Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Ann Dvorak as Vivian Revere
Cast: Joan Blondell, Bette Davis, Lyle Talbot, Warren William, Edward Arnold, Humphrey Bogart, Allen Jenkins, Jack La Rue.
In my time on this planet, I have manage to cram in some experiences; traveled abroad, published a book, gave birth, and completed 3 half marathons, just to name a few. However, there is one thing I have never done – viewed Three on a Match on the big screen. It’s my favorite Ann Dvorak film. In fact, it’s the first Ann-D flick I ever saw. It’s the movie that set me on a wild Dvorak journey and the reason why I am typing these words right now. And yet, in the 21 or so years since I first viewed Three on a Match in my mother’s living room on a VHS copy that I checked out from the Glendora Public Library, I am not aware of it ever having been screened in Los Angeles. If it did, I regrettably missed out.
This is all going to change tomorrow when I settle in to my seat at the Billy Wilder Theater at 7pm (Saturday, November 5th.) The screening is part of the UCLA Film & Television Archive’s tribute to Joan Blondell (how amazing is that?). To top it all off, it’s a 35mm print! Oh glorious day.
If you’re in Los Angeles and a fan of Ann, pre-Code, Blondell, or a good time in general, head on down to Westwood and be sure to say hi if you do. I’ll be the one bouncing up and down and crying tears of joy.
In March 2002, I placed a winning bid on eBay and snagged a Three on a Match lobby card for $105. That felt like a king’s ransom at the time, but I had no regrets. After all, it was (and is) my favorite Ann Dvorak film and how often would I have the opportunity to add any of these cards to my collection? As it turns out, not very often. Occasionally, they’ll come up on Heritage or Profiles in History, which means a hefty opening bid plus crazy buyer’s premiums which has priced me out before the bidding even begins.
This past March, almost 14 years to the day that I got that first one, I was finally able to add a second Three on a Match card to the collection. And it’s a beaut! This is the one card from the set I desperately wanted as it focuses on Ann after she has made the ultimate sacrifice to save her nauseatingly precocious child. At $136, it almost seems like a steal these days, though I do think that’s the most I have ever paid for an Ann-D lobby card.
I put the card away before properly scanning it, so the scan is from the eMovieposter site, which is where I won it from.
Three on a Match is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, October 15th at 4:15am PST.
You haven’t seen Three on a Match you say? Boy, have you been missing out! I remember my first time watching this film in the mid-1990s, which was also the first time I encountered Ann Dvorak. I’m not sure how you’ll react to it, but I was balled over by this little pre-Code gem and ended up watching the film twice in a row on my VCR. From there, I started collecting Ann Dvorak memorabilia, launched this website, obsessively researched Ann’s life, got married at her San Fernando Valley ranch house, and ultimately published her biography. If you haven’t seen this film, I do recommend it – though it may send your life on a major unintended (but marvelous) tangent.
Consider yourself warned, and enjoy the film!
As some of you may already know, Three on a Match was the film that introduced me to Ann Dvorak back in the mid 1990s and got me started on this crazy journey. Since that first viewing, I have watched the film countless times, though I had never seen it on a big screen with an audience. This past weekend, I screened Three on a Match at Central Library where I work and preceded it with a brief lecture on pre-Code cinema. First off, I was happy to have around 50 people show up, which was pretty good considering it was a rare rainy day in Los Angeles which usually sends residents cowering inside (present company included). We even sold a few books after!
Of all the times I have watched this film in the past 18 or so years, I had never been moved to tears by it. Sure, I had always been blown away by Ann’s performance, but it never actually made me cry. That changed on Saturday and I was surprised to find myself choking back the tears during the movie’s climatic scenes. After the film ended, it dawned on me that this was the first time I had watched it since becoming a mother. I don’t know if that’s why Ann’s final scenes with her young child got to me, or if it were that much more dramatic watching it on a big screen. Either way, the fact remains that Three on a Match is a damn fine movie with one hell of a performance from Ann Dvorak.
The other thing I noticed while watching it is that a lot of scenes were ultimately cut from it. The above photo of Ann and Lyle Talbot which I recently purchased is from a scene in the film that is no where to be found. I have a couple of other Three on a Match stills from cut scenes and have seen a couple others in various places over the years. Talk about lost footage I would love to see!
I love this herald for a number of reasons. First off, it’s Three on a Match which is my favorite Ann Dvorak film. Secondly, it folds up giving us a weird hybrid of Bette Davis’ forehead, Joan Blondell’s eyes and nose, and Ann’s lips and chin. Next up is the claim that Bette has brains, Joan has beauty, and all Ann has to offer is kisses. And let’s not forget the baffling tagline, “It takes 3 girls in one to ‘take’ one man.”
The piece folds out to reveal what brains, beauty, and kisses actually look like and to describe a film that only vaguely sounds like Three on Match. Ah, la publicité!
This is really short notice, but for those of you in the Washington DC area, Three on a Match, that most magnificent of pre-Codes is going to be screened at Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital TONIGHT at 7:00pm.
As if viewing this gem of a flick wasn’t enough fun, Margaret Talbot, daughter of Lyle, and author of The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth Century, will be introducing the film and doing a book signing.
I have never seen Three on a Match on the big screen, so if you’re in the area this is not to be missed!
Today, my husband, toddler, and I woke up at 5am to drive from Des Moines to Chicago. I might add that I have come down with a nasty cold. By the time we reach the Windy City, my daughter and I are probably going to look and feel like Ann and Buster Phelphs at the end of Three on a Match.
It’s Sunday of a brutal week for me, so I’m making this one short and sweet and posting this awesome photo of Lyle Talbot convincing Ann to throw her life down the toilet in Three on a Match.
I can never get enough of that movie!
This Three on a Match lobby card is one of the best pieces in my Ann Dvorak collection. It’s the only card I have from the film, which is my favorite Dvorak title. I won it in an eBay auction 11 or 12 years ago and paid around $110 which seemed extravagant at a time when I was a starving grad school student. The photo of this card was taken with the first digital camera I ever owned, which is why the quality isn’t great. There’s another card of Ann laying on the pavement after jumping out a building that I hope will one day join my collection and keep this card company. Until then, I will continue to marvel that I own a lobby card from Three on a Match.