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Back Pay (1930)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  1 June 1930 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 91 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 1 critic

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 »




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Title: Back Pay (1930)

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Complete credited cast:
Hester Bevins
Grant Withers ...
Montagu Love ...
Charles Wheeler
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 <>

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?


Vitaphone production reels #3923-3929. 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 »


America, My Country Tis of Thee
(1832) (uncredited)
Music by Lowell Mason, based on the Music by Henry Carey from "God Save the King" (1744)
Lyrics by Samuel Francis Smith (1832)
Played by a band with the marching soldiers
See more »

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User Reviews

Ashame that Corinne Griffith was not more adroit at the Talkies...
22 September 2003 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Having recently inherited an uncle's large selection of silent films, I fell in love with silent diva Corinne Griffith. I managed to see four of her silent films (The Divine Lady, Black Oxen, The Garden of Eden, and Classified) and was totally astounded by her. We are very fortunate that talkies did not come in earlier, for we would have never gotten a glimpse at some great artistry. Many people claim that a great many silent stars were not good enough actors to survive in talkies. This is a shaky claim. Sound cinema and silent cinema are two totally different mediums. Acting techniques popular in the talkies would have not been effective in silent films. Hypothetically assuming that we had gone the other direction, from talking films to silent ones, it is quite legitimate to think that many talking stars would not survive in silent cinema: this is not, however, enough to claim they were not good enough at acting itself. Its just that they were not good at a particular type of acting. Case in point: Back Pay, a perfectly horrid vehicle for Corinne Griffith. It is stiff and stagey, poorly acted by all involved (especially the male lead), and preposterous. Griffith actually acts quite well in certain scenes, but not for the most part. She plays Hester, a woman who is board with her life and becomes the mistress of a big city magnate. She leaves her true love, Gerald, and when he goes blind in WWI, she realizes she loves him and decides to nurse him in his final days. Although remarkably short, (only about 50 minutes), the film drags on and one feels as if Gone With the Wind had played five times by the time its over. It is invaluable, however, as perhaps the best example of why some stars didn't make the transition to talking films. See it, you'll be happy you did just to get an idea of the times, but don't go out of your way.

Instead, see The Divine Lady, her best film, or The Garden of Eden, which has suddenly become easily available.

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