Three on a Match [VHS]

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3 thoughts on “Three on a Match [VHS]

  1. 11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    OUTSTANDING VINTAGE FILM…, January 20, 2002
    By 
    Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) –
    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)
      
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)
      
    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)
      

    This review is from: Three on a Match [VHS] (VHS Tape)

    I absolutely loved this 1932 movie which had me riveted to the screen. As it is a pre-Hays code film, it has not had the life sucked out of it and, consequently, tells a decidedly juicy story, brilliantly directed by the legendary Mervyn LeRoy.

    The film tells of three young women who went to public school together as children and, meeting again ten years later, become friends. All three appear to have done well for themselves. Mary (Joan Blondell), who had been wild as a child, has grown up to be a vivacious, good hearted showgirl, while Ruth (Bette Davis), the smartest, went on to business school and is now a stenographer. Vivian (Ann Dvorak), the most popular as a child, is now married to a handsome, prominent and wealthy attorney (Warren William), with whom she has an adorable little boy. Yet, with so much, Vivian, the envy of the other two, is disatisfied with her gilded life. As all three reminisce over lunch one day, they light their cigarettes from one match, laughingly defying the supersition that three on a match means one of the three will die.

    Soon after, the dissatisfied Vivian goes on a cruise with her young son, leaving her husband behind. At a bon voyage party on the ship, she hooks up with good looking Mike Loftus (Lyle Talbot), and her life spirals out of control. She soon gets more excitement than she bargained for. Her new life style impacts on Mary and Ruth in ways that they could not have imagined. It also ultimately brings her into contact with a brutal mobster, Harve (Humphrey Bogart), as the movie draws to its climax. If you want to know what kind of excitement the viewer is in for, think the following: booze, crime, drugs, gambling, sex, and violence. All this is crammed into a film that runs for sixty four action packed minutes.

    Mervyn Leroy managed to tell a full blooded, three dimensional story, using film montages and film clips of national and world events to move the film along in time. He exacted bravura, stellar performances from the entire cast, and turned out a film with a shocking and surprising ending that is still riveting in today’s day and age. This is a remarkably fine film that those who love classic movies, as well as a great story, will enjoy.

    The video also provides some brief, but interesting, commentary by film historian Leonard Maltin.

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  2. 9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    You’ve found it… this is what pre-code is all about!!!, February 3, 2005
    By 
    ixta_coyotl (Seattle, WA) –

    This review is from: Three on a Match [VHS] (VHS Tape)

    I have been on a pre-code/early-talkie kick as of late, and so I was bound to come across this film sooner or later. When I saw my local video store announced it as “scandalous enough to upset the sensibilities of even the most jaded modern viewer”, I couldn’t quite believe it but had to take a look. As it turns out, in the first five minutes of the film a very young school girl shows off her bloomers to the boys before smoking a cigarette with some of her classmates! And there was more good stuff after that. Three on a Match is of course dated and stagy like all early talkies (I thought Ann Dvorak’s acting in the lead was by far the worst), but if you are interested in cinema history you really have to see it. The whole film, even with Leonard Maltin’s intro and epilogue, breezes by in less than 70 minutes. I hope they give this Forbidden Hollywood series a DVD set release like the earlier Film Noir and Gangster films have now received.

    Some final thoughts on the cast: 24 year old Bette Davis has a very small role but is absolutely delicious as a cute little blond. I have gone thru her photos and it appears she rapidly morphed into the form she later became better known for sometime during the late 1930s; an astonishing and most unfortunate transformation (enjoy it why it lasts, Mena Suvari!). Also worth watching to see Humphrey Bogart in a small role as a low-ranking gangster. And you should check out the talented Warren William (Robert Kirkwood) in a much more flattering role in Capra’s fantastic little 1933 hit, Lady for a Day.

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  3. 7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A melodrama of three young women tempting fate, July 4, 2001
    By 
    Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) –
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    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)
      
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      
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    This review is from: Three on a Match [VHS] (VHS Tape)

    In this 1932 film directed by Mervyn LeRoy, three old girl friends from school meet and bring each other up to date. Mary Keaton (Joan Blondell), is a former tomboy who left reform school to become an entertainer. Vivian Revere (Ann Dvorak), is married to a prominent attorney and has a son. Ruth Westcott (Bette Davis), has graduated from secretarial school and has a job as a stenographer. While the girls talk, they light their cigarettes from a single match and laugh off the old superstition that the third person to use the match, Vivian, will soon die. Vivian decides to take her son on a cruise and invites Mary and Ruth to the bon voyage party. But Vivian is attracted to mobster Mike Loftus (Lyle Talbot), who shows up with Mary and ends up running off with him. Vivian’s husband, Robert Kirkwood (Warren William), finds Vivian with Mary’s help, divorces his wife, gets custody of his son (Buster Phelps), hires Ruth as the boy’s companion, and asks Mary to marry him. Meanwhile, Vivian has turned to drinking and drugs, while Loftus ends up hiring three thugs (one of whom is Humphrey Bogart) to kidnap Vivian’s son.

    Bette Davis’ name is used to sell this film on videotape, but she has the least of the three female leads to do in this story, which is excessively melodramatic to say the least. Actually, Bogart’s bit part is more important to the plot. What makes this film notable is that it was made before the Hays Office established the code that cleaned up the movies. “Three on a Match” was remade by Warners in 1938 as “Broadway Musketeers,” with Ann Sheridan, Margaret Lindsay and Marie Wilson playing the three friends.

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