"three on a match" is a tragic fable of urbanite incurrences upon three females. the major conspicuous performances are from ann dvorak who plays the nymphmaniac sister of paul muni in "scarface"...that was promoted by joan crawford who introduced her the chance to meet howard hughes then she got the role. dvorak is one of the most underrated and undertreated actresses in cinematic history, used to be frequently casted leading lady in the 30s at warner bro.
dvorak plays a weary housewife who takes her luxurious marital ease for granted, yearning for the thrill and gayety of life...then her considerate and generous lawyer husband arranges a extravagent cruise trip alone to alleviate her dreariness, then she goes astray into degenerated adultery with a sweet-tongued crook on the ship....thus her doom begins.
on the other hand, her other two pals, played by joan bondell and bette davis. bondell is the prodigal playgirl who squanders her adolescence in reform school, conformed to the right track by marrying dvorak's deserted husband, demonstrating great scale of maternality to dvorak's son. bette davis appears almost as oblivion, being characterless as a diligent stenographer and a pleasant friend at her early stage of warner bro. after all, it's not a davis movie but dvorak's.
dvorak is usually typecasted as the rebellious do-wronger who descends into depravity, provided with roles to showcase her flapper burlesque which is also in "g-men" and "scarface"....there's a scene she dances frivolously upon the hotel room desk to a lesser standard. dvorak's part involves the gloomy sequence of decaying, accentuated by her traumatized catastrophe that would be the highlight of dvorak's career.
"three on a match" is inevitably melodramatic as the rot in the dark alley during the depression period. it features cameos of bette davis and humprey bogart who would later be smashing hollywood legends. the major star who exerts herself has been forgotten for good.