70. Pay Day (1922)

First National 1918-23

Film still for Pay Day


Charlie arrives for work at the building site and tries to ingratiate himself with the foreman, as he is very late. He sets to work digging so ineptly that the foreman reminds him he is being paid by the hour not the ounce. The foreman's daughter, Edna, arrives to bring her father lunch. Charlie is distracted by her, as they go up in the site lift together. He is still mooning about her as he collects and stacks bricks thrown up to him by his work mates. He treads on a nail and sits down suddenly on a barrel on the lift that had not been there before. Having no lunch Charlie looks around for something to eat. The lift ascends bearing a red-hot poker, Charlie sits on it by mistake then hands it quickly to the foreman who hands it on only for someone else to sit on it. The next time the lift ascends it is bearing a workman's lunch. Charlie takes advantage of this good fortune and makes a hot dog sandwich by drilling a hole in the bread and hammering in the sausage His good fortune continues when the lift brings him the foreman's banana. The afternoon wears on with more catching and stacking of bricks until pay time. Charlie thinks his pay packet is too small but is sent on his way. When his wife arrives, Charlie goes back to check his pay. The foreman recalculates Charlie's money and gives him back a dollar less than he started with.

On the street Charlie divides the money between his pocket and his hat, unaware that his wife is watching him. He hands her some money and while she takes money out of the hat he retrieves the initial sum from her bag. She beckons him to follow and he does an about face and goes off the other way. Later, very drunk he leaves a bar. On his way home he leans his full weight on his cane, which is balanced on a sewer grating. His drunken companions are showered with water and missiles as they carouse and make their way along the rainy streets. Charlie becomes buttoned into someone else's overcoat and lends his fellow drunk his cane, which the man holds aloft as if it were an umbrella. His attempts to get on a streetcar are frustrated. He loses both overcoats, retrieves his cane and makes it into the streetcar only to get pushed through and out of the front. In the next streetcar he manages to get a precarious hold but must let go with one hand to get his fare and tumbles off. He mistakes a lunch wagon for a streetcar and hangs on to salami as if it were a hanging strap. Chased away, Charlie finally makes it home at 5 in the morning. He puts his left over money under the mat and puts the cat out only to find the kitchen thronging with stray cats. They steal the salami. Wrestling with hiccups he creeps into the bedroom where his wife is asleep clutching a rolling pin. Charlie oils his boots and is about to take off his coat when the alarm rings to wake his wife and he does a double take, shrugs himself back into his coat, making as if he is up already and off to work. He goes into the bathroom intending to sleep in the tub but it is full of water. He turns on the hot tap to get more comfortable but his wife enters and he pretends to be bathing. On his way out of the house, Charlie retrieves the left over money from under the mat but is spotted by his wife who shouts at him as he leaves for another day's labour.


Charles Chaplin (Labourer)
Phyllis Alien (His Wife)
Mack Swain (Foreman)
Edna Purviance (Foreman's Daughter)
Sydney Chaplin (Charlie's Mate and Lunch Wagon Proprietor)
Albert Austin (Workman)
John Rand (Workman)
Loyal Underwood (Workman)
Henry Bergman (Drinking Companion)
Allan Garcia (Drinking Companion)
Pete Griffin, Joe Griffin, Harry Tenbrook, Ethel Childers, Edith Blythe, Virginia Bodle, Helen Kapp, La Belle Raymond, Sylvia Menier (Extras)
Production started:
6 August 192. Production interrupted by Chaplin's European tour, September-October 1921
Production finished:
23 February 1922
2 April 1922.
1950 ft
Musical score by Chaplin, arranged by Eric James, recorded in November 1972 at Anvil Studios, Denham, England Included song, "The Gentle Maiden").