Alfred Ryder and Dennis O'Keefe in character as gang members

The T in the T-Men stands for Treasury. As if to bolt cinema doors to stop people escaping, this 1947 crime drama opens with an urgent voiceover informing us that T-Men are actually really exciting and not boring at all. Think of them more like secret agents, it insists in footage that’s all cloak and dagger and maximum stakes. The voiceover goes on to tell us that the T-Men serve a crucial role in society and are a vital tool of the US government, protecting all citizens from the depradations of mobsters, smugglers, counterfeiters and the like. To reinforce the point, an earnest, to-screen homily follows, spoken by Elmer Lincoln Irey, real-life chief … Read more

Employees’ Entrance

Madeline and Kurt

Employees’ Entrance is a short, sharp and strange film, from the title on downward. A drama made in 1933 and set in a department store in the teeth of the Great Depression, it takes a look at rapacious capitalism in the form of its central character – Warren William as the time-and-motion guy Kurt Anderson, who somehow gains control of a business that’s been run almost on feudal lines till he came along. Kurt is a price-of-everything-value-of-nothing badass and though his technique isn’t all slash and burn, his management style is brusque, hectoring and unsympathetic and he demands total loyalty from his staff, who he expects to be on call 24/7. On the … Read more