Central Park 1932 Movie, On Location Shots
An out of work man, a beautiful woman, gangsters, an about to retire visually impaired cop, an escaped lion and a robbery at The Central Park Casino make up the plot of Warner Bros. 1932 drama Central Park.
Starring Joan Blondell, Wallace Ford and Guy Kibbee, Central Park has some entertainment value despite its highly improbable plot. It’s a Great Depression quickie. A swift 58 minute movie greatly enhanced by the always affable Kibbee.and an effective Blondell.
In the 1930s producers would rarely opt to shoot on location in New York – costs and convenience being the big barriers. But you’d think with the title Central Park it might be nice to film some of Central Park in the highly recognizable park, rather than the Warner Bros. backlot.
Unfortunately none of the principal photography with the actors was on location in Central Park. EXCEPT- the opening establishing scenes without the stars.
A second unit crew was sent to film a bit of the park. Most moviegoers in the 1930s never traveled far beyond their home towns. This gives viewers from Sandusky, OH to Brownsville, TX, a taste of what the park was really like. What ends up on the screen for about a minute and a half are short vignettes of real life in Central Park in 1932.
The opening shots to Central Park.
An aerial shot of the reservoir.
Animals at The Menagerie (Zoo). You might think this is not real. But, the camera continues to pan left and you see…
The skyline of Central Park South and the Essex House is on the right.
Sheep Meadow with the shepherd stopping traffic on West Drive to allow the sheep to cross the road.
The sheep begin their crossing.
And the keeper makes sure they make it safely across the road.
A man walks his dog along a path.
A boxer and his trainer jog around the reservoir.
A wealthy dowager rides in a horse-drawn hansom cab.
Horse riders along Central Park West.
Horse riders along the bridle path.
A refreshments stand, which probably never existed in this location (The Terrace) with the hungry Wallace Ford ogling some food. This was certainly a rear projection shot as you can see the lake and Bethesda Fountain in the background.
The other hungry patron at the other end of the stand, Joan Blondell, with Bethesda Fountain’s statue Angel of the Waters clearly visible.
Boys playing baseball on The Mall. They’re about to break a window on the refreshment stand.
After fleeing the scene of the broken window, in this long shot, a woman dressed as Blondell waits at the Gapstow Bridge and the Plaza Hotel is in the background.
I love this movie. But I can’t figure out (SPOILER ALERT) if the climax with the escaped lion is supposed to be funny or not.