Three On A Match (1932)

MERVYN LeROY

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1932.  First National Pictures.  Story by , , Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Ann Dvorak and Lyle Talbot in Three On A Match.

Fascinating example of how different Hollywood films were before the introduction of the Hays code. Three girls know each other in grade school and then grow up to become three highly independent women: the school bully grows up to be a successful stage star (), the rich sweetheart becomes a married woman who then leaves her husband and child for another man and a drug habit () and the class valedictorian eventually morphs into a hard-working singleton (). Unlike later films, under the code, in which the moral judgment would be placed on the child who was bad to begin with (Blondell’s youthful counterpart is basically poor white trash), this one sees a respectable girl from a good home follow her nose into dirty sex and depravity, for no other reason than the fact that she wants to. It’s an enjoyable little melodrama, and is a great opportunity to see the great Davis (albeit too briefly) in a very early role.

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