Paint Your Wagon, by Joshua Logan (1969)

Paint Your Wagon is a 1969 American musical film starring Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood. The movie was adapted by Paddy Chayefsky from the 1951 stage musical by Lerner and Loewe, set in a mining camp in Gold Rush-era California. Chayefsky provided a significantly changed storyline from the stage musical version. In the film “Rumson” is simply called “No Name City,” and Ben Rumson (Marvin) has no daughter. The character “Julio” is replaced by “Pardner” (Eastwood), now an American and Ben’s partner in the gold claim. Additionally, in the film it is Pardner who falls in love with Elizabeth (Jean Seberg), Ben’s wife under mining law, rather than the stage musical character Edgar Crocker. The temporary polyamorous solution to the love triangle among Ben, Pardner and Elizabeth appears only in the film as well.

This film was made near Baker City, Oregon. Other locations include Big Bear Lake, California and San Bernardino National Forest; the interiors were filmed at Paramount Studios with Joshua Logan directing.


The story tells about how 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.

The film was released at a time when movie musicals were going out of fashion, especially with younger audiences. Its overblown budget and nearly 3 hour length became notorious in the press. Eastwood was frustrated by the long delays in the making of the movie, later saying that the experience strengthened his resolve to become a director. According to Robert Osborne, Marvin drank heavily during the filming of the movie, which may have enhanced his screen appearance, but led to delays and many retakes.

After a debut on Broadway in 1951, Paramount spent an estimated 17 to 20 million dollars in production costs for this Lerner and Loewe musical. With Loewe’s permission, Lerner wrote five additional tunes for the film with Andre Previn. The musical comedy features 13 songs. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band helps out on the song “Hand Me Down That Can O’ Beans”.

Here you have the lyrics for this song: Hand me down that can o’ beans lyrics

Both Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin are given a chance to show their vocal ability (or lack of it) in several songs. Ben Rumson (Lee Marvin) is the grizzled prospector trying his luck panning for gold in California. Pardner (Clint Eastwood) is his companion.

When Ben buys a woman from a Mormon, Elizabeth (Jean Seberg) expects equal rights for her gender and chooses to live with both men. Ben and Pardner tunnel under the boomtown to gather the fallen gold dust that has filtered through the cracks of the saloon and other places.

Here you have the lyrics for this song: The Gospel of No Name City lyrics

The initial release fell far short of regaining the millions put into the production, and most critics dipped their pens in poison to pan the picture — though the film plays better than the critics would lead anyone to believe. Many jumped on the Paint Your Wagon smear campaign after the film proved to be not nearly as successful as other musicals.

Here you have the lyrics for this song: A Wanderin’ Star lyrics




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