The Match King (1932)

70, 72 or 79 mins | Drama | 31 December 1932

Cinematographer:

Robert Kurrle

Editor:

Jack Killifer

Production Designer:

Anton Grot

Production Company:

First National Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to Var , the novel and film are based on the life of Swedish industrialist Ivar Kreuger who swindled thousands after developing an international match monopoly. According to Var , the character of Marta Molnar is based on Swedish actress Greta Garbo. According to HR , Warner Bros. tried to borrow Garbo from M-G-M for the role. Before the credits roll, shots of people around the world using matches are seen to suggest a worldwide reliance on them. A Nov 1934 article in NYT notes that the Polish government complained that two of the disreputable characters in the story had the names of Polish national heroes. Production records contained in the film on the film at the AMPAS Library note that the production took twenty-five shooting days for a total cost of ... More Less

According to Var , the novel and film are based on the life of Swedish industrialist Ivar Kreuger who swindled thousands after developing an international match monopoly. According to Var , the character of Marta Molnar is based on Swedish actress Greta Garbo. According to HR , Warner Bros. tried to borrow Garbo from M-G-M for the role. Before the credits roll, shots of people around the world using matches are seen to suggest a worldwide reliance on them. A Nov 1934 article in NYT notes that the Polish government complained that two of the disreputable characters in the story had the names of Polish national heroes. Production records contained in the film on the film at the AMPAS Library note that the production took twenty-five shooting days for a total cost of $165,000. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
3 Oct 32
p. 6.
Film Daily
9 Dec 32
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 32
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 32
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Nov 32
p. 3.
International Photographer
1 Dec 32
p. 36.
Motion Picture Herald
17 Dec 32
p. 35, 38
New York Times
8 Dec 32
p. 25.
New York Times
4 Nov 1934.
---
Variety
13 Dec 32
p. 15.
DETAILS
Release Date:
31 December 1932
Production Date:
29 August--early October 1932
Copyright Claimant:
First National Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 December 1932
Copyright Number:
LP3467
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70, 72 or 79
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

During his time in Chicago, Swedish immigrant Paul Kroll aquires a small sum of money by cheating his friends and fellow workers. The people at home in Sweden believe that Paul is a successful businessman, so when the local match factory has business troubles, Kroll's uncle begs him to return home and help them. After stealing the money that his girl friend Babe had saved, Kroll buys a first-class passage and sails home. There, he bluffs the bank into financing a merger between the small plant and a more modern one. In order to maintain his initial success, he continues to borrow more money and ultimately buys all the match factories in the country. After he promotes superstitions such as the belief that it is bad luck to light three cigarettes on a match in order to increase sales, he plots to take over match factories throughout Europe. Soon, by using blackmail and other underhanded methods, the Kroll Match Co. obtains the European monopoly on matches. While on business in Germany, Kroll becomes infatuated with beautiful actress Marta Molnar. He sends her a diamond bracelet and invites her to dinner. When she turns him down, he pursues her doggedly. Eventually she succumbs to his entreaties, and he neglects his business during the romance. Kroll's friend, Erik Borg, suggests that he is wealthy enough to give up business altogether. Kroll's business is so deeply in debt, however, that he cannot stop. When he learns of the invention of an everlasting match, he has the inventor, Christian Hobe, committed to an insane asylum. After the stock market crashes, Kroll's ... +


During his time in Chicago, Swedish immigrant Paul Kroll aquires a small sum of money by cheating his friends and fellow workers. The people at home in Sweden believe that Paul is a successful businessman, so when the local match factory has business troubles, Kroll's uncle begs him to return home and help them. After stealing the money that his girl friend Babe had saved, Kroll buys a first-class passage and sails home. There, he bluffs the bank into financing a merger between the small plant and a more modern one. In order to maintain his initial success, he continues to borrow more money and ultimately buys all the match factories in the country. After he promotes superstitions such as the belief that it is bad luck to light three cigarettes on a match in order to increase sales, he plots to take over match factories throughout Europe. Soon, by using blackmail and other underhanded methods, the Kroll Match Co. obtains the European monopoly on matches. While on business in Germany, Kroll becomes infatuated with beautiful actress Marta Molnar. He sends her a diamond bracelet and invites her to dinner. When she turns him down, he pursues her doggedly. Eventually she succumbs to his entreaties, and he neglects his business during the romance. Kroll's friend, Erik Borg, suggests that he is wealthy enough to give up business altogether. Kroll's business is so deeply in debt, however, that he cannot stop. When he learns of the invention of an everlasting match, he has the inventor, Christian Hobe, committed to an insane asylum. After the stock market crashes, Kroll's bank loan is not renewed, so he borrows money on fraudulent stock and murders the forger. With the money, he intends to leave the business and marry Marta, who is now working in Hollywood. She has fallen in love with someone else, however, and when the forgery is revealed, Kroll sees no choice but to kill himself. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.