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Three women who were childhood schoolmates take different paths in life. Vivian marries a very wealthy lawyer and has an adorable boy. Mary, on the other hand, takes the hard road through reform school. After a superstitious faux pas, Vivian's luck turns. She strays from her steadfast husband to a life of debauchery and alcoholism. Meanwhile, Mary turns her life around and not only wins the heart of Vivian's ex-husband, but also becomes a loving step-mother to Vivian's only child. Then Vivian's worthless boyfriend makes a desperate move. Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
There are no wasted minutes in this film which may as well be 3 and a half hours long for all the detail and implication filled in within the 63 minutes running time of "Three on a Match."
The casting of Betty Carse to portray the young Ruth Westcott, played by Bette Davis was brilliant- The young Carse looks almost identical to pictures I have seen of young Bette Davis. Sadly, this is the only film for Betty Carse. The same goes for Virginia Davis/Joan Blondell and Anne Shirley/Anne Dvorak- Although not cast quite as well as Miss Davis's part. Although the film's action pivots around Anne Dvorak's character, both Miss Davis and Joan Blondell balance things out.
From start to finish, Mervyn LeRoy tells you this tale in a manner to get your complete attention... There is no slack in the pace, no dead air, and each shot tells volumes of exposition. The final minutes of the film have a special "Impact."
One example of LeRoy's minimization is with Anne's character, interacting with a very young Humphrey Bogart: With a couple of gestures by Dvorak and one nose-twitch of Bogart, it is established that Vivian Revere Kirkwood and Michael Loftus by implication (Played by Lyle Talbot) are not just drug addicts, but specifically Cocaine addicts, and this tells a whole unspoken tale.
Other delightful things in this flick are Warren William, who amazingly is playing a clean character and not his usual sleaze. Other faces are Edward Arnold and Allen Jenkins... Even a young Jack Webb.
Although this is a smart part for Davis, it is certainly not her best work, but it is good work. She was definitely Cheesecake in this film especially in the Beach scenes, but that never defined her incredible acting ability which only increased up until her very last picture.
Joan Blondell is her regular smart-mouthed witty self, which gets her in trouble, that she is able to climb out of, actually rising very high above: Joan also got better with age, especially in The Cincinnati Kid as "Lady Fingers"- She had developed a form of elegance she never had when she was younger, this film is a precursor to that, as the character starts at low ladder rung but rises to higher social status.
But Anne Dvorak really sells us Vivian Revere who redeems herself with her last breath. This was probably her finest hour on film, if it is not, it makes me interested in seeing more of her body of work.
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