Boy, was I wrong. What with Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood's singing, a whorehouse being built, a criminal tunnel being dug under "No Name Town," and a polygamous relationship among Marvin, Eastwood, and local honey Jean Seberg, Paint Your Wagon is so chock full of debauchery one might think Sam Peckinpah had been involved.
No such luck. It's not just a campy, tongue-in-cheek bit of filmmaking, it's a musical. And while I admit the idea of Eastwood singing sounds intriguing, in practice it's not. His voice is fine, and any thought of a crooning Dirty Harry perish quickly. None of the songs are memorable -- in fact, none are immediately recognizable by name or by tune. Paint Your Wagon's problems are compounded greatly by its length. For a film that has at its core a love triangle, it strikes one as odd that the third side of that triangle doesn't even appear until 30 minutes into the film. The triangle itself isn't established until 1:15. Worst of all, the movie isn't over until 2:45! That's a damn lot of singing cowboys.
Paint Your Wagon includes enough raunchy, cheesy fun to be slightly redeemable, and the potshots the movie takes at temperance and Mormonism are sometimes juicy. But those moments are quite rare. Most of Paint Your Wagon is about as fun as... well, painting a wagon.
Run time: 158 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 15th October 1969
Distributed by: Paramount Home Video
Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Alan Jay Lerner Productions, Malpaso Productions
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 21%
Fresh: 3 Rotten: 11
IMDB: 6.7 / 10
Director: Joshua Logan
Starring: Lee Marvin as Ben Rumson, Clint Eastwood as Pardner, Jean Seberg as Elizabeth, Harve Presnell as Rotten Luck Willie, Ray Walston as Mad Jack Duncan, Tom Ligon as Horton Fenty, Alan Dexter as Parson, William O'Connell as Horace Tabor, Robert Easton as Atwell, Geoffrey Norman as Foster, John Mitchum as Jacob Woodling, Sue Casey as Sarah Woodling, Roy Jenson as Hennessey