Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Employees' Entrance

A l933 movie called Employees' Entrance was playing a Film Forum recently, but it was being exhibited for one day only—a day on which a major blizzard was threatening the city. The depression era movie directed by Roy Del Ruth is about a ruthless department store manager, Kurt Anderson (Warren William), whose credo is “smash or be smashed.” Luckily there was a trailer for the movie on the TCM site. THOUSANDS OF LIVES IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND MERCILESSLY HE DRAGS THIS GIRL TO DISGRACE THIS BOY TO RUIN THIS GIRL TO SHAME TAKES YOU THROUGH THE BACK DOOR OF A GIGANTIC DEPARTMENT STORE AND REVEALS THE DRAMA THAT TRANSPIRES BEHIND THE SCENES. The titles roll over crowds of shoppers in a glamorous larger than life setting. Grand Hotel  released the year before is the obvious influence. Madeleine Walters West (Loretta Young) is the girl Anderson seduces. Martin West (Wallace Ford) is the man Madeleine really loves. The trailer seemed longer than some short movies. Not really, but it’s nice to say and in the interlude between the explosive looking graphic jeremiads (that had the urgency of the old Movietone News), bits and pieces of the movie were previewed. Some movies give you a peek a life through a crack in a door. In a trailer like this, you get not a slice of life, but a slice of film. The whole can be greater than the sum of the parts; the sum of the parts can be greater than the whole. But in this case, with the snow falling ever more intensely, the part was greater than the whole. It would have been nice to see the film, but in this case, it was enough to see the trailer, which was filled with a mood and mystery all its own--in the comfort of one’s home.

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