Exercising his usual creative prerogative, Lowell Sherman was both star and director of RKO's The Pay Off. Sherman plays Gene Fenmore, a jaded gangster boss who falls in love with innocent young Nancy Porter (Marian Nixon). When Nancy's sweetheart Tommy Brown (William Janney) faces execution for a crime he didn't commit, Gene's first impulse is to let the boy fry so that he can have a clear field with the heroine. Ultimately, however, Gene proves he's a decent sort by clearing Tommy and philosophically keeping that date with the electric chair himself.
by Hal Erickson synopsis