Hester is bored with Gerald who loves her - bored with the Finley Department store - and bored with Demopolis. She leaves town with a traveling salesman named Bloom and the clothes on her ... See full summary »




(based on the story by), (screen version)


Complete credited cast:
Montagu Love ...
Hallam Cooley ...
Al Bloom
Vivien Oakland ...
Kitty (as Vivian Oakland)
Geneva Mitchell ...
William Bailey ...


Hester is bored with Gerald who loves her - bored with the Finley Department store - and bored with Demopolis. She leaves town with a traveling salesman named Bloom and the clothes on her back. They go to New York where she moves up to mistress of Mr. Wheeler and is well cared for. When the gang decides to vacation at Lake Placid, Hester is dropped off at Demopolis to see how the old town looks after four years. She sees Gerald and he thinks she is a successful career woman and he still wants to marry her. But it will never happen so Gerald joins the Army to fight in the Great War. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance






Release Date:

1 June 1930 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Apparatus)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although the film originally ran 77 minutes, the running time was reduced to 57 minutes by the time it opened in New York City in May 1930, and the surviving version as shown on Turner Classic Movies now runs only 54 minutes. See more »


Although ostensibly taking place in the 1914-1918 period, all of the women's hairstyles and fashions are from the 1930s, and the featured automobiles are also of a late-1920s vintage. See more »


Remake of Back Pay (1922) See more »


They Didn't Believe Me
(1914) (uncredited)
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Herbert Reynolds
Sung by Corinne Griffith twice
Played in the score often
See more »

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User Reviews

Easy to See Why Griffith's Sound Career Never Took Off
11 December 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Back Pay (1930)

** (out of 4)

Watching this early talkie makes it easy to understand why Corinne Griffith's sound career really didn't take off. This here would turn out to be her next to last film (before making one more nearly three decades later) and with material like this it's no wonder she stepped aside. In the film she plays Hester Bevins, a small town girl who is loved by Gerald (Grant Withers) but she turns down his proposal because he'll never make much money. Hester runs off to New York City where she gets involved with various rich men but when Gerald goes off to war everything changes. BACK PAY is a really, really bad film on many levels but I must admit that it kept me totally entertained because you never really knew where it was going to go. I should say that the film is 100% predictable so in that way it's not hard to see where it's going. What's so strange is that the film just goes off in various directions and some that you won't see coming. Just check out the first minute when the film starts off with Griffith singing a really bad song and this here tells you things are going to get crazy. The story itself is pretty predictable but it's also hard to figure out. It seems like stuff just happens for no reason at all including Gerald going off to the war, which has apparently been going on for a while yet it's never mentioned in the film until his broken heart goes. The ending, which is meant to be powerful, is so poorly done that it actually had me laughing harder than most of the comedies I've seen from this period. Griffith actually isn't too bad in her role but the screenplay simply gives her nothing to do. Withers, on the other hand, isn't suited for the role here and comes off pretty bad at times. BACK PAY is a film that most people are truly going to hate but I think fans of Griffith will want to check it out as well as those who enjoy bad movies. I will say that the 56-minute running time flew by, which I'm very thankful for.

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