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Hester Bevins is trapped - by her small town, by her slovenly aunt’s run down boarding house, by the attentions of her piggish ‘uncle’. She finally flees in the company of a traveling salesmen. All she leaves behind is her heart, held by earnest clerk Gerald. Hester soon trades up the boyfriend chain in the big city until she lands the big one: war profiteer Wheeler (Montagu Love). But Hester’s debt to Gerald is beyond measure. Famed ‘Orchid Girl’ Corinne Griffith was one of the silent era’s greatest stars, retiring soon after the advent of the Talkies. Back Pay is one of her few surviving films and the only Talkie. Although the film may be burdened by the constraints of the simplistic Fannie Hurst plot, Griffith and co-star Montagu Love are a revelation. Nuanced, surprisingly modern, non-judgmental, and replete with human sympathy the two actors take the film into waters later thoroughly navigated by the likes of Renoir and Ozu.

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WAA75688 Back Pay DVD (1930/Corinne Griffith) $17.99