Monday, January 24, 2011


A heavily-fictionalized biopic about Swedish industrialist Ivar Kreuger, who built a match monopoly, and supposedly came up with the folk belief that three on a match is unlucky as a publicity gimmick so people would buy more matches. We first see Warren William as Paul Kroll, a flim-flamming cleaning man at Wrigley Field who has come up with a scam involving keeping the names of ex-employees on the payroll, then splitting their money with the other guys. His uncle asks him to come to Sweden to help out with his failing match company; he does, and uses his crooked ways, involving balancing loans, forging, and blackmail, to build the company into a European giant; his motto: "Never worry about anything until it happens." William has an affair with a famous actress (Lili Damita, playing a Garbo type) who eventually dumps him. When he hears an old man has invented an "everlasting match" that can be struck over and over, he pretends to be a sympathetic entrepreneur but actually schemes to get the man committed to an insane asylum. He even commits murder when he gets in over his head in a plan involving counterfeit bonds. By the end, realizing his house of cards is about to come tumbling down, he kills himself. William does a nice job at the center of this fast-moving melodrama, outshining everyone else except perhaps Glenda Farrell and Claire Dodd as two of his paramours—I like both actresses though neither gets much screen time here. [TCM]

1 comment:

dfordoom said...

I'd never heard of that one. But with Warren William and Glenda Farrell in it I'd see it.