see good musicals, and PAINT YOUR WAGON just didn't measure up, failing to come anywhere close to recouping it… (more)

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