City Park (May 1, 1934)
Released on May 1, 1934: (running time 1 hour and 12 minutes) An old Southern Gentleman befriends an impoverished young lady and helps her get by in the deepest days of the Great Depression, despite the efforts of his son and family, who think he is a doddering old fool.
Produced by George R. Batcheller
Directed by Richard Thorpe
Written by Karl Brown
The Actors: Sally Blane (Rose Wentworth), Harry B. Walthall (Colonel Hanry Randolph Ransome), Matty Kemp (Raymond Ransome), Hale Hamilton (Herbert Ransome), John Harron (Charlie Hooper), Claude King (General Horace G. Stevens), Gwen Lee (Mazie, the hooker), Judith Vosselli (Mrs. Herbert Ransome), Wilson Benge (Andrew Cook), Lafe McKee (Matt O'Donnell), Mary Foy (Mrs. Guppy, landlady), Ted Billings (man in park), Bess Flowers (Stevens' secretary), Frank LaRue (detective), Hattie McDaniel (Tessie, the Ransome maid), Lee Phelps (plainclothes policeman in park), Eddie Phillips (pool shark), Lloyd Whitlock District Attorney).
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I was a 'surprise' baby, long after mom and dad thought that they had enough children, the product of a very cold winter. In December of 1950 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania there were record snowstorms and cold weather, and nine months later there I was, a baby boy with parents old enough to be my grandparents. As a result, I grew up loving, admiring and respecting older people, unlike many of my peers. In this movie we see the tension between Grandpa, who is barely tolerated by his children and grandchildren, who believe that his life and usefulness is over, and he should be treated like an infant. But it becomes much more complex as we set the movie in the depths of the Great Depression in New York City. Then we add an always sensitive storyline about an old man who seems intrigued by a beautiful young lady . . . what exactly are his intentions? Toss in bank robbery and two suitors, and we have a marvelous way to spend the next 70 minutes.
As our drama opens we meet an old gentleman who earns a few dollars as a model for an art class, but the class is finished, and the old gentleman is tossed out of his apartment and forced to live in the city park. We next see him with two other old gentlemen sitting on a bench observing life as it passes by. They watch a hooker trying to get a date, and then a pretty young lady sits down next to the hooker. As the star of our movie, Sally Blane, talks to the hooker, we discover that she is down and out, with nowhere to go. She determines to get arrested as a hooker so that she might have thirty days in jail, with three meals a day and a roof over her head. The three old gentlemen watch as she approaches a plainclothes policeman, and is about to get arrested, when one of the old gentlemen, Colonel Henry Randolph Ransome, goes up to the policeman and makes up a story to keep our young heroine, Rose Wentworth, out of jail. When they learn that she is broke and homeless, they manage to get her back into her apartment, and get her some food. We discover that the old Colonel started a business and made a fortune, and now his son runs the company, and the Colonel is now treated like an infang, on a frugal allowance, and treated with no respect. But like many of us know, and young whipper-snappers sometimes learn, one must never underestimate the cunning and abilities of us old timers.
Enjoy a big bowl of white kernel popcorn and your favorite beverage and watch an adventure where the heroes are three old farts with more heart and spirit and energy than a truck load of young bucks.