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Payday (Zaentz)

4.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Payday (DVD)

His life is on the road, and his career is on the skids -- but maybe a country singer's next song can take him out of the honkytonks and back onto the Country Music charts. Rip Torn ("Defending Your Life," the "Men in Black" movies) gives one of his most powerful and memorable performances in this unblinking chronicle of a not-so-nice country singer's life off-stage.

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He'll be nigh on unrecognizable to fans of The Larry Sanders Show and Men in Black (not to mention his dozens of other roles), but the actor who gives a, well, rip-roaring performance in Payday is the very same Rip Torn. Directed by Daryl Duke, this 1973 film was one of Torn's few outings as a leading man, and he has a field day as Maury Dann, a mid-level country singer traveling the Deep South honky tonk circuit. We only spend about a day and a half in this unsavory character's company, but that's plenty. Indeed, in those 36 action-packed hours, Dann plays a gig (Torn does his own singing--he's no George Jones, but that's entirely appropriate for the part), goes quail-hunting, drops in to a radio station for an interview, visits his estranged wife and drug-addled mother, pops handfuls of pills and smokes plenty of reefer, and beds no less than three women, one of them in the backseat of his Cadillac while another sleeps right beside them. He is basically a hard living lout, a guy whose sense of entitlement far exceeds his actual stature, and it comes as little surprise when his lies, cynicism, and general abuse of everyone in his orbit catch up to him in the end. Payday effectively immerses the viewer in a world of card-playing good ol' boys, easy women, and cheap motel rooms with cheesy wood paneling. But it's more a series of vignettes than a real story, and while there are some amusing characterizations by the other actors (Cliff Emmich shines as Maury's faithful driver, while Elayne Heilveil is effective as a clueless female conquest), this is Torn's show from beginning to end. For many, that will be enough. The principal bonus feature is a commentary track with director Duke and Saul Zaentz, whose company produced the film. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Rip Torn, Ahna Capri, Elayne Heilveil, Michael C. Gwynne, Jeff Morris
  • Directors: Daryl Duke
  • Writers: Don Carpenter
  • Producers: Don Carpenter, Saul Zaentz, Martin Fink
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000WBZ5X4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,210 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Payday (Zaentz)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 3, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This film is so great, but it's certainly not for all tastes. I saw it for the first time a few months ago(in a rare screening) and have recently acquired the video and watched it again. Rip Torn is so good as country-western singer Maury Dann. This character is just evil, but evil in the kind of way that one can be fascinated by him. It's a great story in which you spend about a day and half with Maury, his band and his manager. There's lots of enjoyable behind-the-scenes type stuff(some of it is quite disturbing). If your a fan of films that might offend your sensibilities a little and you don't mind characters that aren't necessarily folks you'd want to join up with, you will enjoy this film. I sincerely hope it finds lots of new fans on video-it has all the makings of a cult classic.
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Format: VHS Tape
Incredibly good portrait of a mid-level country music star on a tour of the south. I mean if you're a musician and you've ever been on tour buy this. If nothing else the movie will crack you up. Maury Dann as played by Rip Torn is an irascible, dirty ... The beginning scene with the old time musicians (violinists, banjo players, guitars, etc.) in the hotel room is great in and of itself -- what follows only confirms this great scene. If you're a musician, if you like music, if you like movies, or you're a sociologist fascinated by the country music scene, you should check this movie out.
It's strange because i'm not a expert or nothing but, i think, in 100 years this movie will still be around. It is an expert, unflinching gaze at the degrading aspects of "celebrity."
Regarding the other reviewer's comment, I don't feel that Dann is evil -- the movie is much too realistic to fall into an easy moralistic framework. It almost runs like a documentary. You're here: buy it.
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Format: VHS Tape
This movie never received the praise it merited. Rip Torn is fantastic as a sleezy second-rate C&W singer scrambling toward Nashville and not caring who he uses -- the scene in the car, you'll have to trust me, is exemplary of such lowlife individuals.
And what ever happened to Elayne Heilveil? She was as superlative in this flick as character Maury Dann was despicable.
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Format: DVD
Payday (1972) is one of five films being released as part of Warner Home Video's "Directors' Showcase: Take Three" collection. However, these films are being sold individually, not as part of some boxed set. For those of you who are familiar with Rip Torn as irrascible and authoritarian yet lovable characters such as Artie in "The Larry Sanders Show" and Zed in "Men in Black" be prepared for a shock. In this film there is nothing likeable about Torn's character Maury Dann, a country singer currently on tour through the south. There is no wisdom behind his cynicism - he is all about using people. Specifically he is all about indulging in all the sex and substance abuse he can without regard to what it does to others. His life takes a turn to an even darker place when the boyfriend of one of his one-night stands catches up with him in a restaurant one day. This is one of those character study films that were very popular in the 1970's, and Torn does a great job playing a totally ruthless individual who has a totally different on-stage persona from his actual personality. He even does a fine job singing the country and western songs. Payday was directed by 1974 National Society of Film Critics Award winner Daryl Duke.

DVD Special Features:
Commentary by Director Daryl Duke & Producer Saul Zaentz
Widescreen "Matted" format
Subtitles: English and French
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Payday is the real Nashville, all the grit and grime of those who make a living on the fringes of stardom. There is no glamor and glitter that was in the movie Nashville. Rip Torn plays his part to perfection, a crazed, addicted country singer. Having spent many years in the Nashville music business, I can attest to the fact that there are many real life Torns who lived out a real life Payday. As the Buddha once was once to have said,"Things are not as they appear to be, nor are they otherwise."
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I had given up on ever seeing this on disc. It is one of the all-time great cult films - a nearly perfect depiction of a true psychopath. Torn pretty well conveys the psychopathic worldview in one line, "we only pass this way once, darlin', might as well pass in a Cadillac". It is a marvelous portrayal of a chronic, debauched user on the way downhill. Rip Torn is a great actor, and I think this is his masterpiece.
Widescreen films, BTW, don't need to be "matted" because they are already widescreen, so I would guess that this is another blind application of a matte to a FS film to pass it off as widescreen. I hope they don't do as bad a job as they did with Cable Hogue.
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As Leonard Maltin wrote, this is the sort of movie that exposes the blandness of movies being made now. The story may or may not engage some viewers' interests, but the acting is absolutely convincing. Rip Torn was a great actor.
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This is a great movie that I first saw in college. The movie is about a manipulative, self-centered, alcoholic, pill-popping down-and-out country singer on a downward spiral. The movie, from 1973, has been shown at Telluride and I am trying to get it accepted into the Criterion Collection.
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