Release dateJune 1, 1930 (1930-06-01) (United States) WriterFannie Hurst (based on the story by), Francis Edward Faragoh (screen version)
Back Pay is a 1930 American Pre-Code drama film with songs, produced and distributed by First National Pictures, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., and starring Corinne Griffith and Grant Withers. It is based on a short story by Fannie Hurst. It is a remake of a 1922 silent film Back Pay that starred Seena Owen.
Hester Bevins is tired of life in the small town where she has lived all her life. Although she has a boyfriend, Gerald Smith, who is in love with her, she deserts him and takes a train to New York with a travelling salesman. Bevins meets a rich older man, Charles Wheeler, who provides her with all the luxuries she wants in return for being his girlfriend. One day, Bevins' friends invite her on a motor trip to Hot Springs, which is about thirty miles from her old home town. She decides to visit her old hometown. She encounters Smith, who, thinking that she is still single and has a job in the city, proposes marriage but she refuses saying that it is now impossible. Disillusioned, he signs up for the war and ends up being gassed, suffering lung damage and blindness. When the news reaches Bevins, she immediately goes to see him and attempts to nurse him back to health. When the doctor tells her that Smith has only a short time left to live Bevins asks Wheeler's permission to marry Smith before he dies. She finds peace and happiness in her brief relationship with Smith. After Smith dies in her arms, Bevins decides to end her sordid relationship with Wheeler and return to working for a living.
Corinne Griffith - Hester Bevins
Grant Withers - Gerald Smith
Montagu Love - Charles G. Wheeler
Hallam Cooley - Al Bloom
Vivien Oakland - Kitty (* billed as Vivian Oakland)
Geneva Mitchell - Babe
William Bailey - Ed
"They Didn't Believe Me" [music and lyrics by Jerome Kern] Sung by Corrine Griffith
Back Pay has been preserved in the Library of Congress. The film has been shown on television and cable. Back Pay was released on DVD by the Warner Archive Collection in Spring 2012.