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Central Airport (1933)

Unrated | | Drama | 15 April 1933 (USA)
Aviator Jim Blaine and his brother Neil are rivals not only as daredevil flyers, but also for the love of parachutist Jill Collins.


William A. Wellman, Alfred E. Green (uncredited)


Rian James (screenplay), Jack Moffitt (story "Hawk's Mate") | 1 more credit »


Airs Mon. Nov. 19, 1:45 PM on TCM



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Complete credited cast:
Richard Barthelmess ... James 'Jim' Blaine
Sally Eilers ... Jill Collins
Tom Brown ... Neil 'Bud' Blaine
Grant Mitchell ... Mr. Blaine
James Murray ... Eddie Hughes
Claire McDowell ... Mrs. Blaine
Willard Robertson ... Havana Airport Manager
Arthur Vinton ... Amarillo Airport Manager
Charles Sellon ... Man in Wreck (scenes deleted)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert W. Craig Robert W. Craig ... Chef (scenes deleted)
Harold Huber ... Swarthy Man (scenes deleted)
Milton Kibbee ... Undetermined Role (scenes deleted)


Commercial pilot Jim Blair is blackballed after his plane crashes in a thunderstorm. Depressed, he begins working as a bank teller until he meets beautiful Jill Collins, a barnstorming parachutist working with her daredevil pilot brother. Jim's immediately attracted, and when her brother's killed in a freak crash, he reveals his past to her and volunteers to replace her dead sibling in their air carnival act. As they tour throughout the Southwest, their affection turns physically intimate when they're on the road as they characteristically sleep in adjoining hotel rooms. Jill wants marriage but is resisted by Jim, who believes that his risky lifestyle precludes the luxury of a wife and family. When Jim's brother Bud joins them, he too is immediately attracted to Jill but respects his brother's relationship, However, after another freak accident puts Jim in the hospital for a prolonged convalescence, Jim returns to find them married and in bed together. Angry and bitter, he becomes a ... Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Find out why this world-famous adventurer carries a wedding ring that has never been worn...Why he will never go back to the town he started from!...Why his own brother never speaks his name! (Print Ad- Plattsburg Daily Republican, ((Plattsburg, NY)) 9 June 1933) See more »




Unrated | See all certifications »





English | Spanish

Release Date:

15 April 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aeropuerto Central See more »


Box Office


$356,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

First National Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Alfred E. Green temporarily replaced William A. Wellman as director when he caught the flu. See more »


When Neil and Jill are inside the passenger plane talking to the friend who had seen Neil's brother Jim, the view out the window beside Jill shows the plane at first parked (as the pilot excuses himself and moves up the aisle between them to take the controls), then begins moving on the ground and picking up speed and taking off. But the entire time, the sound of an idling engine is heard very loudly in the background. The engine sound should have changed to a high-rev sound for takeoff. See more »


James 'Jim' Blaine: [noticing her cumbersome trailing parachute] Can I carry your train for you, your highness/
Jill Collins: Don't you know an exhibition parachute when you see one?
James 'Jim' Blaine: Well, I was so interested in the exhibition...
[moving his eyes from the chute to her derrière]
James 'Jim' Blaine: ... I never noticed the chute.
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Referenced in The Sid Saga Part 2 (1987) See more »


Music by Ishmael Aguilar Ramos
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User Reviews

Airborne Soap
29 March 2005 | by jbacks3See all my reviews

The only real evidence of the directorial touch (often a fist) of Wild Bill Wellman here are the well-done aviation scenes and the sexual tension. As a pre-code entry, Central Airport has a handful of scenes that would undoubtedly be axed a year later--- Dick and Sally canoodle in adjoining hotel rooms without the dubious benefit of marriage and the plot would've probably been reworked. As it goes, it's pure soap involving lost love and a few assorted body parts. Richard Barthemless's career was on the wane by 1933 and it's not hard to tell why. He's stiff and his acting style is far more suitable for silents. With the novelty of talkies worn off, Central Airport had to be one of Warner's biggest budgeted gambles of the year. It boasts some decent special effects and the crash scenes (and there's more than one) must've been spectacular for depression-era audiences who treated pilots back then like we saw astronauts in the 1960's. Whines: John Wayne's part defines the term 'bit'--- he's barely in the movie and you practically have to keep your eyes peeled to spot him (his other notable 1933 walk-on was in Warner's Babyface, but at least he's given some lines)--- back to the Warner's Lone Star low-budget oaters for him until John Ford decides he deserves another A-picture shot after a decade as a sometimes singin' cowboy. I also spotted WB chorus girl Pat Wing (Gill) (not credited by IMDb) in a crowd sequence standing horrified behind an announcer--- her ravishing sister, Toby is credited as originally being cast but apparently became an editing room casualty. Look for the still-breathing Charles Lane as a radio operator early on (happy 100th Mr. Lane!). I love pre-code talkies... Central Airport is by no means the best of the lot but it has just enough ingredients thrown in to hold your interest. If you want to see a far better example of 1933 Bill Wellman, see Wild Boys of the Road.

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