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The Match King (1932)

Passed | | Drama | 31 December 1932 (USA)
Unscrupulous Paul Kroll, 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 ... See full summary »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Warren William ... Paul Kroll
Lili Damita ... Marta Molnar
Glenda Farrell ... Babe
Juliette Compton ... Sonia Lombard
Claire Dodd ... Ilse Wagner
Harold Huber ... Scarlatti
John Wray ... Foreman of Janitors
Spencer Charters ... Oscar
Murray Kinnell ... Nyberg
Hardie Albright ... Erik Borg
Alan Hale ... Borglund
Edmund Breese ... Olaf Christofsen
Robert McWade ... Mr. Larsen
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Storyline

Unscrupulous Paul Kroll, 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 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. Based on the real career of Ivar Kreuger. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 December 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gyufakirály See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$165,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Marta Molnar is based on Greta Garbo. Warner Bros. tried unsuccessfully to borrow Garbo from MGM for the role. See more »

Goofs

When Kroll is racing at a high rate of speed in a "cigarette boat" his rather large, wide-brimmed hat would have blown off his head, that's why "Sailor caps" were commonly worn on such boats. See more »

Quotes

Paul Kroll: Never worry about anything 'til it happens. Then I'll take care of it.
See more »

Soundtracks

On the Beach at Waikiki
(uncredited)
Music by Henry Kailimai
Lyrics by G.H. Stover
Played on the phonograph
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Warren William Meets Mrs. Errol Flynn: Sparks Fly
16 January 2011 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"The Match King" is a 1932 precode film based on the life of Swedish industrialist Ivar Kreuger, known as the Match King and the inventor of the concept that three on a match is unlucky. That, of course, was so he could sell more matches. This film was rushed into release after Kreuger's suicide. Kreuger's brother claimed that Ivar was murdered, and 30 years after Ivar's death, documents appeared to back this up. In 2000, a book was published about the case, but it's in Swedish.

Warren William, one of my favorites, plays Paul Kroll, the main character in this film, and Lily Damita (Mrs. Errol Flynn) is his great love, an actress who gets a chance at a Hollywood career. She is supposedly based on Greta Garbo. I worked on the Greta Garbo biography by Barry Paris. It's been a long time -- I do believe she worked for a store that Kreuger owned and appeared in a film that Kreuger had something to do with, but I'm not sure the two had any involvement. Damita is lovely, though she doesn't register strongly.

This film deals with Kroll's European match monopoly, which bailed out quite a few countries, earning him the title "Savior of Europe." However, he used probably the first Ponzi scheme or a variation on it, so 88 years later, this movie is still relevant! Warren William is terrific as the smooth, charming, but ruthless and underhanded Kreuger. William during the silent era and early talkies often played the heavies; later on, he got to show his lighter touch, which was on a par with William Powell's. Supposedly a book was published about him in late 2010, which is a tribute to a renewed awareness of him thanks to TCM.

The actual Ivar Kreuger owned many, many businesses, and varied ones, not only match companies in many countries, but stores, banks, a ball bearing company, mining companies, a department store, a movie company, a telephone company, a railroad etc. His demise hit world finances very hard. He was a crook, but a borderline one, and many of his companies are still in existence today.

Very good film that is worth seeing.


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