IMDb > Three on a Match (1932)
Three on a Match
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Three on a Match (1932) More at IMDbPro »

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7.3/10   2,257 votes »
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Down 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Lucien Hubbard (screen play)
Kubec Glasmon (story) ...
View company contact information for Three on a Match on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 October 1932 (USA) See more »
Although Vivian Revere is seemingly the most successful of a trio of reunited schoolmates, she throws it away by descending into a life of debauchery and drugs. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
(25 articles)
Q&A: Actressexual Longings & Carol Gender-Flipped
 (From FilmExperience. 18 February 2016, 5:00 PM, PST)

Warren William—On The Air
 (From Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy. 1 June 2015, 11:56 AM, PDT)

The Stars at Night: Three on a Match
 (From Slackerwood. 11 November 2014, 9:30 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
One of the best Pre Code films See more (41 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Virginia Davis ... Mary Keaton as a Child

Joan Blondell ... Mary Keaton

Anne Shirley ... Vivian Revere as a Child (as Dawn O'Day)

Ann Dvorak ... Vivian Revere
Betty Carse ... Ruth Wescott as a Child

Bette Davis ... Ruth Wescott

Warren William ... Robert Kirkwood

Lyle Talbot ... Michael Loftus

Humphrey Bogart ... Harve

Allen Jenkins ... Dick

Edward Arnold ... Ace
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Hardie Albright ... Phil (uncredited)
Herman Bing ... Prof. Irving Finklestein (uncredited)
Clara Blandick ... Mrs. Keaton (uncredited)
Dick Brandon ... Horace (uncredited)
Ann Brody ... Mrs. Goldberg (uncredited)
Spencer Charters ... Street Cleaner (uncredited)

Frankie Darro ... Bobby (uncredited)

Mary Doran ... Prisoner at Checkers Table (uncredited)

Patricia Ellis ... Linda (uncredited)

Glenda Farrell ... Mrs. Black - Prisoner at Checkers Table (uncredited)
Blanche Friderici ... Miss Blazer (uncredited)
June Gittelson ... Fat Prisoner (uncredited)
Hale Hamilton ... Defense Attorney (uncredited)

Selmer Jackson ... Radio Announcer (voice) (uncredited)
Junior Johnson ... Max (uncredited)

Jack La Rue ... Ace's Henchman (uncredited)
John Marston ... Detective Randall (uncredited)
Sidney Miller ... Willie Goldberg (uncredited)

Grant Mitchell ... Mr. Gilmore (uncredited)

Dickie Moore ... Junior (uncredited)
Frank O'Connor ... Telegraph Operator (uncredited)
Buster Phelps ... Robert Kirkwood Jr. (uncredited)

Stanley Price ... Ace's Henchman (uncredited)
Harry Seymour ... Jerry Carter (uncredited)
Sheila Terry ... Naomi - Kirkwood's Secretary (uncredited)
Adele Watson ... Ship's Nurse (uncredited)

Jack Webb ... Boy in Schoolyard (uncredited)

Directed by
Mervyn LeRoy 
Writing credits
Lucien Hubbard (screen play)

Kubec Glasmon (story) &
John Bright (story)

Produced by
Samuel Bischoff .... producer (uncredited)
Raymond Griffith .... supervising producer (uncredited)
Darryl F. Zanuck .... producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Sol Polito (photography)
Film Editing by
Ray Curtiss (edited by)
Art Direction by
Robert M. Haas  (as Robert Haas)
Costume Design by
Orry-Kelly (gowns)
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra
Ray Heindorf .... music arranger: orchestral music (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
63 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Vitaphone)
Australia:PG | Canada:PG (Manitoba/Nova Scotia) (DVD) | Canada:G (Ontario) (DVD) | Finland:K-16 (cut) (1933) | Finland:(Banned) (uncut) (1933) | Sweden:15 | USA:Unrated | USA:Approved | USA:Not Rated (DVD Rating) | USA:TV-PG (TV Rating) | USA:Not Rated (VHS Rating)

Did You Know?

The title refers to the superstition that if three people light their cigarettes with the same match, the third person will soon die. While some attribute the superstition to World War I, where it was sometimes thought that lighting a match long enough to light three cigarettes would attract enemy gunfire, it is now known that a match company "created" the superstition to cut down on sharing of matches and thus increase sales.See more »
Continuity: Ruth Wescott's name is misspelled Westcott in the opening titles.See more »
Mary Keaton, aka Mary Bernard:Will you stop remindin' me of Heaven when I'm so close to the other place?See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Jeopardy!: Episode #22.206" (2006)See more »
Oh! What a Pal Was MarySee more »


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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
One of the best Pre Code films, 5 March 2008
Author: XweAponX from United States

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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