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Central Park (1932)

6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 170 users  
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Rick and Dot, two penniless New Yorkers, meet and fall in love in Central Park. Promising to meet later, they separate. Dot is picked up by small-time hood Nick Sarno, posing as a police ... See full summary »

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Title: Central Park (1932)

Central Park (1932) on IMDb 6.2/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Dot
Wallace Ford ...
Guy Kibbee ...
Policeman Charlie Cabot
Henry B. Walthall ...
Eby
...
Robert Smiley
Harold Huber ...
Nick Sarno
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Storyline

Rick and Dot, two penniless New Yorkers, meet and fall in love in Central Park. Promising to meet later, they separate. Dot is picked up by small-time hood Nick Sarno, posing as a police inspector, who promises to pay her $100 to help in a sting operation at a local charity benefit. She agrees, unaware that Nick and his gang are merely using her to steal the charity receipts themselves. Rick, picked up by Sarno for being seen talking to Dot, is held captive by the gang at their hideout. He breaks loose and rushes to the charity affair to try to save Dot before she becomes involved in the heist. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

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Details

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Release Date:

10 December 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Il giardino del diavolo  »

Company Credits

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 »
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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Willard Robertson is in casting call lists for the role of "Captain of Detectives", but was not seen in the print. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Young Love
(1932) (uncredited)
Written by Cliff Hess
Probably played instrumentally
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User Reviews

 
A lion in a taxi cab?
14 March 2002 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

All the action in "Central Park" occurs during a single day and night, in Manhattan's Central Park and in the area immediately surrounding it. This film uses the "book-ends" structure which was employed in so many Warner Brothers films of the early 1930s. In the opening shot of the film, we see a vaudeville-comedy "tramp" yawning as he wakes up in Central Park to begin a new day. In the last shot of the film, we see the same tramp yawning again, in the same place, as he prepares to bed down for the night in Central Park. Except for these two "book-ends", the tramp never appears anywhere in the film.

Rick and Dot are two young people desperately trying to get through the Depression, one day at a time. Rick is so desperate for work, he agrees to wash several dozen policemen's motorcycles for an insultingly small amount of pay. Dot gets a job as a fashion model, but she doesn't know that the "fashion show" is a front for a criminal scam.

The film features the usual cast of Warners supporting players, each with their own subplot. Guy Kibbee is excellent as a veteran cop on the beat. Tonight is his very last tour of duty: as he straps on his holster for the very last time, he remarks that he's managed to get through all his years as a policeman without ever once firing his gun ... so you just KNOW something's going to happen tonight. John Wray, a character actor who played Lon Chaney-ish roles in the 1930s (without Chaney's subtlety), hams it up here as an insane zoo-keeper named Smiley, who escapes from the loony bin and returns to his job at the Central Park Zoo to release the lions and get revenge on the head zoo-keeper who got Smiley sacked from his zoo job. (This is almost a parody of the role Chaney played in "He Who Gets Slapped".) One of Smiley's lions ends up in a taxi cab, on the way to Joan Blondell's fashion show. Yes, it's THAT sort of movie.

Wallace Ford, always an under-rated actor, gives the best performance in this film. Blondell gives one of her usual bad performances. Most of Joan Blondell's early films feature a scene in which a bunch of men stand about, ogling Blondell and remarking on how gorgeous she is: there's a scene like that here, but I just don't get it. Blondell looked very cheap and common, and her appeal has always eluded me.

"Cental Park" can't decide whether it wants to be a comedy or a drama. It starts out funny, moves into serious territory with its Depression subject matter, dips into tragedy for the Guy Kibbee scenes, then just gets completely weird with its homicidal maniac zoo-keeper and taxi-taking lion. Fortunately, each of the individual plot elements is done well, with the usual Warner Brothers proficiency. But "Central Park" is like a mismatched jigsaw puzzle of good pieces from several unrelated films. One of the odder examples of a 1930s second-feature: enjoyable but weird. I'll rate it 7 out of 10.


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