Borrowing its title from the 1975 Glen Campbell C&W crossover smash hit "Rhinestone Cowboy", this intriguing little "Damon Christian" (a/k/a Richard Aldrich, making his alleged film-making debut) oddity usually passes below the radar of all but the most dedicated dirty movie devotees. Trivia note : although Campbell did warble the tune to the top of pop charts worldwide, this was already a cover version, the song having been originally recorded by its writer Larry Weiss as well as Neil Diamond a year before but to little avail. Christian had already become a hardcore household name as producer of the popular JOHNNY WADD series starring the late lamented John Holmes as an extremely private eye and directed by consummate professional Bob Chinn. For his maiden voyage at the helm, he constructed a simple yet dramatically satisfying yarn about the redemption of a small time hood through the love of a good woman. Even though he had just famously funded Jeff Fairbanks' lavish adult comedy American PIE, he chose to scale down to almost minimalist proportions for his turn at the reins, eschewing the participation of any major stars of the period save for Rhonda Jo Petty whose frequent publicitary comparisons to TV icon Farrah Fawcett got her into legal hot water. This turns out to be something of a mixed blessing. While it's always a treat to watch people you haven't seen dozens of times before, there's usually a reason why the major league performers are much in demand and that's because they're simply better at those activities that put the 'adult' in adult movies. Christian's cast struggles valiantly but ultimately doesn't quite cut it.
Having served five years for robbery, Roger Smith (Rick Ardo) finds he has nothing to come home to, a "Dear John" letter from wife Becky (a very pretty actress only identified as "Sajo") obliterating all hopes for regular domesticity. He hitches a ride to the fictitious hamlet of Cactus Corner, Montana (actually Clayton, California) in the back of a dung truck and finds a job tending bar for mean Marcie (Tiara O'Malley). Watch for Christian's blink and you'll miss him cameo as the previous bottle jockey, storming out in a huff to make room for Rog. Like DAMN YANKEES' Lola, Marcie usually gets whatever she wants, her singing cowboy hey, that's what the credits call him brother (Richard Burns) helpfully warns him. It doesn't take long to figure out that she wants to add this fresh stallion to her stable while simultaneously trying to uncover whatever dark deed drove him to this Godforsaken hellhole. Sweet waitress Carol (Yvette Cole, who also appeared in Bob Chinn's pedestrian SEDUCTRESS) falls hard for the new guy but harbors her own shameful secrets which keep her indebted to the manipulative Marcie. Can our likable lovers possibly defeat this formidable foe ?
Production-wise, this low key offering is somewhat hampered by occasionally sloppy post sync dubbing. Other than that, it's a fairly smooth ride with nice mood lighting and fluent camera movement by veteran DoP Ken Gibb who started out in sexploitation, shooting stuff like Bethel Buckalew's BELOW THE BELT and the Sharon Kelly showcase ALICE GOODBODY. Jack Remy supports him on second unit. Particular mention should be made of the outstanding piano-based soundtrack by Randy Rivera, who would score Christian's subsequent laugh riot TITILLATION, even though his self-sung theme song "Glory Bound" does wear out its welcome by its fourth or fifth rendition in a movie barely over an hour long !
All the makings of a solid sleeper then, if it weren't for the lukewarm sex. Bearded Ardo was a decidedly handsome bloke and a decent actor to boot but less than stellar in the wood department. He did his best work for Sven Conrad on the offbeat BODY MAGIC where he gave an effortlessly charismatic performance and managed to stay hard at least most of the time, an occasional occurrence of droopy dick thematically justified by him playing a jaded fashion photographer who had grown bored with the superficiality of his surroundings. Sole supporting stud Burns saves the day, cured from impotency brought on by an incestuous tryst with sister Marcie by a trio of good time gals headed by Petty, whose "special guest appearance" turn unusually if not undeservedly grants her top billing in both opening and closing credits. For the record, the two brunette participants are one shots Ann Joseph and Holly Sutter. There's a "Laura Sutter" briefly glimpsed as a non-sex cocktail waitress who looks an awful lot like Laura Lazare, smoldering star of Chris Warfield's wonderful PURELY PHYSICAL, just an assumption of mine awaiting confirmation. Mike Horner (back when he was still "Don Hart") and Rocky Johnson (Adam to Tracy Walton's Eve in Howard Ziehm's STAR VIRGIN) appear in clothed capacity as the cops materializing out of thin air beautifully achieved effect, by the way to bust Roger right after making love to his wife in the opening flashback.
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