Employee’s Entrace (1933)
"Directed by Roy Del Ruth from a screenplay by Robert Presnell (based on a play by David Boehm), as a dictatorial department-store manager, whose utter ruthlessness in his public as well as his private life elicited both admiration and contempt from his colleagues. Stopping at nothing to get what he wants, be it promotion at double the salary, or another man’s wife, he eventually gets his much-deserved comeuppance and the spectacle was joyful to behold. Equally joyful was William’s vivace performance, with good work too from Loretta Young as the married woman he falls for, and Alice White as a blonde flirt. Also cast were Wallace Ford, Albert Gran, Allen Jenkins, Marjorie Gateson, Hale Hamilton and Ruth Donnelly. Lucien Hubbard supervised.”
- From The Warner Bros. Story by Clive Hirschhorn
It tells you something about how enjoyable a film is when even the dyspeptic Clive “I hate everything” Hirschhorn can’t find it in himself to say a bad word about it. Employee Entrance’s main attraction is Warren William, usually cast as a suave, debonair man of the world full of easy charm and sang-froid, playing against type as Kurt Anderson, a filnty-hearted small-time tyrant (the scale of his tyrannical ambition is underscored by a cutaway to a bust of Napoleon on his shelf). Loretta Young is absolutely adorable, and Alice White is fantastic as Polly Dale, an ambitious and morally flexible blonde whose charms are employed by Anderson to keep his assistant manager off his back.
Employee’s Entrance would have been a fun watch as a by-the-books studio system programme filler, but an excellent, often very funny screenplay and the considerable talents of veteran director Roy Del Ruth (On Moonlight Bay (1951), Du Barry was a Lady (1943), Broadway Rhythm (1944)) gives the project oodles of energy and somehow imbues the squabbling of a department store board of directors with something like the grandeur and moral gravity of an Elizabethan tragedy.
Employee’s Entrance is exclusively available from Warner Archive as part of their Forbidden Hollywood Collection: Volume 7. Also included are pre-code crackers The Hatchet Man (1932, starring Edward G. Robinson as a Chinese (!) assassin) Skyscraper Souls (1932, also featuring Warren William) and Ex-Lady (1933, with Bette Davis).