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Three on a Match (1932)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 29 October 1932 (USA)
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.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

Lucien Hubbard (screen play), Kubec Glasmon (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Blondell ... Mary Keaton
Warren William ... Robert Kirkwood
Ann Dvorak ... Vivian Revere
Bette Davis ... Ruth Wescott
Lyle Talbot ... Mike Loftus
Humphrey Bogart ... Harve
Patricia Ellis ... Linda
Sheila Terry ... Naomi
Grant Mitchell ... Mr. Gilmore
Glenda Farrell ... Vivian's Friend
Allen Jenkins ... Dick
Edward Arnold ... Ace
Frankie Darro ... Bobby
Clara Blandick ... Mrs. Keaton
Hale Hamilton ... Defense Attorney
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Storyline

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 <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

3 on a Match See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$444,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Scenes of frenzy caused by the enactment of Prohibition were originally used in The Public Enemy (1931). See more »

Goofs

Ruth Wescott's name is misspelled Westcott in the opening titles. See more »

Quotes

Dick: Did you get the dough?
Harve: Naw, what a runaround!
Dick: What happened?
Harve: We drove by the place in a laundry truck, me peakin' out of hole in the side. See, I spotted four Dicks I knew by sight. No tellin' how many more were staked out.
Dick: Was the package there?
Harve: Surrrrrrrrrrrrre! And 18 Bulls ready to grab any sucker that gets within 10 yards of it.
See more »


Soundtracks

Smiles
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by Lee S. Roberts
Played as background to introduce the year 1919
See more »

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User Reviews

Mom's Not Quite Herself Today
8 March 2008 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Another neglected eye-opener from the pre-Code era. No doubt, this cynical essay on wanton motherhood helped bring down the wrath of the censors two years hence. Ann Dvorak is a bored upper-class matron who flees to Europe with toddler son in tow, seeking excitement and a sexual adventure she can't admit to herself. She finds them in the person of shady character Lyle Talbott, with whom she shacks-up neglecting her boy in the process. Dvorak shines in those scenes that graphically chart her growing degradation, which I take from her appearance to include heavy drug use. The ending is frankly pretty predictable, Code or no Code.

The movie is no unmixed triumph. The Blondell--William relationship seems highly improbable, while Bette Davis's contrived role as the third girl on the match remains largely a waste. In fact, the movie's second half comes nowhere near the vitality or subtlety of the first half-- note the nuances of that early bedroom scene where we become privy to Dvorak's failing marriage. It's a little gem. The second half, on the other hand, is not helped by the caricatured gangsters, especially in their final scene which unlike the rest of the movie is also poorly directed. Nonetheless, the 60 minutes comes as a revelation to those of us accustomed to the conventions of a 30-year Code period.

Thanks be to TCM for rescuing these sleepers. I doubt they were shown anytime during the censorship era, and by the time they could be shown, they were too dated and obscure. But now film buffs have a chance to discover a Hollywood era most of us didn't know existed. Three on a Match may not be the most compelling product of that time, but it does prove one thing-- despite the opinion of some, sex was not an invention of the 1960's.


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