PAINT YOUR WAGON
DIRECTED BY JOSHUA LOGAN
PRODUCED BY ALAN JAY LERNER/ TOM SHAW
ALAN JAY LERNER PRODUCTIONS/ THE MALPASO COMPANY
Information from IMDb
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, kidnapping six prostitutes, and turning
their mining camp into a boom town.
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
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 ... Foster
H.B. Haggerty ... Steve Bull
Terry Jenkins ... Joe Mooney
Karl Bruck ... Schermerhorn
John Mitchum ... Jacob Woodling
Sue Casey ... Sarah Woodling
Eddie Little Sky ... Indian
Harvey Parry ... Higgins
H.W. Gim ... Wong
William Mims ... Frock-coated man
Roy Jenson ... Hennessey
Patrick Hawley ... Clendennon (as Pat Hawley)
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (as The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)
Cal Bartlett ... Undetermined role (uncredited)
Walt Davis ... Man (uncredited)
Roger Herren ... Townsperson (uncredited)
Robert S. Holman ... Zebulon (men's chorus) (uncredited)
Daniel Keough ... Pioneer (uncredited)
Nick Klar ... Bit part (uncredited)
Wayne McLaren ... (uncredited)
Jerry Whittington ... Gold Prospector (uncredited)
Alan Jay Lerner (Screenplay, book and lyrics by)
Paddy Chayefsky (adaptation)
William A. Fraker
Paramount advertised for extras, and Portland's hippie population turned out,
complete with long hair, mustaches and beards, period clothing, and camping gear.
The local rednecks were infuriated that 'dirty hippies' got the plum jobs...
until they began buying groceries, beer, and antiques in town.
Released at a time when musicals were rapidly going out of fashion,
the film went notoriously over budget and behind schedule.
Opening to mostly negative reviews, it was not the huge box office success
that the producers had hoped.
This was the only film produced by Alan Jay Lerner.
In the DVD version the 4'20'' intermission is kept in the film.
Lesley Ann Warren and Sally Ann Howes turned down the role of Elizabeth.
Kim Novak was also approached, and Diana Rigg was set to star as Elizabeth
but was forced to withdraw due to illness.
George Maharis was a close contender for the role of Pardner.
Jean Seberg's singing voice was dubbed by Anita Gordon, while Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin did their own singing.
Marvin's recording of the song "Wanderin' Star" went to #1 on the British charts, earning him a gold record.
The first attempt to film this property was by Louis B. Mayer and Jack Cummings in 1957.
Planned as a Cinerama release with a screenplay by John Lee Mahin
and new songs by Alan Jay Lerner and Arthur Schwartz, the project was abandoned when Mayer died.
Gary Cooper was being sought to play Ben Rumson.
Lee Marvin was set to star in The Wild Bunch, a project that he helped put together with stuntman Roy N. Sickner,
when Paramount offered him $1 million plus a percentage to star in this picture.
The play was produced on Broadway in 1951 and was one of the two properties
Louis B. Mayer took with him after being ousted from MGM. Advancing age
and the fact that Mayer had been so removed from actual film production for
30+ years rendered him unable to get it underway as a film.
Only one number is sung by a trained singer - "They Call the Wind Maria" by Harve Presnell.
(The word "Maria", spelled Maria without the H, is sung/pronounced as "Mariah".)
Lee Marvin had to be made to look older in the movie, since at 44
he was only six years older than Clint Eastwood.
Lee Marvin was apparently drunk nearly every day of filming.
After five months of filming and ever-escalating budgetary and production problems,
the studio fired director Joshua Logan and had assistant director Tom Shaw
complete the film, without credit.
The original Broadway production of "Paint Your Wagon" opened at the Shubert Theater on November 12, 1951
and ran for 289 performances.
The song "Hand Me Down That Can of Beans" was performed by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band,
who were also extras in the movie. The band is most famous for singing "Mr. Bojangles".
According to Eastwood's character, 'Pardner', in a scene toward the very end of the movie,
his real name is 'Sylvester Newel'. "With one 'L'", as stated by the character, himself.
In her autobiography, Faye Dunaway mentions that she turned down the role of Elizabeth.
Alan Jay Lerner: The producer/writer/lyricist is seen singing standing on the log next to
William O'Connell during the "There's a Coach Coming In" number.
This film version bears little resemblance to the Broadway musical on which it is ostensibly based.
After the success of several musical films in the 1960s, most notably The Sound of Music,
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 were the title, Gold Rush setting and about half of the songs.
In the play, Elizabeth has a very minor role, Pardner does not even appear, and Ben Rumson dies at the end.
Soon after Ben, Pardner, and Mad Jack open their secret "gold mine" underneath No Name City,
a young farmer is recruited to help dig. To emphasize the need for secrecy, Mad Jack threatens
to shove a stick of dynamite in the farmer's mouth if he blabs.
The film is set in 1849 or 1850, before California becomes a state. Dynamite wasn't yet invented
(it was patented by Alfred Nobel in 1867).
While working in the "mine", Ben Rumson can clearly be seen wearing a carbide lamp.
Carbide lamps were not developed until 1892, but the movie is set in 1849.
After Rumson buys Elizabeth he is seen being shaved except for the mustache.
Later in the same day, after they get married, Rumson has full side-burns connected to his mustache.
Crew or equipment visible
At the end of the movie, the tunnel system collapses and the buildings start to topple over.
In several shots the cables used to pull over various buildings are clearly apparent,
even though it appears that attempts were made to camouflage them with pennants.
What gives it away is that the 'pennants' (until the buildings they are attached to topple over)
are clearly under far too much strain to be merely hung as decorations.
When the town is falling apart in the end, we see the wires used hold up a falling bathtub.
During "The Best Things In Life Are Dirty", Ben Rumson rides up on a cart full of sloppy mud.
The three Irishmen, led by Mad Jack, are pulling the cart up on a block and tackle, with a heave-ho motion.
The cart should rise a few inches at a time, to synch up with their motions.
Instead, while they pull and rest, pull and rest, the cart rises out of the pit at a constant speed.
When the town falls apart due to the tunnels collapsing, the smooth sides of the concrete tunnel
are visible after the thin layer of mud falls down into them.
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.
Baker, Oregon, USA
Big Bear Lake, Big Bear Valley, San Bernardino National Forest, California, USA
Big Bear Valley, San Bernardino National Forest, California, USA
(Holcolm Valley, exterior)
Paramount Studios - 5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
The Theme Song