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The Match King (1932)

Passed | | Drama | 31 December 1932 (USA)
Unscrupulous Paul Kroll, starting as a Chicago janitor, uses graft to finance a trip to Sweden where by trickery he gains control of his uncle's small match factory. By expert manipulation ... See full summary »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Warren William ... Paul Kroll
Lili Damita ... Marta Molnar
Glenda Farrell ... Babe
Juliette Compton ... Sonia Lombard
Claire Dodd ... Ilse Wagner
Harold Huber ... Scarlatti
John Wray ... Foreman of Janitors
Spencer Charters ... Oscar
Murray Kinnell ... Nyberg
Hardie Albright ... Erik Borg
Alan Hale ... Borglund
Edmund Breese ... Olaf Christofsen
Robert McWade ... Mr. Larsen
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Storyline

Unscrupulous Paul Kroll, starting as a Chicago janitor, uses graft to finance a trip to Sweden where by trickery he gains control of his uncle's small match factory. By expert manipulation of everyone and employment of femmes-fatale, he parlays this into a match monopoly, expanding over many countries. Finally he meets a woman so gorgeous she turns his head away from a business that needs constant financial manipulation to survive. Based on the real career of Ivar Kreuger. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 December 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gyufakirály See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$165,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the earliest films to have a pre-credits sequence - seven years earlier than Of Mice and Men (1939), which is often cited as the first such. See more »

Goofs

In the meeting between Kroll and Scarlatti, Kroll blows out four of the five candles in a candelabra. The very next scene shows two candles still lit. See more »

Quotes

Paul Kroll: Never worry about anything 'til it happens. Then I'll take care of it.
See more »

Soundtracks

Liebefreud (Love's Joy)
(uncredited)
Music by Fritz Kreisler
Played on the phonograph
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Warren William Sparks Taut Crime Drama
3 March 2001 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

A totally unscrupulous cad plots & schemes to finally become THE MATCH KING of the world, oblivious to the many lives he's destroyed. But with blackmail & murder part of his personal arsenal, how long can it be until avenging fate topples him from his throne?

Warren William dominates this splendid, albeit neglected, crime drama. As in some of his other roles of the same period, William displays his talent for portraying characters simultaneously repulsive & appealing. With his sophisticated good looks & deep, interesting voice, Warren William was the perfect embodiment of the corporate climber, the crook, the conniver. It is a shame this fine actor is generally forgotten today.

Although the plot is firmly centered around William, his co-stars all do a fine job. Brassy Glenda Farrell appears all too briefly as William's first betrayed lover; this was an actress who could really light up the screen, but she's only given two scenes here. Lili Damita is fetching as the movie actress who attracts William. Hardie Albright is a younger relative of William's who gets pulled into his orbit. Blink your eyes and you'll miss Alan Hale as a timber baron. Movie mavens will recognize Charles Sellon as an elderly Match Company executive.

The film makes good use of an intriguing series of short opening scenes, showing various classes of people around the world using that indispensable enabler of civilization, the match.

There was a real life Match King upon whom this drama was based. Ivar Kreuger (1880-1932) was a financial genius whose Swedish Match Company controlled more than half the world's output of matches by 1928. This was accomplished through amazingly speculative deals involving long-term loans to poor nations desiring US dollars, in exchange for match monopolies. As a result, Kreuger's empire grew immensely rich and diversified in many ways. The bubble was soon to burst. World wide depression hit in 1929 and economic pressures mounted steadily. Rather than wait for his holdings to collapse in bankruptcy, Kreuger shot himself in a Paris hotel room on March 12, 1932, aged 52. Subsequent investigations showed his companies to be riddled with fraud & forgery.


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