A town's Sheriff and regular patron of a historical whorehouse fights to keep it running when a television reporter targets it as the Devil's playhouse.

Director:

Colin Higgins

Writers:

Larry L. King (play), Peter Masterson (play) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Reynolds ... Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd
Dolly Parton ... Mona Stangley
Dom DeLuise ... Melvin
Charles Durning ... Governor
Jim Nabors ... Deputy Fred
Robert Mandan ... Senator Wingwood
Lois Nettleton ... Dulcie Mae
Theresa Merritt ... Jewel
Noah Beery Jr. ... Edsel (as Noah Beery)
Raleigh Bond Raleigh Bond ... Mayor
Barry Corbin ... C.J.
Ken Magee Ken Magee ... Mansel
Mary Jo Catlett ... Rita
Mary Louise Wilson ... Modene
Howard K. Smith ... Howard K. Smith
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Storyline

Founded in 1910 just outside of the city limits of Gilbert located in Lanville County, Texas, the Chicken Ranch has for generations been known as the best little whorehouse in Texas for its wholesome fun, strict moral code, and cleanliness, all perpetuated by its original owner, Miss Wulla Jean. Seven years ago, Miss Wulla Jean died, leaving the Chicken Ranch to her favorite working girl, Miss Mona Stangley, who wants to keep the same traditions of Miss Wulla Jean. The Chicken Ranch has always had the unofficial blessing of the local authorities, who see the ranch providing an important community service, one which most in local authority have used at one time or another in their lives. In fact, Miss Mona and Lanville County Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd have been in a relationship for years, Ed Earl, who is Miss Mona's protector, albeit one with a hot temper and good ol' boy attitude that doesn't exactly match the needs of his law upholding position. That blessing may change when television ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

With Burt and Dolly this much fun just couldn't be legal!

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Miss Mona and Ed Earl's conversation about Jesus and Mary Magdalene was ad-libbed. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Burt is telling Dolly to shut down for 2 months her hair is parted on the left, but when she walks in the hallway it is parted on the right. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Deputy Fred: It was the nicest little whorehouse you ever saw!
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Alternate Versions

The use of the word "Whorehouse" in the title caused controversy. In Canada, TV ads for the film bleeped the word, and in some locales the name of the film was changed to Best Little Cathouse in Texas. Network and non-cable TV versions use a differently edited opening credits sequence to remove nudity and sex. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Jay Leno Show: Episode #1.23 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

A Lil' Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place
Written by Carol Hall
Performed by Dolly Parton, Theresa Merritt, and Whorehouse Girls
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User Reviews

Dolly's Voice
11 April 2004 | by pmullinsjSee all my reviews

The pure part of this film is Dolly's voice, with its warble, its touch of yodel, its complete inability to resists little trills, mordents, all the musical embellishments that are mirrored in her visual presence, her couture. And since the sumptuous breasts are maybe even a bit too much here--with many gown changes in the big numbers--that is all the more striking that it is still the singing that stands out. Jim Nabors, for example, takes some time to seem bearable to me, but finally the whole context works; but the movie seems like it is going to be horrible till Dolly's first phrase in the "Pissant Country Place" song.

Carol Hall's "Rock Candy Christmas" is a good number, but putting Dolly's "I Will Always Love You" was the smartest thing done musically here; in no way is the subsequent Whitney Houston version comparable in either sincerity or just naturalness of lovely sound--she uses little ornaments, too, but changes them as if to be original; all you really notice is that she didn't use the ones Dolly had already made perfect, as if they were as firm and fixed as the melody line itself. It was a considerably smarter thing than using "My Man" in 'Funny Girl', when "The Music that Makes Me Dance" would have made the show keep its original musical integrity; and leaving out the Ziegfeld Follies type numbers "Cornet Man" and "Rat-tat-tat" depleted this film, leaving it only great in moments ('Don't Rain on My Parade' is really the only great one.)

Burt Reynolds is a charmer as the sheriff and his and Dolly's affection for each other is sweet and moving. All of their scenes together work because they fully enjoy them, enjoy each other.

Certain big production numbers--the Aggies football players dancing in the locker room, then when they get to the Chicken Ranch, for example--seem to be low imitations of old Agnes de Mille choreography in 'Oklahoma', full of old-fashioned "cowboy high spirits" (one cannot keep from enjoying how non-cowboy most of the dancers must surely be) that have nothing new in them and merely seem mechanical.

It's a better Dolly Parton movie--though certainly not great--as a whole than 'Nine to Five', but nothing has ever quite surpassed the poetic genius of that picture's title song, in which Dolly has captured so basic a part of most people's daily life that you can hardly believe that the song is actually there to question its very validity, which it does with no qualms at all.

"Workin' nine to five, what a way to make a livin'... and later: "You would think that I would deserve a fat promotion... They just use your mind, and they never give you credit, It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it."

The real artist that she is peers through all the fluff from time to time, perhaps getting it through the fluff is the way it is proved.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 July 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,874,268, 25 July 1982

Gross USA:

$69,701,637

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$69,701,637
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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