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Payday (1972)


Director:Daryl Duke
Cast:Rip Torn
Genre:Film, Drama

By Jack Purdy | Posted

If you only know Rip Torn for his profanely avuncular turn as Artie, the producer on The Larry Sanders Show, Payday will be a revelation. Directed by Daryl Duke (who, oddly enough, also shot the weepy romantic mini-series The Thorn Birds), Payday features Torn in a full-out rampage as Maury Dann, a country singer whose voracious appetite for pills, booze, and women is imperiling his rise to stardom. Essentially it's a road movie, as Dann goes from gig to gig and bed to bed, deceiving everyone he can and barely dodging a whole passel of trouble centering around a knife, a parking lot, and a woman's husband. It's a portrait of ferocious degradation, but one created by people who actually knew the world of working music--the executive producer was the late Ralph Gleason, revered pop and jazz critic and one of the founding fathers of Rolling Stone magazine, and Torn palled around with '60s rock luminaries like Janis Joplin and Kris Kristoffersen. And the star, a native of Temple, Texas, has the whole country ethos in his bones--watching Maury Dann dicker over selling a hound dog is worth the video-rental cost alone. The marketing line for Payday was "36 hours in the life of a madman," and Rip Torn makes every one of those hours brutally engrossing. (Jack Purdy)

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