Payday (1973)

R | 102-103 mins | Drama | February 1973

Director:

Daryl Duke

Writer:

Don Carpenter

Producer:

Martin Fink

Cinematographer:

Richard C. Glouner

Editor:

Richard Halsey

Production Company:

PFC Productions
Full page view
HISTORY

Don Carpenter’s onscreen credit reads, “Written and co-produced by.” Early news items in 14 May 1971 DV and 13 Oct 1971 Var refer to the production company formed by Fantasy Records as Pay Day Productions. The name was later changed to PFC Productions, as it appears onscreen, but copyright records list the company as Pumice FInance Company N.V.
       As reported in the 16 Mar 1973 LAT review, executive producer Ralph J. Gleason (1917—1975) was the influential jazz-rock critic for the SF Chron , and this was his first feature film project. A 19 Jun 1974 DV article revealed that Gleason and his associates marketed the package of story and screenplay, including Rip Torn as the star. According to New Yorker critic Pauline Kael’s 24 Feb 1973 review, Universal, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century-Fox and Columbia all turned down distribution rights to the film, which was finally released by Cinerama Releasing Corp.
       A 12 Aug 1973 Box article stated that the character “Maury Dann” was a composite of several people, and that Don Carpenter (1931—1995) wrote the part for Torn. Many reviews noted a similarity between Dann and the lead character “Larry Rhodes” in the 1957 film A Face in the Crowd (see above), and several remarked on the fact that Torn did his own singing in the film. According to Kael's New Yorker review the film was shot on location in Alabama, where many locals as well as professional actors were cast.
       The film received overwhelmingly favorable reviews from critics including Kael, and was included in the ... More Less

Don Carpenter’s onscreen credit reads, “Written and co-produced by.” Early news items in 14 May 1971 DV and 13 Oct 1971 Var refer to the production company formed by Fantasy Records as Pay Day Productions. The name was later changed to PFC Productions, as it appears onscreen, but copyright records list the company as Pumice FInance Company N.V.
       As reported in the 16 Mar 1973 LAT review, executive producer Ralph J. Gleason (1917—1975) was the influential jazz-rock critic for the SF Chron , and this was his first feature film project. A 19 Jun 1974 DV article revealed that Gleason and his associates marketed the package of story and screenplay, including Rip Torn as the star. According to New Yorker critic Pauline Kael’s 24 Feb 1973 review, Universal, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century-Fox and Columbia all turned down distribution rights to the film, which was finally released by Cinerama Releasing Corp.
       A 12 Aug 1973 Box article stated that the character “Maury Dann” was a composite of several people, and that Don Carpenter (1931—1995) wrote the part for Torn. Many reviews noted a similarity between Dann and the lead character “Larry Rhodes” in the 1957 film A Face in the Crowd (see above), and several remarked on the fact that Torn did his own singing in the film. According to Kael's New Yorker review the film was shot on location in Alabama, where many locals as well as professional actors were cast.
       The film received overwhelmingly favorable reviews from critics including Kael, and was included in the “10 Best of the Year” film lists of the Boston Globe and LAT . Torn’s performance was praised as a standout, and the picture was selected as one of the American entries to the 1973 Cannes Film Festival. Several sources at the time noted that the project marked auspicious feature film debuts for director Daryl Duke and novelist Carpenter. Duke received the National Society of Film Critics Award and Carpenter was nominated for a WGA Award for Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen.
       In spite of its critical successes, the film was a box-office disappointment. A 19 Jun 1974 DV article reported that although it was budgeted for $806,000 and cost only $767,000 to produce, it had earned less than $100,000, and Gleason blamed the distributor, Cinerama Releasing, for failing to publicize it to the correct target audience. On 26 Mar 1976, LAT listed the film’s profit as only $60,000.
       A 2 Jan 1980 HR news item announced the picture’s inclusion in a UCLA extension course showcasing movies “that never found proper audience” and it continues to be screened in programs and festivals. A Jun 2000 program for an American Cinematheque screening called Torn’s portrayal “one of the wildest performances of the new Hollywood” and 2004 Telluride Film Festival program read, “In a proper world it would have been called ‘the big hit movie Payday .’” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Jan 1973
p. 4559.
Box Office
12 Aug 1973.
---
Daily Variety
14 May 1971.
---
Daily Variety
12 Jan 1973.
---
Daily Variety
19 Jun 1974
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 1973
p. 4, 35.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 1980.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
17 Mar 1973.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Mar 1973
Part IV, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
26 Mar 1976
Part IV, p. 1, 16.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Jan 1973.
---
New Republic
17 Mar 1973.
---
New York Daily News
23 Feb 1973.
---
New York Times
23 Feb 1973
p. 22.
New York Times
26 Feb 1973
p. 25.
New York Times
11 Mar 1973.
---
New Yorker
24 Feb 1973
pp. 119-120.
San Francisco Chronicle
23 Mar 1973.
---
SF Examiner
23 Mar 1973.
---
Time
12 Mar 1973.
---
Variety
13 Oct 1971.
---
Variety
17 Jan 1973
p. 20.
WSJ
2 Mar 1973.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A PFC Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Co-prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Key grip
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATOR
Prop master
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt eff and titles
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Scr supv
Loc facilities
Asst to the prods
Asst to the prods
SOURCES
SONGS
"She's Only a Country Girl," "Slowly Fadin' Circle," "Lovin' You More" and "Baby, Here's a Dime," words and music by Shel Silverstein
"Payday," words and music by Ian and Sylvia Tyson
"Road to Nashville,” words and music by Bobby Smith and Tommy McKinney
+
SONGS
"She's Only a Country Girl," "Slowly Fadin' Circle," "Lovin' You More" and "Baby, Here's a Dime," words and music by Shel Silverstein
"Payday," words and music by Ian and Sylvia Tyson
"Road to Nashville,” words and music by Bobby Smith and Tommy McKinney
"Flatland," words and music by Tommy McKinney.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
February 1973
Premiere Information:
New York City opening: 22 February 1973
Los Angeles opening: 16 March 1973
Production Date:
began September 1971 in Alabama
Copyright Claimant:
Pumice Finance Company, N.V.
Copyright Date:
16 February 1973
Copyright Number:
LP42587
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
CFI
Duration(in mins):
102-103
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Amoral country singer Maury Dann and his band perform at an Alabama road house and afterward, Maury charms his fans and flirts with women backstage. Noticing a wide-eyed blonde named Sandy Butterfield, Maury shows her his Cadillac limousine and seduces her in the back seat while her date, Mr. Bridgeway, looks for her. At the end of the night, Maury’s driver Chicago takes him and his girl friend, Mayleen Travis, back to their motel room, where musicians drink and play poker, as local girl Rosamond McClintock looks on self-consciously. Maury’s manager, Clarence McGinty, discusses the band’s upcoming schedule with Maury, trying to persuade the singer that after three months on the road, he needs some time off, but the ambitious Maury refuses. The men laugh when guitar player Bob Tally leaves with Rosamond, taking her to his room where he forces himself on her as she tries to fight him off. When the last guests have left, Maury wakes up Mayleen and they have sex, but when she wants to continue lovemaking in the morning, Maury coldly leaves her, waking Bob to go hunting. Stopping at his mother’s backwoods house, Maury chastises her for not taking care of herself and their dog Snapper, in spite of his financial support. After his mother hints at her lack of energy, Maury brings her a handful of pills, which she eagerly accepts after which the men take the dog and go quail hunting. When they return, Bob offers to take Snapper to his brother’s house where he will get better care, which insults Maury, and the men fight until Chicago breaks them apart. ... +


Amoral country singer Maury Dann and his band perform at an Alabama road house and afterward, Maury charms his fans and flirts with women backstage. Noticing a wide-eyed blonde named Sandy Butterfield, Maury shows her his Cadillac limousine and seduces her in the back seat while her date, Mr. Bridgeway, looks for her. At the end of the night, Maury’s driver Chicago takes him and his girl friend, Mayleen Travis, back to their motel room, where musicians drink and play poker, as local girl Rosamond McClintock looks on self-consciously. Maury’s manager, Clarence McGinty, discusses the band’s upcoming schedule with Maury, trying to persuade the singer that after three months on the road, he needs some time off, but the ambitious Maury refuses. The men laugh when guitar player Bob Tally leaves with Rosamond, taking her to his room where he forces himself on her as she tries to fight him off. When the last guests have left, Maury wakes up Mayleen and they have sex, but when she wants to continue lovemaking in the morning, Maury coldly leaves her, waking Bob to go hunting. Stopping at his mother’s backwoods house, Maury chastises her for not taking care of herself and their dog Snapper, in spite of his financial support. After his mother hints at her lack of energy, Maury brings her a handful of pills, which she eagerly accepts after which the men take the dog and go quail hunting. When they return, Bob offers to take Snapper to his brother’s house where he will get better care, which insults Maury, and the men fight until Chicago breaks them apart. Immediately afterward, Maury fires Bob, but gives him the dog. Back at the motel, Maury wakes Rosamond, who is in Bob’s room, and invites her to come with the band on their way to Nashville. Maury sits between Rosamond and the jealous Mayleen in the back of the limousine as they speed down a country road at 95 miles-per-hour, until they are stopped by a highway patrolman. Maury pretends to be contrite and the officer, who is a fan, gives him a ticket for a lesser charge that Maury hands to McGinty, who is traveling in another car. Once again between the two women in the backseat, Maury shares marijuana with them and after feigning interest in Rosamond, has sex with her while Mayleen is asleep. Having awakened and witnessed the act, Mayleen confronts Rosamond in a gas station bathroom, informing her that Maury is her man, but Rosamond counters that they should let Maury decide between them, implying that he is tired of Mayleen. At McGinty’s insistence, Maury gives small-town disc jockey Bob Dickey an on-air interview, solicitously inquiring about Bob’s family and giving him a gift of quail and whiskey. After the interview, Bob tries to pressure Maury into making a personal appearance at the local high school and Maury mitigates his refusal by insincerely thanking Bob for contributing to his success. In a foul mood after the visit, Maury gets into a fight with Mayleen and throws her out of the car, leaving her at the side of the road with her luggage. After driving away, Maury comes back, tosses a roll of money at her feet and drives away again, only to return and reclaim it, saying she did not earn it. Maury takes a pill and makes a side trip to his ex-wife Galen’s home with birthday presents for one of his sons. When Galen informs the neglectful Maury that none of their boys has a birthday at this time, they fight and Maury slaps her. That night, when Maury and his crew go into a restaurant for dinner, young Ted Blankenship forfeits his job in the kitchen to run home and get his guitar so he can sing for his hero, Maury. Back at the restaurant, a drunken Mr. Bridgeway confronts Maury and announces to the crowd that the singer raped his girl friend Sandy on the previous night. Chicago offers to deal with Bridgeway, but Maury politely takes the man outside to talk with Chicago, McGinty, Ted and the restaurant manager following them. The argument escalates and when Bridgeway pulls a knife on Maury, Maury uses it to kill him. Maury’s only reaction to the man’s death is to tell McGinty to “fix it” and get him out of town, but McGinty responds that this situation cannot be resolved. Maury asks Chicago to take the blame for the killing and when Chicago readily accepts, he hands him the bloody knife. McGinty pays the manager to testify that the incident was Bridgeway’s fault and that Maury was not even a witness. After the police take Chicago to jail, Ted agrees to lie for Maury, who rewards him by listening to his songs and offering him a job as driver until Chicago returns. Back on the road, Maury is insensitive when Rosamond cries over Bridgeway and later, after having sex with her, he continues to treat her coldly. Late that night, after drinking whiskey and writing a tender love song, Maury wakes Ted, gives him a pep pill and insists he drive him to his ex-wife’s house. When Maury discovers Galen with another man, he throws a rock through the window. The next morning, Maury arrives at his Birmingham motel room to find a group of men, including the booker for his next show and the Assistant District Attorney from Grisom County, who informs Maury that he may have to return to the previous town to make a deposition in the Bridgeway killing. Rosamond tells Ted that she wants to go home, but has no money and is afraid to ask Maury for any. The prospect of Maury leaving town upsets the booker and when the men begin to argue, Maury demands that McGinty remove them all. When McGinty replies that he cannot, Maury bellows a threat of physical violence and leaves with Ted. With Maury driving, they race out of the parking lot, speeding over the country roads, talking and singing. Suddenly, Maury’s eyes widen, he falls forward and the car goes out of control. After tearing aimlessly through fields, the car finally stops and Ted, shaken and hurt, opens the driver’s door to see Maury fall to the ground, dead. Ted backs away from Maury and the smoking car and runs up the road. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.