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Three on a Match 1932 (First National): Joan Blondell, Bette Davis, Ann Dvorak, Warren William

Coming off an extremely delicious Warren William in the Gold Diggers of 1933, I decided to revisit Three on a Match, also pairing Joan Blondell and Warren William. Rather shocked by the Pre-Hays Code ending, it had been one of those films I hadn’t planned on watching again. This story follows three girls as they make their way from middle school to adulthood. With all the coming of age one could find, it’s interesting to see the morphing from valedictorian, ruffian and popular girl to the ladies these girls become. “Three on a Match means one will die soon” reads the newspaper ad early on in the film- so we know right from the start that one of our girls meets an untimely end. What we don’t see coming is the mismatched lovers, the destroyed debutante, the content underachiever, the runaway mother, and the kidnapping. Humphrey Bogart appears as the token Gangster/Drug Dealer, while Lyle Talbot takes up his usual smooth talking playboy role. Vivian played by Ann Dvorak plays the wife who has lost all interest in her husband to the degree that she can’t even let him touch her. He’s trying, she’s not. Joan Blondell plays the street smart reform school girl with a heart and more knowledge of the human condition than any of them. Bette Davis’s role almost falls entirely into the background as the friend on the fringes of the lives that are falling apart.

“ I don’t think my freedom will mean much if we don’t share it.”

“I think I want things passionately, but when I get them I lose all interest.”

“I said yes to the first man that wanted to marry me, I thought it meant comfort and security.”

“And probably living on three meals a day, while I have to live on the hot air these producers put out.”

 

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