'The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas' comes to Britain
(article taken from Country Music People magazine)
Dolly Parton is back on the big screen and continues her movie career in star-name company. The movie is already much publicised The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas and her co-star is one of the contemporary box office's biggest attractions, Burt Reynolds. As previewed in the September edition of CMP, the movie is based on the stage musical of the same name, which in turn is based on a true incident in Texas's colorful history, which concerned the famed chicken ranch, a brothel which, after many years successful business was eventually closed down by the state government.
A somewhat risque subject, the film nevertheless comes across as fairly wholesome entertainment, full of fun and music, with Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds relying on little else than their own personalities to carry the movie through it's running time.
Dolly Parton as Miss Mona pro-proprietress of the establishment (The Chicken Ranch)
In The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, Dolly Parton portrays Miss Mona, proprietress of the chicken ranch and is not only surrounded by a bevy of lovely ladies, 15 in all, but is also well dressed to suit the role herself, re-vealing more of her glamorous self than in an other role in her career that spreads over more than 15 years. Burt Reynolds plays sheriff Ed earl Dodd, the local upholder of the law, who turns a blind eye to the activities of the chicken ranch, not only because it's a part of the area's tradition, but also because he has an ongoing situation with the institutions proprietress. Reynolds probably lands the best section of the screen play, with a succession of hilarious one-liners virtually every time he appears on-screen.
The supporting cast includes Dom De Luise-who has appeared in no less than four other Reynolds movies during recent years. He plays the TV campaigner Melvin P. Thorpe. Charles Durning stars as the Texas Governor and Lois Nettleton as the sheriff's respectable girlfriend. The movie also introduces Jim Nabors to cinema audiences an entertainer who has maintained loyal audiences in the USA for many years as a TV personality and a stage artist who has recorded country and religious material among his 28 album output, gathering five gold and one platinum album for sales achievement. Here Nabours plays Deputy Fred, sheriff Ed Earl Dodd's right-hand man.
Burt Reynolds as Earl
The plot revolves around how the chicken ranch suddenly becomes headline news after crusader Melvin P Thorpe brings it to the attention of his television audience, and at the same time upsetting the long standing relationship between sheriff Ed Earl and Miss Mona. At first Sheriff Dodd defends the whorehouse as a tradition that is in his domain, adding that it never did the township any harm, rather the township benefited from it as a successful business and raiser of charity monies. He then later advises Miss Mona that it should in fact be closed for a little while until the trouble blows over. Unfortunately, the whorehouse opens up to play host to the victorious 'AGGIE' football team, who along with some local dignatory's, get caught with their pants down by Thorpe's spying TV crew and the whole incident ends up in the lap of the Texas Governor who is finally forced to resolve this touchy political incident.
On the music front, Carol Hall's original lyrics complimented by four new song's by Dolly Parton, including the already known 'I Will Always Love You', a duet with Burt Reynolds entitled 'Sneaking Around', and a love ballad performed by Reynolds as a solo. Filmed on location in Texas (as well as at universal city sound stages in Hollywood), the movie-according to the Texas film commission granted permission to film in Austin's historic Capitol Building. Other locations included the Lavaca county Courthouse in Hallettsville, while a privately owned turn of the century farm house near Pflugerville was chosen for the chicken house exteriors.
Inspired originally by a national magazine story (which lead to the stage musical), The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas was written and directed by Colin Higgins, whose previous credits include Dolly Parton's film debut in 9 to 5. It opens up in London on November 4th with general release shortly afterwards.
Dom De Luise as TV campaigner Melvin P Thorpe, here seen leading the Doggettes and ready to put the chicken ranch into the national spotlight-and on to the Texas State Capital
Burt Reynolds .................... Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd
Dolly Parton ......................Mona Stangley
Dom DeLuise .....................Melvin P. Thorpe
Charles Durning ................. Governor
Jim Nabours ......................Deputy Fred
Robert Madan ....................Senator Charles Wingwood
Lois Nettleton ....................Dulci Mae
Theressa Merrit ..................Jewel
Noah Berry Jr .................... Edsal
Barry corbin ...................... C.J
Ken Magee ........................ Mansell
Mary Jo Catlett .................. Rita Crowell
Mary Louis Wilson ................ Miss Modene
Gail Benedict .....................Chicken Ranch Girl Other crew members A Miller-milkis-BoyettProductionsA Colin Higgins ......................Film Director
Carol Hall ......................... Music and Lyrics
Paterick Williams ............... Background music
Gregg Perry ...................... Music Producer
Tony Stevens .................... Choreography
Robert Boyle ..................... Production Design
Albert whitlock .................. Special Visual Effects
William Fraker ................... Director of photography
Peter MacGreggor Scott ........ Co-Producer
Thomas miller .................... Producer
Edward Milkis .....................Producer
Robert Boyett .....................Producer Filming Locations: Austin Texas USA
Hallettville Texas USA
Pfugerville Texas USA Chicken ranch exteriors
Universal Studios Universal City California USA Chicken ranch interior
Victoria Texas USA
Austin Texas USA Director Colin Higgins Writers: Larry L King
Release date 23 July 1982 (USA)
Musical Awards: Nominated for Oscar and a further 2 nominations
Also Known As: The Best Little Cat house in Texas & The Best Little Chicken House in Texas
Runtime: 114 min (USA) 110 min (UK)
Certification: Canada 14, Chile 14, Finland -16, Norway 16, Sweden 11, Argentina 13, UK 15, USA R, Singapore it was banned
Universal produced both the stage and the film versions of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. The stage musical opened in New York in April 1978 and ran until March 1982, for a total 1584 performances, not counting its return engagement soon after.
Estimated budget: $26 million. Filmed in Technicolor and Panavision.
Although this basic plotline remains the same between the original play and the film version, there is at least one significant difference in the characterization. In the film, Ed Earl and Miss Mona maintain an ongoing affair, while in the play they once merely had a night together some 20 years earlier (which the sheriff himself has forgotten). Their relationship in the film brings about not only the (added) accusatory scene, when the sheriff, disappointed that Mona has broken her promise to close the Chicken Ranch down long enough for things to cool off, calls her a whore. Another difference between the play and the film is the happy ending at the very end, when he proposes marriage to Mona (which she accepts), even though that might endanger his chances to be elected as a state Senator. In the play however, it has them simply parting their ways. Some other character changes in the film include the addition of the sheriff's deputy, who serves as narrator (a service provided in the play by the Bandleader), and the somewhat more congenial social relationship between Ed Earl and the waitress in town named Doatsy Mae ("Dulcie Mae" in the film). In contrast, the initial plot element in the play involving Angel and Shy (newly arriving workers at the Chicken Ranch) is lacking in the film.
In the 2001 touring production with Ann Margret the song "The Bus from Amarillo," which ended the original show, was moved to the end of Act I, so as to accommodate a new closing song for Mona, "A Friend to Me."
The Original Soundtrack Album
The Best Little Whore house in Texas
20 Fans (Jim Nabours)/A Li'l Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place(Dolly Parton, Teresa Merritt and girls)/\Sneaking around (Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds)/Watch dog Report; Texas has a whorehouse in it (Dom De Luise)/Courtyard Shag (instrumental)/The Aggie Song (chorus)/The Sidestep(Charles During/Hard Candy Christmas (Dolly Parton)/I Will Always Love You (Dolly Parton)
Country meets musical comedy, with a great number of the songs cloaked in that familiar musical stage presentation and basically appealing to those who have seen the stage/screen presentation. The great thing about The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas is that it possesses some great material, instantly catchy songs, energetically performed-and laid down by the musicians that frequently work in a country vein.
The movie also has a musical plus over the stage original in that Dolly Parton has contributed a number of songs to Carol Hall's original score, a couple which are included here. Sneaking Around, a duet with Burt Reynolds and the re-recorded I Will Always Love You. In comparison to Miss Parton's 9 to 5 debut, she is seen on screen singing from time to time. Jim Nabours sets the scene with a history of the chicken shag.
The album then moves on with a series of songs that virtually rely the story line..........Miss Mona reciting the tricks of the trade in A Lil' Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place, Melvin P. Thorpe stirring up his watch dog committee in Watchdog Report and the state Governor living up to his reputation in The Sidestep, an amusing survey of political intensions which is one of the movies hilarious highlights, perfectly executed by Charles Durning. Perhaps it's not an album for the pure country music devotees, theres a certain amount of big band productions alongside the continuing steel guitar and banjos, but see the movie and you might well want a copy as a permanent souvenir. The music certainly makes it worth while.
The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas...... 4 day premiere bash!
The small town of Austin Texas, had never seen anything like it when Universal decided to hold a wild premiere. Celebrations there for The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, with Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton in attendance, the four day bash got off to a roaring start as press from all quarters of America flew into the city to lend there talents and appreciation to the activities.
The junket kicked off with an open air BBQ's in the massive grounds of the governor's mansion. There was food, music and celebrities galour, with everyone kitted out in western gear, jeans, cowboy shirts hats scarf and boots. It was splendid fun, particularly when Burt and Dolly gate crashed the country and western group providing the entertainment to add a little bit of expertise and fun of their own. They stayed away from the next days activities when canoe trips were laid on to “ride the rapids”. The premiere activities that night attracted thousands of local residents, who lined the streets outside the cinema for most of the afternoon, just to catch a glimpse of Burt and dolly when they arrived that evening. Jim Nabours and Charles Durning, co-stars in the film, were also on hand, as were the local stars and marching band. The night's festivals wound to a late end in a nearby hotel after a long dinner and entertainment by the film stars and top celebrity's from Nashville.
Review from back of UK video - 1982
Covers of the original VHS and the DVD release
The Best Little Whore House In Texas documents in rousing song and dance, a new Texas legend, which now joins the Alamo as an historical institution, immortalized in story, song, book, play and movie. The demise of the real-life chicken ranch inspired the musical stage play, and now the big screen version starts Burt Reynolds as Sheriff Edd Earl Dodd and Dolly Parton as the chicken Ranch's proprietress, Miss Mona. The two join together not only in romance, but to fight the big city TV crusader Melvin P Thorpe (Dom Deluise) in his efforts to expose the chicken ranch to public scandal, and thus close it down.
Note the DVD includes a "Making of Featurette" and some hilarious outtakes.