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Directed by Roy Del Ruth

United States 1933 75 mins. In English

Warner Brothers during the late silent era and the 1930s was a true industrial machine, churning out product at a rate eclipsing the other major studios. Famous for their gritty gangster pictures and less-than-lavish musicals, Warner Brothers also produced wild ripped-from-the-headlines films, a fine example of which is the freewheeling Employees’ Entrance. The pre-code maverick Warren William is unreservedly blistering in his portrayal of Kurt Anderson, a department store general manager who’s seen sales slipping since the start of the Great Depression. In search of ideas to right the ship, he takes to a young go-getter (Wallace Ford) who can’t decide between the 24/7 life of high-stakes retail and his love for a co-worker (Loretta Young), who longs to settle down. Meanwhile, a constellation of workers in the high-rise shrine to capitalism works through personal dramas, while the effects of the Depression show themselves through the dilapidated pocketbooks of their customers.

35mm print preserved by the Library of Congress.