I had the opportunity to watch two Blonde Bette Davis pre-codes at the Brattle Theater last night. What a treat. Here are some of my quick thoughts on both films.
Even though Bette Davis doesn't even show up until mid-way through the movie, and with her comes the actual plot, I have to say I really enjoyed this film. It's entertaining and a little cheesy, just the way I like my '30s films to be! Plus it's got Lewis Stone! You can't go wrong with that. SPOILER ALERT! None of us quite expected the ending which involved Pat O'Brien's character giving his wife quite a beating. He had just found out that she was already married and had been conning him into giving her alimony. When the movie was over, I proclaimed that there was nothing like ending a film with some good ole domestic abuse!
I had seen this movie a couple times previously, but it was wonderful to see it up on the big screen. I really enjoy this film and it's one of my top favorite pre-codes. But really it isn't a Bette Davis film even if she is part of the triumvirate. Her character is weak and really the only thing you get out of her performance is seeing Bette at her most beautiful. Three on a Match is really all about Ann Dvorak and Joan Blondell. This film is a cautionary tale warning people off of adultery and alcohol/drug abuse. The real victim is the little boy who has to watch his family fall apart. Its just a superb film and watching it again just solidified that for me.