Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Christopher Cain|
|Produced by||Jerry Weintraub|
|Written by||Rex McGee|
|Music by||Steve Dorff|
|Edited by||Jack Hofstra|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|October 23, 1992|
Pure Country is a 1992 American dramatic musical western film directed by Christopher Cain and starring George Strait in his acting debut, with Lesley Ann Warren, Isabel Glasser and Kyle Chandler. The film was considered a box office bomb, however, the soundtrack was a critical success and, to date, is Strait's best selling album. The film was followed by two sequels, Pure Country 2: The Gift (2010) and Pure Country: Pure Heart (2017).
Wyatt "Dusty" Chandler (George Strait) is one of the hottest performers in country music. Dusty feels that his elaborate stage show is overwhelming his music, a suspicion confirmed one night when he purposely forgets several bars of a chart-topping hit and his fans don't even notice. Disillusioned, Dusty walks off after the concert without telling his manager, Lulu (Lesley Ann Warren). The only person he tells is his best friend and drummer, Earl (John Doe), and that he is "taking a walk," but does not say exactly where he is going or for how long.
After shaving his beard and cutting off his ponytail, Dusty heads for the small farm town where he grew up, visiting his wise old grandmother (Molly McClure) and ending up at the ranch of the Tucker family, where nobody recognizes him. He stays on at the ranch, paying room and board and taking roping lessons, all the while earning the respect of owner Ernest (Rory Calhoun) and falling in love with Ernest's granddaughter, Harley (Isabel Glasser), a woman determined to save the struggling spread with victory in a Las Vegas rodeo.
When Dusty learns that Lulu has secretly replaced him onstage with her boyfriend, Buddy Jackson (Kyle Chandler), dressed like Dusty and lip-syncing to a recording of Dusty, he returns to the stage. He demands that his stage shows be toned down, without all the smoke and elaborate lighting of which he had grown weary. His first appearance after his "vacation" is in Las Vegas at the same time as the rodeo Harley Tucker is competing in. He writes a special love song just for her and arranges for her and her family to have front-row seats to the concert. True to his wishes, he does the show without all the hoopla and sits on the edge of the stage - playing and singing "I Cross My Heart," which wins him Harley's love.
- George Strait as Wyatt "Dusty" Chandler
- Lesley Ann Warren as Lulu Rogers
- Isabel Glasser as Harley Tucker
- Kyle Chandler as Buddy Jackson
- John Doe as Earl Blackstock
- Rory Calhoun as Ernest Tucker
- Molly McClure as Grandma Ivy Chandler
The bar scenes where Dusty meets Harley were filmed at Western Kountry Klub, located between Midlothian and Mansfield Tx.
Despite Strait's super-star status in the music world, Pure Country only grossed just over $15 million at the box office.
Although the expectations had been higher for Strait's first major film role, this did not stop the soundtrack album from becoming the best-selling of Strait's career to date.
The film also received mainly negative reviews upon its release, but critics responded nicely to certain aspects of the film. It currently has a score of 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 21 reviews, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 10, and a 91% audience approval.
On the television program Siskel and Ebert in 1992, film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert both gave the film a "Two thumbs down" rating, but their reviews were more mixed than negative. Both praised George Strait's performance citing it was very good, and he was a convincing actor in the lead, especially considering the challenges of a singer becoming an actor, and they both enjoyed Isabel Glasser's performance, but felt the film was undermined by a hokey story, and no moments for satire which would have made the film better.
Film critic Leonard Maltin, in the book Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide, also gave the film a mainly negative but somewhat mixed review, giving it two stars out of four and saying: "This Strait showcase is mostly pure tedium, though the film picks up some in hour two with the appearance of Glasser, and Rory Calhoun as her father".
A sequel to Pure Country, Pure Country 2: The Gift was released on October 15, 2010. The sequel has no storyline connection to the original movie written by Rex McGee. Instead, it focuses on a young woman's struggles to become a country singer. George Strait appears as himself, but not as a central character of the film.
- "Hollywood Country: 'Pure Country'". The Boot. 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
- "Pure Country (1992)". Box Office Mojo. 1992-12-22. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
- "George Strait Music Videos , Pictures and Photos including Farewell Tour, All My Ex's Live In Texas, Making the Album - Troubadour Music Videos on Yallwire". Yallwire.com. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
- "Pure Country". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
- CMT News. "George Strait Will Have Limited Role in New Film, A Pure Country Gift". MTV Networks. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
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