Tuesday, June 10, 2003


This is one of those short B-films that today would wind up as a TV pilot. Joan Blondell and Wallace Ford are two good souls who are at present down and out in New York City; they meet in Central Park and rather improbably fall in love--I like Ford, but he isn't really Blondell's speed. She is approached by some cops and asked to be a decoy for them in a sting operation later that evening; it turns out the "cops" are actually crooks who are using her as a front to pull off a jewelry heist at a big charity function. Meanwhile, we see a seemingly unrelated story develop, with Guy Kibbee as a Central Park cop just days away from retirement; the secret he's keeping, so that he will be sure to get his pension, is that he is going blind. He can fake it just enough to get by and is counting the days until he retires, but he has reason to worry when he hears that a former park zookeeper turned lunatic has escaped and may come back to his old haunt. That night, all the stories converge in the park, where a lion escapes from the zoo and terrorizes the area. Kibbee is responsible for letting the lunatic escape, but he gets a chance to redeem himself when the jewel crooks cross his path. Ford and Blondell are good together, but they seem more like buddies than potential lovers. Kibbee is a little less befuddled and a little more serious than his usual persona. There is footage of the real Central Park interspersed throughout the movie, though it seems pretty clear that the stars weren't on location. Lots of chases and fisticuffs in the last half keep this moving along nicely.

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