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The film is based on the 1975 song hit, “Rhinestone Cowboy,” written by Larry Weiss and sung by Glen Campbell. According to a 27 Mar 1984 HR article, Weiss embarked on adapting the song into a feature film in 1977 when he took out advertisements in trade papers, announcing the project’s development. Over the next six years, different parties pursued Rhinestone. A 17 Mar 1978 DV article reported that British producer Laurence Myers and his company, GTO Film Productions, would undertake the project, and Glen Campbell was approached for the lead role. Weiss was considering writing the screenplay from a story outline he prepared for investors. The following year, an 11 Jun 1979 Box article reported Rhinestone was part of a $42 million, seven film production slate launched by television producer Quinn Martin, who was venturing into motion pictures for the first time. The article attributed the screenplay to Mort Fine. Avco Embassy Pictures acquired the project in 1981, but abandoned it when the company’s ownership changed. A few months later, a deal was reached with Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation after the studio outbid Paramount Pictures, according to a 19 Jul 1984 HR article.
       Phil Alden Robinson, who shares onscreen screenplay credit with Sylvester Stallone, conveyed his disappointed about the script’s development in the 19 Jul 1984 HR article. Prior to Stallone’s involvement, Robinson’s original screenplay placed more emphasis on the woman’s role of “Jake Ferris,” and during fall 1982, entertainer Dolly Parton signed on to play the part. Fox executives assured Robinson he would ... More Less

The film is based on the 1975 song hit, “Rhinestone Cowboy,” written by Larry Weiss and sung by Glen Campbell. According to a 27 Mar 1984 HR article, Weiss embarked on adapting the song into a feature film in 1977 when he took out advertisements in trade papers, announcing the project’s development. Over the next six years, different parties pursued Rhinestone. A 17 Mar 1978 DV article reported that British producer Laurence Myers and his company, GTO Film Productions, would undertake the project, and Glen Campbell was approached for the lead role. Weiss was considering writing the screenplay from a story outline he prepared for investors. The following year, an 11 Jun 1979 Box article reported Rhinestone was part of a $42 million, seven film production slate launched by television producer Quinn Martin, who was venturing into motion pictures for the first time. The article attributed the screenplay to Mort Fine. Avco Embassy Pictures acquired the project in 1981, but abandoned it when the company’s ownership changed. A few months later, a deal was reached with Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation after the studio outbid Paramount Pictures, according to a 19 Jul 1984 HR article.
       Phil Alden Robinson, who shares onscreen screenplay credit with Sylvester Stallone, conveyed his disappointed about the script’s development in the 19 Jul 1984 HR article. Prior to Stallone’s involvement, Robinson’s original screenplay placed more emphasis on the woman’s role of “Jake Ferris,” and during fall 1982, entertainer Dolly Parton signed on to play the part. Fox executives assured Robinson he would be responsible for subsequent drafts, but once Stallone was cast as “Nick Martinelli,” the actor allegedly rewrote the entire script on his own. From there, Robinson was instructed to “‘restore the charm, the humor, and fix the structure,’” but retain the dialogue Stallone wrote for his own character. As script changes continued during production, Robinson and Stallone never collaborated, and Robinson regretted not removing his name from the writing credit, stating that the completed film did not represent his contribution.
       According to a 14 Oct 1983 DV article, principal photography was set to begin 17 Oct 1983. A 28 Oct 1983 Back Stage article announced that Don Zimmerman, a veteran film editor who had been nominated for his work on Coming Home (1978, see entry), would be making his feature film directorial debut. The production was based in Nashville, TN, with location work scheduled in nearby Williamson County, TN. The state’s film commissioner, Joan Neal, had been hired as location manager and Karen Everly as production secretary, but these two names are not credited onscreen. After three weeks of filming, Zimmerman left the production and was replaced by director Bob Clark. A 9 Dec 1983 LAT article indicated that the departure was due to tension between Zimmerman and Stallone. The majority of footage directed by Zimmerman was discarded, and included location work in New York City and Nashville. Under Clark’s direction, the production continued filming in TN before relocating to Los Angeles, CA, “to start from scratch.” A 30 Nov 1983 Var article revealed that the move to CA was prompted by cold weather in TN, which caused continuity problems. The production planned to use the San Fernando Valley for reshoots.
       Screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson mentioned in the 19 Jul 1984 HR column that the budget was between $20 and $30 million. Twentieth Century-Fox executive Robert Cort would not confirm a figure in the 9 Dec 1983 LAT, but noted that production costs “increased by no more than ten percent” due to the directing and location changes. Stallone’s salary was reportedly $5 million, according to the 14 Oct 1983 DV. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Back Stage
28 Oct 1983.
---
Box Office
11 Jun 1979.
---
Daily Variety
17 Mar 1978.
---
Daily Variety
14 Oct 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 1984
p. 4, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Dec 1983
p. 1, 18.
Los Angeles Times
22 Jun 1984
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
22 Jun 1984
p. 10.
Variety
30 Nov 1983.
---
Variety
20 Jun 1984
p. 17.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Richard Farnsworth
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Marvin Worth Presentation
A Howard Smith Production
A Bob Clark Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
New York prod mgr
2d unit 1st asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Key grip
Still photog
Filmed in
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const coord
Set des
Leadman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Dolly Parton's cost des by
Men's costumer
Costumer for Dolly Parton
Costumer for Dolly Parton
Women's costumer
MUSIC
Mus score adpt and cond
Mus consultant
Mus prod by
Mus prod by
All songs rec and mixed by
Mus supv
Mus supv
Mus ed
Mus coord
Scoring mixer
Mus equip supplied by
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Sd ed
Sd ed
Dial ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Casting asst
New York extra casting
Asst to James Brubaker
Asst to Dolly Parton
Prod coord
Prod auditor
Asst auditor
Loc consultant
Transportation coord
Unit pub
Asst to prod coord
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the song "Rhinestone Cowboy" by Larry Weiss.
AUTHOR
SONGS
“Hope You’re Never Happy,” performed by Mike Post
vocal performance “Too Much Water,” Herb Pedersen
vocal performance “Goin’ Back To Heaven," Kin Vassey
+
SONGS
“Hope You’re Never Happy,” performed by Mike Post
vocal performance “Too Much Water,” Herb Pedersen
vocal performance “Goin’ Back To Heaven," Kin Vassey
all music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, published by Velvet Apple Music/Sprocket Music, Inc.
except “The Day My Baby Died,” lyrics by Phil Alden Robinson and Bob Clark, music by Mike Post, performed by Rusty Buchanan
“Rhinestone Cowboy,” ©1974 House of Weiss Music Company and Warner Bros. Music.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 June 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening and New York openings: 22 June 1984
Production Date:
began 17 October 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
6 July 1984
Copyright Number:
PA221880
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
114
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27201
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, Jake Ferris is a popular country and western singer at the Rhinestone club. Leaving the stage after a performance, she fends off flirtations from her lecherous business manager, Freddie Ugo, and longs to terminate her contract with him. When she argues that he is incapable of discovering and developing talent, while claiming she can turn any person into a “Rhinestone cowboy,” Freddie makes a wager with her. He will release Jake from the three years left on her contract, if she can turn an average person into a singer who can perform one song without being heckled by the Rhinestone’s tough audience. Freddie will select the person and Jake will have two weeks to complete the transformation. However, if her protégé fails, Jake’s contract will remain valid, with an additional five year option. When Freddie adds that she must also spend a night with him if she loses, Jake balks, but finally accepts the bet. Outside the club, Freddie tries to select a homeless man, as Jake protests. She agrees to take the next “normal person” who comes along. Suddenly, Nick Martinelli, a boisterous taxicab driver, pulls up to drop off a group of Japanese tourists. At first, Nick is not interested in a wager involving “hillbilly” music, but after he is fired for wrecking the taxicab, he negotiates with Freddie for a new vehicle if Jake wins her bet. Anxious to get started, Jake asks if Nick can play any musical instruments and he takes her to his father’s funeral home where he plays a few notes on the organ and performs a poor ... +


In New York City, Jake Ferris is a popular country and western singer at the Rhinestone club. Leaving the stage after a performance, she fends off flirtations from her lecherous business manager, Freddie Ugo, and longs to terminate her contract with him. When she argues that he is incapable of discovering and developing talent, while claiming she can turn any person into a “Rhinestone cowboy,” Freddie makes a wager with her. He will release Jake from the three years left on her contract, if she can turn an average person into a singer who can perform one song without being heckled by the Rhinestone’s tough audience. Freddie will select the person and Jake will have two weeks to complete the transformation. However, if her protégé fails, Jake’s contract will remain valid, with an additional five year option. When Freddie adds that she must also spend a night with him if she loses, Jake balks, but finally accepts the bet. Outside the club, Freddie tries to select a homeless man, as Jake protests. She agrees to take the next “normal person” who comes along. Suddenly, Nick Martinelli, a boisterous taxicab driver, pulls up to drop off a group of Japanese tourists. At first, Nick is not interested in a wager involving “hillbilly” music, but after he is fired for wrecking the taxicab, he negotiates with Freddie for a new vehicle if Jake wins her bet. Anxious to get started, Jake asks if Nick can play any musical instruments and he takes her to his father’s funeral home where he plays a few notes on the organ and performs a poor imitation of rock and roll singer, Chuck Berry. Nick’s Italian-American parents doubt their immature son will succeed in this endeavor, but Jake strongly disagrees and plans to immerse Nick in country music by taking him to her hometown, Leipers Fork, Tennessee. After arriving, Jake has Nick perform with her father, Noah Ferris, and his bluegrass band, the Wild Possums. Nick’s wild gyrations and singing scare not only the locals, but also the farm animals. When Noah privately asks if she and Nick are romantically involved, Jake immediately dismisses the idea. To begin the transformation, Jake teaches Nick about living on a farm and and acting like a cowboy. After awhile, Nick becomes weary of Jake’s nagging and needs a break. At the Cut n’ Slice, a local bar, he meets country singer Barnett Kale, and enjoys partying with him. The next day, Jake becomes furious that Nick was carousing with Barnett, her former boyfriend, whom she calls a liar and cheater. As they reach an understanding, she promises to make the lessons more, “fun,” and Nick agrees to work harder. While slow dancing later at the Cut n’ Slice, Nick admits to Jake that he is becoming fond of her and refuses to let her ex-boyfriend cut in. Barnett punches Nick in the face and waits for him to fight back, but Jake convinces Nick to walk away. Jake is encouraged by Nick’s progress as they sing on the porch that evening. They nearly kiss, but Noah interrupts them. In preparation for Nick’s appearance at the Rhinestone, Jake introduces him as “Howlin’ Nick Martinelli” to the audience at the Cut n’ Slice. At first, Nick is too nervous to go on stage, but Jake encourages him. After Nick subdues Barnett and the other hecklers with a few jokes, he performs a rousing duet with Jake, and the crowd cheers. That night, Nick and Jake make love. Back in New York City, Nick shows off his cowboy clothes, as his parents host a party for him and Jake at an Italian restaurant. Mr. and Mrs. Martinelli are proud of their son’s commitment to becoming a country singer and toast him as “Hopalong Meatball.” When Nick announces to everyone that he is a singer now and no longer wants to drive a taxi, Jake is surprised and reminds him that she trained him to perform just one song, while an actual career on stage will take more than two weeks. In front of the crowd, she calls him a “robot, for now,” and Nick is embarrassed. As they bicker, Jake blurts out that she should forget the wager and give in to sleeping with Freddie. Unaware that sex with Freddie was part of the bet, Nick is furious. The argument escalates into a shouting match, and Jake walks out of the restaurant. Later, a waitress at the Rhinestone warns her that Freddie has arranged for hecklers to attend Nick’s debut, but Jake is not concerned, as she feels disheartened about her behavior at the restaurant and is prepared to forfeit the bet. On the night of his Rhinestone performance, Nick nervously waits backstage. Meanwhile, Jake is at Freddie’s apartment ready to concede defeat, and Freddie pours champagne to begin their night together. As soon as Nick learns Jake’s whereabouts from the waitress, he rushes out of the club to rescue her. Unable to hail a taxi, Nick borrows the horse of the Rhinestone’s cowboy doorman and gallops into the lobby of Freddie’s apartment building. He bursts through the front door the moment that Jake punches Freddie, indicating she does not need rescuing. Tired of never finishing anything, Nick convinces Jake to follow through with the wager. Although he wants to perform a duet with her, Jake says he must win over the audience on his own to secure the bet. When Nick takes the stage, his attempt to tell jokes and sing a country song elicits jeers from the crowd. Cutting the tune short, he switches to a sexy banter that suits his personality and performs an energetic country rock tune. The crowd becomes enthusiastic and claps along to the music. As Jake joins Nick on stage, Freddie watches the cheering audience and realizes he has lost the bet. +

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

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