Hard Country (1981)

PG | 104 mins | Romance | 8 May 1981

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HISTORY

       The 1 May 1981 LAT reported that the film was based upon a country and western song, Hard Country, written by Michael Martin Murphey. According to the 15 Jan 1980 LAHExam, Murphey wrote the song in the fall of 1978 and presented it, among other songs, to his agents at International Creative Management (ICM). Concurrently, Aaron Latham published an article in the 12 Sep 1978 Esquire regarding the “new urban cowboy.” Jim Wiatt, a film agent at ICM, felt Murphey’s song could be developed into a feature film about the urban cowboy lifestyle, and hired screenwriter Michael Kane. Warner Bros. picked up the project, and Kane went to TX to work with Murphey on the story. Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures signed John Travolta to star in Urban Cowboy (1980, see entry), a film based on Latham’s article and co-written by Latham and James Burke. Subsequently, Warner Bros. dropped Hard Country. Later, Paul Lazarus, vice president of motion pictures at Marble Arch Productions, brought the film to his company.
       Items in the 10 Dec 1979 DV and the 3 Mar 1980 HR reported Marble Arch and ITC Films began principal photography on Hard Country on 10 Dec 1979. The 15 Jan 1980 LAHExam and the 30 Jan 1980 HR reported the film was budgeted between $5 -- $7.5 million. The LAHExam article noted that, due to budget constraints, the filmmakers chose to use locations in the Los Angeles, CA, area to double for TX, and the Basque ... More Less

       The 1 May 1981 LAT reported that the film was based upon a country and western song, Hard Country, written by Michael Martin Murphey. According to the 15 Jan 1980 LAHExam, Murphey wrote the song in the fall of 1978 and presented it, among other songs, to his agents at International Creative Management (ICM). Concurrently, Aaron Latham published an article in the 12 Sep 1978 Esquire regarding the “new urban cowboy.” Jim Wiatt, a film agent at ICM, felt Murphey’s song could be developed into a feature film about the urban cowboy lifestyle, and hired screenwriter Michael Kane. Warner Bros. picked up the project, and Kane went to TX to work with Murphey on the story. Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures signed John Travolta to star in Urban Cowboy (1980, see entry), a film based on Latham’s article and co-written by Latham and James Burke. Subsequently, Warner Bros. dropped Hard Country. Later, Paul Lazarus, vice president of motion pictures at Marble Arch Productions, brought the film to his company.
       Items in the 10 Dec 1979 DV and the 3 Mar 1980 HR reported Marble Arch and ITC Films began principal photography on Hard Country on 10 Dec 1979. The 15 Jan 1980 LAHExam and the 30 Jan 1980 HR reported the film was budgeted between $5 -- $7.5 million. The LAHExam article noted that, due to budget constraints, the filmmakers chose to use locations in the Los Angeles, CA, area to double for TX, and the Basque Club in Bakersfield, CA, was transformed into the “quintessential West TX honky-tonk bar.” The 12 Dec 1979 DV and the 1 Feb 1980 HR reported that, in addition to Los Angeles and several weeks of location filming in Bakersfield, a second unit was scheduled to film in Midland, TX, in mid-Feb 1980.
       The 1 May 1981 LAT noted that Michael Martin Murphey performed onscreen, in addition to writing music for the film and co-writing the story. Tanya Tucker, who also performed several songs, made her feature film debut, and the 1 Feb 1980 NYT stated that Hard Country also marked the feature film debut of Kim Basinger.
       According to the 15 Jan 1980 LAHExam, Marble Arch Productions hoped to release the film in the summer of 1980 at approximately the same time as Urban Cowboy. However, as noted in the 30 Jan 1980 HR, Marble Arch was the film production division of Lord Grade’s Associated Communications Corp., which partnered with Lord Delfont’s EMI Ltd. to form Associated Film Distribution (AFD). AFD was set to handle domestic distribution of Hard Country, with a planned fall 1980 release. The 4 Nov 1980 DV announced the film’s new PG-rating in weekly listing 629 by the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA). The Board’s bulletin 617 had previously given the film an R-rating. The 8 Jul 1981 HR stated the film was released in Mar 1981 and the 8 May 1981 HR announced the film’s Los Angeles, CA, release at the Paramount theater in Hollywood, and the Crest theater in Westwood on Friday, 8 May 1981.
       As tracked in articles in the 8 Jul 1981 HR and the 15 Jul 1981 Var, the film’s PG-rating was revoked by CARA in early Jul 1981. The film had previously contained two instances of a four-letter sexual expletive and received an R-rating, but AFD altered the film to ensure the PG. CARA claimed both instances of the questionable word were to be deleted for the PG version, but, in a situation that AFD executive vice president Leo Greenfield termed “a misunderstanding,” AFD believed they were only required to delete one instance of the dialogue. After a special CARA panel in NY revoked the PG-rating, AFD removed approximately 500 prints from distribution and, as required by CARA guidelines, planned to keep the film out of release for ninety days before submitting it for re-rating. However, Hard Country had nearly completed its release and, therefore, the effect of the CARA’s decision was minimal.

      End credits include the following statement: “The producers wish to acknowledge their appreciaton to: Lone Star Brewing Company, Inc.; Pearl Brewing Company; Western clothing courtesy of Levi Strauss Company.”
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Dec 1979.
---
Daily Variety
12 Dec 1979.
---
Daily Variety
4 Nov 1980.
---
Esquire
12 Sep 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 1980
pp. 1, 4, 52.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 1980
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 1981.
---
LAHExam
15 Jan 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 May 1981
p. 2.
New York Times
1 Feb 1980.
---
Variety
1 Apr 1981
p. 14.
Variety
15 Jul 1981.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Lord Grade Presents
A Martin Starger Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Exec prod mgr
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Co-prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Key grip
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop
Set dec
Set des
Const foreman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Women`s cost
Men`s cost
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Glen Glenn p.a.p. system
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
In charge of prod
Post prod supv
Scr supv
Transportation capt
Craft service
Loc mgr
Prod asst
Prod coord
Unit pub
Auditor
Extra casting
Talent coord
Tech advisor
Loc equip by
Motor vehicles provided by
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
SOURCES
SONGS
“Cowboy Cadillac,” composed and performed by Michael Martin Murphey
“Hard Country,” composed and performed by Michael Martin Murphey
“Hard Partyin’ Country Darlin’,” composed and performed by Michael Martin Murphey
+
SONGS
“Cowboy Cadillac,” composed and performed by Michael Martin Murphey
“Hard Country,” composed and performed by Michael Martin Murphey
“Hard Partyin’ Country Darlin’,” composed and performed by Michael Martin Murphey
“Ride Out The Hard Times,” composed and performed by Michael Martin Murphey
“Take It As It Comes,” composed and performed by Michael Martin Murphey
“Cosmic Cowboy/Cosmic Breakdown,” performed by Michael Martin Murphey through the courtesy of Epic Records, music and lyrics by Michael Martin Murphey
“Break My Mind,” performed by Michael Martin Murphey, music and lyrics by John D. Loudermilk
“Somebody Must Have Loved You Right Last Night,” performed by Tanya Tucker through the courtesy of MCA Records, Inc., music and lyrics by Ken Bell
“I’ve Never Said No Before,” performed by Tanya Tucker through the courtesy of MCA Records, Inc., music and lyrics by Mark Gray
“Texas (When I Die),” performed by Tanya Tucker through the courtesy of MCA Records, Inc., music and lyrics by Ed Bruce, Patsy Bruce and Bobby Borchers
“I’m Gonna Love You Anyway,” performed by Tanya Tucker through the courtesy of MA Records Inc., music and lyrics by L. Martine, Jr.
“West Texas Waltz,” performed by Joe Ely through the courtesy of MCA Records, Inc., music and lyrics by Butch Hancock
“I Love You So Much It Hurts,” performed by Jerry Lee Lewis through the courtesy of Sun Records, music and lyrics by Floyd Tillman
“As Long As I Live,” performed by Jerry Lee Lewis through the courtesy of Sun Records, music and lyrics by Dorsey Burnett
“Ooh Baby Baby,” performed by Linda Ronstadt through the courtesy of Asylum Records, music and lyrics by William “Smokey” Robinson and Warren Moore.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
8 May 1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 8 May 1981
Production Date:
began 10 December 1979
Copyright Claimant:
ITC Films, Inc.
Copyright Date:
26 May 1981
Copyright Number:
PA108812
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Kyle Richardson, working at a Texas chain-link fence factory, asks the plant foreman, Mr. Bridges, about a promotion, but Bridges is too busy to discuss it. After work, Kyle drives to the home of his wealthy brother, Royce, to pay back twenty dollars of a loan, claiming that he got the raise. Meanwhile, his girl friend, Jodie, a directory assistance operator, leaves work, rushes to a fast food restaurant, and pretends to have made dinner when Kyle arrives at their apartment. Later, they go to The Stallion, a country-western bar, where Kyle surprises her with a beer bottle pin to celebrate the one year anniversary of their first meeting. On stage, Caroline Peters, a former local who became a country music star in Hollywood, California, is introduced. Caroline sings with the band and reconnects with her friend, Jodie. Later, Caroline and her pretentious music producer, Ranson Winthrop, visit Jodie and Kyle in their apartment. When the women talk privately, Jodie is happy for her friend’s success but laments her own letting go of her dream of becoming a stewardess. Caroline insists that Texas is a great place to visit, but, to be successful, a woman needs to leave the state. The next day, Royce offers his brother a sales position at his mobile home dealership, but Kyle is not interested in sales. Kyle and Jodie visit her religious parents, who are unaware that the couple is living together. Jodie’s younger sister, Loretta, knows the truth, but promises to keep the secret. While driving home, Jodie reveals that she wants to move to California, insisting that their ... +


Kyle Richardson, working at a Texas chain-link fence factory, asks the plant foreman, Mr. Bridges, about a promotion, but Bridges is too busy to discuss it. After work, Kyle drives to the home of his wealthy brother, Royce, to pay back twenty dollars of a loan, claiming that he got the raise. Meanwhile, his girl friend, Jodie, a directory assistance operator, leaves work, rushes to a fast food restaurant, and pretends to have made dinner when Kyle arrives at their apartment. Later, they go to The Stallion, a country-western bar, where Kyle surprises her with a beer bottle pin to celebrate the one year anniversary of their first meeting. On stage, Caroline Peters, a former local who became a country music star in Hollywood, California, is introduced. Caroline sings with the band and reconnects with her friend, Jodie. Later, Caroline and her pretentious music producer, Ranson Winthrop, visit Jodie and Kyle in their apartment. When the women talk privately, Jodie is happy for her friend’s success but laments her own letting go of her dream of becoming a stewardess. Caroline insists that Texas is a great place to visit, but, to be successful, a woman needs to leave the state. The next day, Royce offers his brother a sales position at his mobile home dealership, but Kyle is not interested in sales. Kyle and Jodie visit her religious parents, who are unaware that the couple is living together. Jodie’s younger sister, Loretta, knows the truth, but promises to keep the secret. While driving home, Jodie reveals that she wants to move to California, insisting that their current life is unfulfilling, but Kyle laughs at the suggestion. At work, another employee shows Jodie an advertisement for stewardesses, and the two women attend the interviews, where Jodie asserts her desire to work in California. That night, when Kyle and Jodie go to the Stallion, Kyle is challenged to “Cowboy,” a beer drinking game. Despite Jodie’s objections, Kyle grabs a pitcher of beer. Disgusted, Jodie sits nearby and is joined by Ransom. He asks Jodie to go out with him, but she walks away. At the bar, Kyle insists on a “Cowboy” rematch and becomes angry when Jodie tries to stop him. She declares she is going home and he lets her leave. Outside, she accepts a ride from Ransom and, when Kyle learns of this, he and his friends chase them, surrounding Ransom’s car with their vehicles. Ransom tries to escape, but is forced from his car in a parking lot. Kyle orders Jodie to get in his truck, but she tries to stop him as he and his friends prepare to hang Ransom. They place Ransom, with a noose around his neck, atop a car and then drive the vehicle away. However, as Ransom falls to the ground, the rope unravels, and Kyle and his friends laugh at their prank. Even Jodie finds it amusing. Later, while attempting to make love at home, Kyle is drunk and falls asleep so Jodie pushes him onto the floor, where he awakens the next morning. Before leaving for work, Kyle drops antacid tablets in a beer to cure his hangover. When Kyle and Jodie join Royce and his wife for dinner at a country club, Royce insists that Kyle can be successful working at the mobile home dealership. Kyle is still not interested, and they argue. Kyle and Jodie get up to leave, but are surprised by the arrival of Jodie’s parents, who were invited by Royce to celebrate Kyle’s new position. Later that night, Jodie agrees to go to The Stallion. They meet with their usual friends and everyone laughs as Kyle’s co-worker, Johnny Bob, acts like a wild man to get a date with Tracy Jo. After Johnny Bob and his date leave the bar, Kyle and Jodie join their other friends at a coffee shop, where Jodie becomes infuriated when Dell makes a crude remark about Tracy Jo. As Kyle tries to stop her, Jodie confronts Dell, insisting he has no right to categorize women by their anatomy, particularly when she has heard his physical attributes are deficient. After an awkward moment, the men decide to play a prank on Johnny Bob, and Jodie is angered further when Kyle insists she get a ride home with one of the girls. During the night, while Johnny Bob and Tracy Jo sleep, Kyle and his friends move Johnny Bob’s trailer to the middle of the highway. The unsuspecting couple is awakened in the morning by police, news reporters and lanes of stalled traffic. Meanwhile, Kyle and Jodie are awakened by the arrival of Jodie’s mother, who is horrified to discover that they are cohabitating. Jodie declares that she and Kyle are in love and it is not a sin. That afternoon, Jodie receives a letter offering her the stewardess job in California. She happily informs Kyle, insisting that California will be good for him, too. He claims that he is never leaving Texas and neither is she. He suggests accepting his brother’s offer, thinks the decision is settled and wants to celebrate, but she refuses to go to The Stallion ever again. Their argument escalates and he leaves, complaining that she is reading too many feminist magazines. At The Stallion, when Kyle joins his usual gang, Johnny Bob pretends to be a cannonball and jumps from the bar onto a table, seriously injuring his back. Jodie meets Kyle at the hospital and learns Johnny Bob requires spine surgery. At the factory the next day, Bishop chides Kyle for being late, and Kyle confronts the foreman about a promotion. When Bishop declares his dislike for Kyle and denies the promotion, Kyle attacks his supervisor’s cart with a shovel and is fired. Kyle starts working at his brother’s dealership, but is not a natural salesman. Jodie stops in Royce’s office and wants him to convince Kyle to move to California, but Royce refuses. Jodie argues that Kyle is not happy, but Royce counters that no one likes their job and only the money matters. Royce attempts to seduce Jodie and, when she refuses, he tries to rape her, but Kyle enters the office, and punches Royce as Jodie runs away. The two brothers battle, until Kyle, heartbroken, refuses to throw another punch and walks out. At home, Kyle silently watches Jodie pack and leave. At her parents’ home, Jodie admits to her sister that she still loves Kyle, but they have grown apart. That night, Kyle drinks alone at The Stallion and awakens, hungover, in the club’s parking lot the next morning. Meanwhile, Jodie gives her car to Loretta, says goodbye to her family and leaves for the airport. At the apartment, Kyle loads his belongings and their dog into his pickup truck and drives to see Jodie at her parent’s home, but learns she is flying to California. Kyle speeds to the airport and catches Jodie before she boards the plane. He offers to drive her to California, but she is angry and refuses. As Kyle fights off security guards, he falls down a flight of stairs and Jodie rushes to his aid. He declares his love and begs her to drive to California with him. She agrees and they leave Texas together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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