The Match King

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The Match King

Post by Bruce R on Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:29 pm

I don't think I've ever seen a film with Warren William that I didn't enjoy. The 1932 MATCH KING is no exception.

William plays the unscrupulous Paul Kroll, who starting as a Chicago janitor, uses graft to finance a trip to Sweden where by trickery he gains control of his uncle's small match factory. By expert manipulation of everyone and employment of femmes-fatale (he has women everywhere!), he parlays this into a match monopoly, expanding over many countries. Finally he meets a woman so gorgeous she turns his head away from a business that needs constant financial manipulation to survive.

The film is based on the real career of the Swedish civil engineer Ivar Kreuger. Kreuger is reputed to have garnered two-thirds to three-quarters of the worldwide match production. However, the Great Depression wiped him out and he was found dead in his Paris flat in 1932, a probable suicide.

There was a cute little part in which Kroll started a rumor about how unlucky it was to light 3 cigarettes with the same match in order to increase match useage. However that superstition had already been around since the Crimean War so it was not an original concept from this film.

A good film about the overwhelming obsession to control an entire industry and how much is given up with such all-consuming drive.

Bruce R


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Re: The Match King

Post by Chris Ellis on Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:58 pm

I agree William is the best when it comes to playing ruthless dastardly characters that you love to hate. Match King is good but my favourite is Employee's Entrance with Loretta Young where he will do just about anything to make the department store he runs survive or satisfy his own desires! -- I kept saying, to myself, I can't believe he just did/said that! Skyscraper Souls, The Mouthpiece and The Mind Reader are other favourites! Chris.


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Re: The Match King

Post by Bruce R on Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:02 am

Good titles, Chris. I'm not even sure that I've viewed MOUTHPIECE, so will have to check that one out. Thanks for the reminder.

Allen Jenkins was also excellent in THE MIND READER.

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Re: The Match King

Post by garyleeoz on Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:58 am

I'll have to dig up my copy of The Match King. It's one that I haven't seen yet. Yes, Employees Entrance, SkyScraper Souls and the Mind Reader are all excellent movies.

Thanks for mentioning that three strikes of a match was unlucky. I guess that's what the movie title "Three on a Match" refers to (the 1932 movie with Joan Blondell, Bette Davis and Ann Dvorak).

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