Three On A Match (1932)


Original plot
The Girl Most Popular falls prey to glamorizing the low life.

Big thoughts
This movie is slow that it literally has a recap at the 43-minute mark. And it’s not more than an hour long to begin with. It also has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Bogie. We’re watching this on recommendation from a BFI blog on pre-code movies.

Obligatory bus anecdote
Someone in a Jeep tried to road-rage my bus. Like maybe the driver was being aggro or something. But why would you try to take on a vehicle that’s 10 times your size? Very strange.

Pertinent GIF

The Random Remake
Vivian Kirkwood (Brie Larson), an uppity aspiring socialite who’s managed to hitch her wagon to a LA film producer, returns to her poor Bronx home neighborhood for the funeral of an uncle. She brings in tow her family, and they take hold in the city in an impromptu vacation. While strolling the streets on a window shopping excursion, Vivian is captivated by two women walking near her, Mary (Zosia Mamet) and Ruth (Juno Temple). She hides out in a store as she watches them walk past. We enter a flashback that shows her in school and the two other girls – her friends that were always a little too rambunctious, obnoxious for her. She jettisoned them soon after high school to secure her fake nobility.

Watching the two women’s attire and attitude, Vivian decides to approach them (as if she didn’t seem them before) and soon they’re hanging out reminiscing over drinks. Ruth excuses herself to go outside and smoke a cigarette and Mary persuades Vivian to come along. Using the hotel bar’s matches as a light, Vivian tells the tale of a superstition heralding doom for three people who use the same match. Ruth dares them to do it anyway.

The next day we see Vivian down in the dumps following around her absent-minded husband Robert and their self-involved daughter Kaitlin. Vivian then texts Ruth what she’s up to that night, and when hearing about a party white lies to Robert to go.

After a while Vivian gives in to Ruth’s friends’ fast lifestyle and gets addicted to cocaine. Robert reluctantly stays in New York in a doomed attempt to rescue Vivian. He even enlists Ruth and Mary to help, getting affectionate toward the former and entrusting the latter as a sitter. Vivian’s falling in with a rough crowd and to settle a drug debt one of Vivian’s new “friends” kidnaps Kaitlin and soon his dealer is on the scheme, holing Vivian up in a tenement apartment when she protests. Seeing the situation deteriorate and overhearing the dealer talk about “cutting his losses” with the kidnapped Kirkwood, Vivian takes action and decides to fight the attackers, knowing she will probably lose. She makes sure to make as much noise and possible to alert everyone around her, calling attention to get help and saving her daughter but losing her life in the process.

The pitch
3 On A Match: Her fire will consume them all

Next up: Baby Face (1933)


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