MovieChat Forums > Three on a Match (1932) Discussion > What drug was Dvorak's character on?

What drug was Dvorak's character on?


It seemed at first she was likely on coke, since she seemed tired after the first night "partying" with her gangster boyfriend.

But then later on in the movie, when the gansters have her boarded up in her bedroom, someone asks if they were able to score any dope for her, as she was "in desperate need." Coke isn't something somebody absolutely NEEDS to go on living... She also appeared sick and jumpy, and in one scene her nose was itching (all symptoms of heroin withdrawal, if anything). I was just wondering which was her DOC since it was never absolutely clear in this movie, which BTW I must have watched at least a dozen times in the last 10 years- one of my favorites!

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I thought it was coke also, since it could be that she was trying to wipe off any trace of the powder.
I guess we'll never know!

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I think she was doing both. Her baggy eyes and strung-out look, plus especially all of her moans of pain when the gangsters had her locked up -- withdrawal symptoms. The only thing that makes me suspect "coke" too here was when she stumbled out of the room, sniffing, and Bogie in an awesome take smirked "Uh oh," and rubbed at his own nose. Actually, now that I think of it -- maybe she was just snorting heroin, a la Pulp Fiction. Notice there were no needle marks on her arms.

Not that the producers spent so much time thinking about it, of course...I bet most Americans at that time wouldn't have known the difference between coke addiction symptoms and heroin addiction symptoms.

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Heroin was around as an addictive injected drug since at least the 1910s. And it's very likely Hollywood wouldn't show needle tracks in 1932

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She started with coke and went to something stronger, like heroin, later.

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Wow I thought she was only drinking, I missed the drug references.

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When she was scratching under her nose with her finger, and Bogart saw this...he imitated her and said "Uh Oh"....that's a drug reference, so they must have supplied her with cocaine then. She probably went into a much stronger drug later because she looked very panicky up to her very last scene when she committed suicide after the men walked in her room.

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Looked like cocaine at first, but more like heroin at the end. Maybe both? Just saw this for the first time. What a great film.

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Coke isn't something somebody absolutely NEEDS to go on living... - ElectricKoolaidAcid

How much do you know about cocaine dependency, let alone had any experience with it? No one NEEDS cocaine, or heroin, or cigarettes (nicotine), or coffee (caffeine), but if you're hooked it sure feels like you need the drug to go on living.

I've heard that quitting cigarettes is harder to do than to quit heroin; having never tried heroin, I cannot compare, but I smoked for years, and it was a challenge to quit--and I cannot say that I didn't fall off the wagon a few times after I had "officially" quit.

More to the point of this movie: In my foolish youth I spent a couple of months burning through a savings account as I went on a coke binge. I'd been an occasional sniffer before that, but during this time snorting blow was my full-time job. It got to the point that I couldn't wait to snort my next line even as my nose by now was practically screaming in pain--and I got so deluded that I convinced myself that I needed that next line so the temporary anesthetic properties of the cocaine would dull the pain in my nose!

Fortunately, I ran out of money and after a rough couple of days was fairly back to normal. I indulged a few times after that but nowhere near that binge, and then I finally grew up enough to lose that interest in recreational drugs.

Three on a Match is quite veiled in its allusions to Vivian's drug usage--I had to watch certain scenes again to pick up the hints--and it is possible that she is a heroin sniffer, but my vote is that she's hooked on coke. And that's a pretty big jones.
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"Man becomes the food of the divinity he worships." - Chris Stevens

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I'd say cocaine, what with all the nose rubbing. And remember, this was the era of Reefer Madness -- Hollywood wasn't too concerned with getting the details right, they just wanted to scare. So the blurring of the lines between coke and heroin isn't hard to figure out -- they weren't making a documentary, after all.

But it was pretty daring, nonetheless. This kind of depiction would be eliminated entirely from films for decades after the Hayes Code was in place.

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I'd say cocaine, what with all the nose rubbing. And remember, this was the era of Reefer Madness -- Hollywood wasn't too concerned with getting the details right, they just wanted to scare. So the blurring of the lines between coke and heroin isn't hard to figure out -- they weren't making a documentary, after all.

But it was pretty daring, nonetheless. This kind of depiction would be eliminated entirely from films for decades after the Hayes Code was in place. - xdayton

Any substance ingested nasally can prompt nose-rubbing, and heroin-sniffing had been going on for a while, although I don't know how prevalent it was in the late 1920s and early 1930s. However, Vivian's jittery behavior and the dark circles under her eyes seems consistent with a coke user.

Reefer Madness and its ilk (such as The Cocaine Fiends) actually came out a few years after Three on a Match, and they were designed explicitly as scare movies (Reefer Madness notoriously so) unlike Match, which folded its allusions to drug use casually into the narrative, part of the reason why it was so "daring," as you note, and helped to hasten enforcement of the Production Code.

And I'm not sure that depictions were "eliminated entirely" during the time the Production Code was in force. Filmmakers just got very sly and creative in their suggestions of sex and drug use, and savvy viewers then and now picked them up.

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History is hard to know, because of all the hired bull$hit. - Hunter S. Thompson

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She was doing smack for sure....all the signs of opioid dependence were done well-3 days without coke and you're fine,back to normal-physically.Mentally takes awhile longer to adjust NOT going through the routine.
3 days without opiates is just the begining if you've had a long term habit.The physical withdrawl gets progressively worse,3rd day is usually the peek of nausea/flu like symptoms.Then expect at least a week of little to no sleep.Jumping out the window is not a surprise.
Unfortunatly Im speaking from first hand observation of a loved one.All this debate about which drug she was on is sad-addiction is addiction and she fell hard for hers.In recovery you are told that there are three outcomes to expect-DEATH,PRISON or become INSTITUTIONALIZED.
This is a great film that has held up all these years later

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___I agree with RTW, this is a great film. Dvorak is amazing, Blondell is good, Davis not much here. It should be screened more often. Most people today won't even sit through an old B&W film like this today, a film that really has a hard hitting story.

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Cocaine, dummy!

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See above.

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