Follow TV Tropes


Film / Employees' Entrance

Go To

"When a man outlives his usefulness, he ought to jump out a window."

Employees' Entrance is a 1933 film directed by Roy Del Ruth.

Kurt Anderson (Warren William) is general manager of the Monroe Deparment Store, a Macy's Expy in New York City. He is a ruthless, pitiless corporate shark, who drives his employees like pack mules and fires them at a drop of a hat. When he meets one Madeline Walters (Loretta Young), who is broke and on the edge of starvation, he gets her a job as a model at the department store...for the price of some sex.

Meanwhile, Anderson cans Higgins, the over-the-hill manager of the men's department. When Higgins jumps from the ninth floor of the department store to his death, Anderson barely blinks. He replaces Higgins with Martin West, a young go-getter who has a lot of good ideas. Anderson takes Martin under his wing and grooms him to be the next ruthless corporate shark, but what he doesn't know is, Martin and Madeline have gotten married.


  • Ambiguously Gay: Nominally the Love Triangle is formed by Madeline, Anderson who regards Madeline as a sex toy, and Martin who loves Madeline and marries her. But there also seems to be an undercurrent of sexual tension between Anderson and Martin. When Madeline is ranting to Martin about how he is Married to the Job, she says "Sometimes I think you care more for him than you do for me." This is even more overt later, when Anderson tries to get Martin to break up with his wife...and move in to the hotel room next to Anderson's. Anderson says "I asked you to come and live with me, so we can be together...and plan, and work." After Martin wings Anderson with a shot in the arm and walks out, Anderson tells Polly, "Martin fell in love, and the girl turned to me." He's plainly much more upset about losing Martin, and in fact he hates women, as he says explicitly, although he uses them for sex.
  • Anti-Hero: Kurt Anderson isn't just a ruthless slave-driving shark, he's also a sexual predator, and later he graduates to rape. But he does keep the store afloat in the depths of the Great Depression, and he doesn't just save the store, he saves all the jobs, resisting pressure from the bankers to lay off employees. He's also fighting against the lazy aristocrats and bloodsucking bankers on the corporate board, something that would have appealed to Depression-era audiences.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...:
    Customer: Young lady, where's the basement?
    Cashier: On the 12th floor, madam.
  • Blackmail: Anderson's use of Polly as a Honey Pot ends with Polly blackmailing Ross. When Ross tells Anderson this, Anderson quite casually says "Why don't you kill her?" (Ross decides to give in and marry her instead.)
  • Dramatic Sit-Down: Madeline does this when she finds out that the charming fellow who caught her in the model home is actually Kurt Anderson, the man she's desperate to see about a job.
  • Driven to Suicide: Higgins, the old guy managing men's clothing that Anderson fired after he'd worked 30 years for the company, leaps to his death from a ninth floor window. Anderson couldn't care less.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In his first scene Anderson responds to criticism that he is too rough by saying "There's no room for sympathy or softness! My code is smash or be smashed!" He then points out that he's smarter than everyone else on the board and he's increased their annual sales by a factor of ten, so they need to double his salary. They do.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Martin wakes up wrecked after the company party, saying "I'm on fire." When Anderson tells him that party time is over and they have to go back to work, Martin says ok, but he needs some aspirin first.
  • Honey Pot: Ross, store owner Franklin Monroe's cousin, is both useless and deeply suspicious of Anderson. So Anderson gets Polly, another floor model who is much sluttier than Madeline, and has her seduce Ross to distract him.
  • Kick the Dog: The end has Anderson, who thinks he's about to be fired, invite Polly to go gallivanting around Europe with him. Instead Ross shows up at the last second with the proxy votes and saves the day and Anderson's job. Polly arrives with a cute little poodle in her arms, thinking they're about to go away together, only for Anderson to tell her to get lost. She angrily flings the poodle down on Anderson's desk. Anderson picks up the poodle, looks at it with disgust, and throws it in the garbage.
  • Like a Son to Me: Martin, trying to find if there's anything human about Anderson, asks if he's ever had any friends or been in love. Anderson says that when he was a poor kid in Ohio farm country, he fell in love with a woman, but he was too poor to marry her. So he lit out for the big city and made something of himself. He could have stayed in Ohio, stayed poor, gotten married, and had a son like Martin, but he didn't..."and I've got you for a son just the same." (It's the only time in the movie Anderson shows any human feeling.)
  • Long List: The elevator man calls it out. "Second floor, lingerie, pajamas, millinery, women and children's shoes, corsets, brassieres, girdles, abdominal bands, air mattresses, bicycle tires, army cots, canoe paint, shoe stretchers, and Boy Scout outfits."
  • Married to the Job: Madeline accuses Martin of this. It's not just that he's married to the job, he's also growing as ruthless as Anderson.
  • Meet Cute: Their story doesn't play out very cutely, but Anderson first meets Madeline when he catches her sleeping the night in the model home in the department store. (She's flat broke, and she wants to be first in line to get a job the next morning anyway.)
  • Rape Discretion Shot: At the company party, Anderson tells a very drunk Madeline to lie down in his room. She staggers up to his room and passes out on the bed. Naturally, Anderson follows directly, sees her unconscious on his bed...and closes the door. The next scene has a smug Anderson on the elevator telling Martin, "I hope you did as well as I did last night."
  • Running Gag: Throughout the movie Anderson keeps getting calls that the men's restroom on the 4th floor is out of order. The last time he barks at the person on the other end of the phone to turn it into a storeroom.
  • Self-Made Man: An incensed Anderson tells all the useless suits on the corporate boards that while they were all born with silver spoons, he worked himself up from poverty to where he is. His first job at Monroe's was on the loading dock.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Madeline is modeling one of these when she catches Martin's eye.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Madeline is trying to leave Anderson's apartment. He catches her against the door and says "You don't have to go. You really don't." Cut to the next scene.
  • Video Credits: At the start of the film, as was house style for Warner Brothers in the early-mid-1930s.
  • Visual Title Drop: The staff of Monroe's is sometimes shown leaving work by a side door that's marked "EMPLOYEES' ENTRANCE".