Paint Your Wagon

Published September 1, 2023

Paint Your Wagon

Film info

  • Title Paint Your Wagon
  • Director Joshua Logan
  • Year 1969
  • Run time 2hrs 44m
  • Genres Music, Western, Comedy
  • Tagline Stake your claim to the musical goldmine of '69!

A raucous Western comedy, Paint Your Wagon is punctuated with a classic Lerner and Loewe musical score, including 'They Call the Wind Maria' and 'I Talk to the Trees'. The story of a gold mining boomtown full of brawny men centers on the work-and-play partnership of Ben and Pardner and the delicate wife they share.

Live blog

Time Comment
3:09 I didn’t realise this was a stage musical first.
8:09 Does gold just show up like that? In the dirt and dust? It’s mad.
13:17 “I like to know what crops I’m planting.”
17:54 I mean, he’s not wrong about people gumming stuff up, but a bit of civilisation isn’t bad.
18:53 You do have to wonder what conversations went on that saw Lee Marvin end up in a musical.
27:04 Tess and Joe and Maria.
30:13 A hoard of desperate men running like that, pretty terrifying.
35:00 Love how ballsy Elizabeth is… not too keen on the selling wives part, though.
41:47 Perfect example of better the devil you know, right?
50:17 “Looks like I married myself a tourist attraction.”
54:41 A lot of the songs in this are really quite dull.
1:04:50 “Let’s put it to a vote, and any man against is a traitor to his country.”
1:18:34 “You had my horse.” Love it.
1:27:56 This time of no laws is very interesting.
1:36:11 Ah, the rota system.
1:40:06 The accents could really use some work.
1:51:55 “There’s two kinds of people. Them’s that’s going somewhere and them that’s going nowhere.”
2:02:24 Pulling turnips and talking about the weather, that’s the farmer’s full job.
2:19:35 I could do without a bull & bear fight to be honest.
2:24:36 I do love that it is all swallowed up as predicted midway through the film.
2:33:30 The resilience (stubbornness?) to have had all that and just move on and start over.


I haven’t seen this for AGES and it was a bit of a revelation in lots of different ways. The variety of vocal abilities was the first thing that took me by surprise, that Clint Eastwood can pull off a tune whilst lead Lee Marvin is less talented in the vocal area but far more in the emotions and comedy of the piece.

That’s the second thing, it was a lot more humourous than I remember, but that does get bogged down by how long the film is - it’s unnecessarily long, particularly as at least half the songs are dull and don’t add anything to the story… mostly miserable men staring out at nature or talking to trees.

But then back on the upside, there’s something fascinating about the polyamory part of the puzzle, the different reactions to it, fledgling cities with no laws, and the transitory nature of the whole time. So mixed feelings on this in summary!

Rating: 3 / 5

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