Sylvester (1985)

PG | 103 mins | Drama | 15 March 1985

Director:

Tim Hunter

Writer:

Carol Sobieski

Producer:

Martin Jurow

Cinematographer:

Hiro Narita

Production Designer:

James W. Newport

Production Company:

Rastar
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HISTORY

End credits include the following acknowledgements: “With Special Thanks: To Kim Walnes for her invaluable generosity and aid in the riding sequences in Lexington, Kentucky. This amateur athlete appears under agreement with the National Federation for Equestrian Sport. To Kentucky Educational Television for documentary footage. To the citizens of Marfa and Alpine, Texas, and Lexington, Kentucky. To the Texas and Kentucky Film Commissions.” Also acknowledged: “Quotation from 'The Crooked Colt' by C. W. Anderson.”
       The 14 Dec 1983 DV announced the forthcoming picture would be produced by Ray Stark’s Rastar Productions.
       A casting call appeared in the 21 Mar 1984 HR seeking a sixteen-to-seventeen-year-old female lead, acting experience not required. According to the 3 May 1984 DV, television actress Melissa Gilbert won the leading role, which would mark her feature film debut.
       Principal photography began on 25 Jun 1984, with locations in TX and KY, as reported in the 3 Jul 1984 HR production chart. According to the Dec 1987 Box, filming on the $8 million picture took place over six weeks in Marfa, TX. Production notes in AMPAS library files report that production moved from TX to Lexington, KY, for the final two-weeks of the eight-week shoot.
       The Dec 1987 Box reported that production brought in around $3 million to the Marfa, TX, economy, which had suffered an eighteen-month long drought.
       According to production notes, Melissa Gilbert trained in horseback riding for six weeks to prepare for the film. Second unit photography reportedly captured footage from the actual Rolex Kentucky International Three-Day Event that occurred three ... More Less

End credits include the following acknowledgements: “With Special Thanks: To Kim Walnes for her invaluable generosity and aid in the riding sequences in Lexington, Kentucky. This amateur athlete appears under agreement with the National Federation for Equestrian Sport. To Kentucky Educational Television for documentary footage. To the citizens of Marfa and Alpine, Texas, and Lexington, Kentucky. To the Texas and Kentucky Film Commissions.” Also acknowledged: “Quotation from 'The Crooked Colt' by C. W. Anderson.”
       The 14 Dec 1983 DV announced the forthcoming picture would be produced by Ray Stark’s Rastar Productions.
       A casting call appeared in the 21 Mar 1984 HR seeking a sixteen-to-seventeen-year-old female lead, acting experience not required. According to the 3 May 1984 DV, television actress Melissa Gilbert won the leading role, which would mark her feature film debut.
       Principal photography began on 25 Jun 1984, with locations in TX and KY, as reported in the 3 Jul 1984 HR production chart. According to the Dec 1987 Box, filming on the $8 million picture took place over six weeks in Marfa, TX. Production notes in AMPAS library files report that production moved from TX to Lexington, KY, for the final two-weeks of the eight-week shoot.
       The Dec 1987 Box reported that production brought in around $3 million to the Marfa, TX, economy, which had suffered an eighteen-month long drought.
       According to production notes, Melissa Gilbert trained in horseback riding for six weeks to prepare for the film. Second unit photography reportedly captured footage from the actual Rolex Kentucky International Three-Day Event that occurred three months before principal photography began. The footage was incorporated into the final film.
       In an interview with Melissa Gilbert in the 2 Mar 1985 LAT, which announced a 15 Mar 1985 release date, Gilbert explained that naming the horse in the picture “Sylvester Stallone” required its namesake actor to sign a release allowing for his name to be used. The contract allowed for his name to be said only seven times onscreen. LAT reported that Gilbert would be receiving a “star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame two days before the film opened.
       The Apr 1985 Box noted first weekend box-office earnings of $173,000 from thirty-five theaters. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Apr 1985.
---
Box Office
Dec 1987.
---
Daily Variety
14 Dec 1983
p. 1, 22.
Daily Variety
3 May 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 1985
p. 3, 30.
Los Angeles Times
2 Mar 1985
p. 1, 5.
Los Angeles Times
15 Mar 1985
p. 16.
New York Times
15 Mar 1985
p. 8.
Variety
11 Jul 1984.
---
Variety
20 Mar 1985
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures Presents
A Rastar Production
From Rastar
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op 1st unit
Cam op 1st unit
Cam asst 1st unit
Cam asst 1st unit
Cam asst 1st unit
Cam asst 1st unit
2d unit dir of photog
Cam op
Cam asst
Key grip
Best boy
2d unit 1st asst
2d unit 2d asst
2d unit key grip
Still photog
Spec photog
Spec photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men`s cost
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Livestock coord
Equestrian consultant
Horse trainer
Horse trainer
Horse trainer
Scr supv
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Loc mgr
Extra casting
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod secy
Asst to prod
Prod intern
Unit pub
Auditor
Kentucky consultant
Marfa consultant
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt utility
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
SOURCES
SONGS
"Just A Matter Of Time," written by Carla Olson, George Callins, Tom Junior Morgan, Joe Read, and Phil Seymour, performed by The Textones, lead vocal/Phil Seymour, courtesy of Gold Mountain Records, Ltd.
"It's Okay," written by George Callins, performed by The Textones, lead vocal/Carla Olson, courtesy of Gold Mountain Records, Ltd.
"Break Away," written by Gary Nicholson and Wayland Holyfield, performed by Gail Davies, courtesy of RCA Records, Inc.
+
SONGS
"Just A Matter Of Time," written by Carla Olson, George Callins, Tom Junior Morgan, Joe Read, and Phil Seymour, performed by The Textones, lead vocal/Phil Seymour, courtesy of Gold Mountain Records, Ltd.
"It's Okay," written by George Callins, performed by The Textones, lead vocal/Carla Olson, courtesy of Gold Mountain Records, Ltd.
"Break Away," written by Gary Nicholson and Wayland Holyfield, performed by Gail Davies, courtesy of RCA Records, Inc.
"Just Like Roses," written by Steven Hufsteter, performed by Cruzados, courtesy of EMI America Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.
"Big Time Loser," written by Steven Hufsteter, performed by Cruzados, courtesy of EMI America Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.
"Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio," written by Santiago Jimenez, performed by Los Lobos, courtesy of Slash Records
"Timeless Love," written by Tony Kinman and Chip Kinman, performed by Rank & File, courtesy of Slash Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 March 1985
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 March 1985
Production Date:
25 June--20 August 1984
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 April 1985
Copyright Number:
PA243824
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Prints by Metrocolor®
Duration(in mins):
103
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27653
SYNOPSIS

In Marfa, Texas, sixteen-year-old Charlene “Charlie” Railsberg wrangles two stray steers in the stockyard where she works for John Foster. A boy named “Red” teases her, knocking off her cowboy hat, and she leaps from her horse and attacks him. As they roll on the ground hitting each other, Foster scolds them. Charlie returns home where she raises her younger brothers, Seth and Grant, since the death of their parents in an automobile accident. Back at the ranch, Charlie is responsible for “breaking” wild horses, and she works with a large grey horse she names “Sylvester Stallone.” However, Foster deems the horse too dangerous for Charlie, and gives the animal to Red to break. That night, she takes her brothers to visit Sylvester, and they stop to pick up her friend, Matt, along the way. Charlie is alarmed at the injuries on the horse after Red’s abuse. As they leave the ranch, Matt kisses her, but she pushes him away. Sometime later, Red attempts to ride Sylvester, but is bucked off. Charlie summons the horse, which comes to her side, and she successfully rides the wild stallion. Red purposefully spooks the horse, which throws Charlie, and escapes by leaping the fence. As the horse races along a rural road, it causes a multi-vehicle collision. Red pursues the horse by motorcycle, while Charlie chases after him on horseback. She catches up to Sylvester and mounts him, mid-run, from her horse. After the incident, Foster “fires” both Red and Charlie. As Charlie gets into her truck, Red sexually assaults her. Foster hears the commotion, ... +


In Marfa, Texas, sixteen-year-old Charlene “Charlie” Railsberg wrangles two stray steers in the stockyard where she works for John Foster. A boy named “Red” teases her, knocking off her cowboy hat, and she leaps from her horse and attacks him. As they roll on the ground hitting each other, Foster scolds them. Charlie returns home where she raises her younger brothers, Seth and Grant, since the death of their parents in an automobile accident. Back at the ranch, Charlie is responsible for “breaking” wild horses, and she works with a large grey horse she names “Sylvester Stallone.” However, Foster deems the horse too dangerous for Charlie, and gives the animal to Red to break. That night, she takes her brothers to visit Sylvester, and they stop to pick up her friend, Matt, along the way. Charlie is alarmed at the injuries on the horse after Red’s abuse. As they leave the ranch, Matt kisses her, but she pushes him away. Sometime later, Red attempts to ride Sylvester, but is bucked off. Charlie summons the horse, which comes to her side, and she successfully rides the wild stallion. Red purposefully spooks the horse, which throws Charlie, and escapes by leaping the fence. As the horse races along a rural road, it causes a multi-vehicle collision. Red pursues the horse by motorcycle, while Charlie chases after him on horseback. She catches up to Sylvester and mounts him, mid-run, from her horse. After the incident, Foster “fires” both Red and Charlie. As Charlie gets into her truck, Red sexually assaults her. Foster hears the commotion, pulls Red off her, and beats him as Charlie drives away. Afterward, Foster allows Charlie to continue working with Sylvester. In time, Mrs. Daniels, a social worker, suggests that Charlie take a typing course to secure future employment, and that her bothers be placed in an orphanage. Charlie exerts her desire to become a horse trainer to support her family, but Mrs. Daniels does not view this as a real profession. Despite Charlie’s protests, Mrs. Daniels insists on taking the boys the following morning. In the middle of the night, Charlie visits Mr. Foster to ask for his help, but changes her mind when she sees the elderly man is drunk. When Seth and Grant run into Foster’s house and refuse to leave, Charlie reluctantly agrees to stay. Sometime later, Mrs. Daniels arrives at a livestock auction with Captain Marsh in tow, to confront Charlie. However, Foster intercedes and asks to be declared the siblings’ legal guardian. Mrs. Daniels insists he is too old and a drunk, but Foster persuades her. Charlie and her brothers clean Foster’s house and make him dinner, but he has become used to his solitude, and thinks that he has made a mistake. He goes to a bar where he shares a drink with Charlie’s friend, Matt. When Steve, the bartender, suggests Foster has ulterior motives toward Charlie, Matt punches Steve in the face. Foster tells Matt that he had planned to send Charlie and her brothers to Oklahoma where they have family, but Matt insists they stay, and reveals his plan to marry Charlie once she has given up on her idea of becoming a horse trainer. Foster encourages Matt not to be disheartened by Charlie’s stubbornness. In time, Charlie dreams of entering Sylvester in a Kentucky horse riding competition, but does not have the funds to enter. Her ranch-hand friends set up an obstacle course for her to practice. Matt encourages her to ask for Foster’s help. In a drunken state, Foster tells Charlie how wonderful her mother was, and Charlie mentions that her mother used to tell stories about Foster dancing with horses in the moonlight. Foster admits his love for Charlie’s dead mother, and curses her abusive father, whose drunk-driving resulted in their deaths. Charlie is angry that Foster will not offer help. However, Matt offers his support, and Charlie responds to his kiss at last. Sometime later, Charlie confronts Foster on his attitudes, and implies that he is her brother Seth’s real father. Capt. Marsh agrees to fund Charlie’s entrance fees, and she begins practicing. When Matt convinces Foster to help, Charlie embraces the old man. They begin dressage training, and late one night, Charlie sees Foster “dancing” with a horse in the moonlight. The gang arrives in Lexington for the three-day International Kentucky Horse Trial. Charlie meets fellow competitor, Harris, and is surprised to learn that he rides for the U.S. Olympic Equestrian team. After her first event, Charlie impresses the spectators. Matt becomes jealous when Charlie flirts with Harris. After two days, Charlie is in fourth place, and a woman named “Muffy” approaches her with an offer to buy Sylvester. She invites Charlie to her sprawling estate, where she offers Charlie a position to live and work on her grounds, and train for free for a year. Charlie is humbled, but would not be able to bring her brothers, who would be sent to an orphanage if she accepted. At a cocktail party, Harris offers to train Charlie if she moves to Kentucky, and Matt and Harris get into a fistfight. Later that evening, Matt tells Charlie that he fears losing her and wants to marry her. Charlie agrees to be his wife someday, and makes love to Matt in a horse stable. On the third day of the event, Muffy encourages Charlie not to waste her gift. Charlie wins the competition, and Muffy agrees to buy Sylvester. Foster encourages Charlie to stay in Kentucky, and offers to look after her brothers. Matt also lends his support, and Charlie professes her love for him. She accepts her award and takes her victory lap. Before the men return to Texas, leaving her behind, Charlie kisses her brothers goodbye, and embraces Matt. +

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

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