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 ...
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
A reviewer has said "Back Pay is Griffith's only surviving talkie so it's impossible to tell if she was playing a part or if her voice was really her voice." I would like to answer that. In the late '70s I was at a film event that had King Vidor as a guest of honor (at least I think it was him, to the best of my memory). Mr. Vidor (or whoever it was) said that Corrine Griffith wasn't successful in talking films, "because she had a southern accent, and so it was good-bye Corrine!" That part I remember distinctly. This would indicate to me, that the voice in the film is really hers, and that is how she actually talked. As to the opening scene, I get the impression they have her singing "They Didn't Believe Me" in order to establish the period in which the story was supposed to be. That song was a huge hit during the teens and 1930 audiences certainly would have understood the time frame by that--since the clothes don't give anyone a clue. Finally I would like to say that no matter how good or bad the film is--any time we have a talking film of a silent star, it is priceless in the sense that we can know what they sound like. I think of how Mabel Normand and Fatty Arbuckle made so many pictures together. Fatty made several shorts in the 1930s just before he died, so we can know what he sounded like. Mabel never did make any talkies, and so we don't know how she sounded. Now someone might say, "Well who cares how they sounded?" Well, I like to know what people sound like, don't you? I think that's just natural curiosity and it's nice when it can be satisfied.
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