Three on a Match | Chicago Reader

Three on a Match

Crackerjack 1932 social melodrama from the Warners factory, adapted from the stage by radical screenwriters John Bright and Kubec Glasmon (The Public Enemy). The story is an early version of the gangster-movie myth about childhood friends who wind up on opposite sides of the class divide—in this case, three schoolgirls who go on to finishing school (Ann Dvorak), secretarial school (Bette Davis), and reform school (Joan Blondell). Intimations of dope addiction drive the compact plot, which resorts to some stiff exposition early on but careens toward a slam-bang ending. Mervyn LeRoy directed, and the supporting cast—Humphrey Bogart, Lyle Talbot, Allen Jenkins, Edward Arnold—is an embarrassment of riches. 64 min.

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