Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tonight's Movie: Employees' Entrance (1933)

EMPLOYEES' ENTRANCE is notable as a pre-Code Depression era curiosity, although I didn't find it especially enjoyable.

Kurt Anderson (Warren William) runs a giant department store as a cruel, amoral dictator. Anderson has good business sense but no shred of humanity or decency. He thinks nothing of forcing a young woman (Loretta Young) to spend the night with him in order to obtain the job she badly needs. And that's just for openers. Before the movie is over, Anderson's actions have people jumping out of windows and downing bottles of poison. As the end credits roll, Anderson's as firmly in command as ever. No punishment for bad deeds needed in a pre-Code movie!

Although the film is somewhat interesting, particularly because the plotline is so unusual, William's unsympathetic character has most of the screen time, and after a while watching his Machiavellian machinations and hearing him drone on about how superior he is to other mortals grows tiresome.

Loretta Young and Wallace Ford play a nice young couple who work for the department store. Young is lovely, but the role as helpless victim doesn't give her much to do.

Ruth Donnelly and Alice White head the supporting cast. The minister is played by Neal Dodd, an Anglican priest who over a couple of decades played ministers in many films, including IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT and MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON. You can read more about Dodd here (scroll down to the entry on Dodd).

EMPLOYEES' ENTRANCE was directed by Roy Del Ruth. It runs 75 minutes.

This movie is available on video, as well as on Turner Classic Movies.

The trailer can be seen here.

April 2013 Update: EMPLOYEES' ENTRANCE is now available on DVD-R in the Warner Archive's Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 7.

April 2014 Update: I had the wonderful opportunity to see this movie at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival. Like an old-style melodrama, this film plays really well with a packed house gasping at Warren William's every dastardly move!


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