Nashville Girl (1976)

Monica Gale is Jamie, a 16 years old girl who travels to Nashville to try her luck in the country music business. Sadly, Jamie is really beautiful, and every man in the city is trying to get laid with her. She is confused, and sometimes she agrees. She goes to prison for a while (in a sexploitation way). Later, she knows a country music star who supports her, but he falls in love of her, and everything spoils. In one scene, this guy rapes her, meanwhile Jamie sister is listening the attack by phone. Musical, sort of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” kind of movie, but with several nudes of thin, delicate, absolutely irresistible Gale.

You know you’re in for a four-star 70’s drive-in sleazy treat when barely two minutes into the picture the luscious and adorable Monica Gayle, a lovely sprite actress who appeared in trashy films for such B-movie luminaries as Jack Hill, Harry Novak, Gary Graver and Larry Buchanan, peels her clothes off to go skinny-dipping while the opening credits are still rolling. Of course, some vile, scummy degenerate hillbilly dude comes along and savagely rapes poor Monica, thus giving her a credible excuse to run away from home with acoustic guitar in tow and go to Nashville to make it as an honest-to-goodness country music star. The ever perky and appealing Gayle, as naive, but feisty and determined Loretta Lynn-like 16-year-old Kentucky hick chick Jamie Barker, receives a ride into town from gruff trucker Leo Gordon and promptly learns that the only way to really make it in Nashville is by making love with the right powerful music biz people. Pretty soon Jamie is gladly hopping in the sack with every lecherous older man who’s got the hots for her. Alas, Jamie runs low on cash and is forced to work at a seedy massage parlor as a receptionist. And, wouldn’t you know it, Jamie gets arrested and has to do hard time at a prison work farm where one of the predatory lesbian guards sexually assaults her in the shower! Fortunately, Jamie gets paroled and befriends nice guy session musician Kelly (amiably played by “Flash and the Firecat” ‘s Roger Davis), who introduces her to country music superstar Jeb Hubbard (burly Glen Corbett), an overbearing jerk of a control freak with a fatal weakness for young girls. Hubbard makes Jamie his protégé, renames her Melody Mason, and turns her into the major league star she always dreamed of being. But this overnight fame and fortune comes at a terrible price, with Jamie becoming increasingly lonely, cynical, arrogant and disillusioned as her innocence gets irrevocably shattered.

Boy, talk about a wildly colorful and eventful never-a-dull-minute busy narrative! Better still, along with the abundant Gayle nudity, Gus Trikonis’ brisk, get-right-to-the-point efficient direction, several astounding scenes featuring Gayle singing both in the recording studio and on stage with a (dubbed?) strong, brassy contralto voice, a standard rags-to-riches story that becomes more delightfully lurid and melodramatic as the movie progresses forward (in fact, this entire picture plays like a tightly streamlined $1.98 discount version of “Coal Miner’s Daughter”), a cameo appearance by mid-level country-and-western singer Johnny Rodriguez as himself, and a funny performance by late, great character actor Jesse White as a greedy dirtbag music publisher, this fabulous grindhouse gem even comes complete with a sincere cautionary morale: Country music superstardom ain’t exactly what it’s cracked up to be. Now, that’s precisely what prime 70’s exploitation cinema is all about: sex, bare skin, scuzzy plot twists and, most importantly, a redeeming pertinent social message, too!

Date: April 7, 2020