Central Airport (1933)

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    Screenshot with the courtesy of elly

    Information From IMDB/DVD Savant

    Plot Summary
    Jack Moffitt's original story deals with the realities of work for 1930s fliers.
    Jim Blane (Richard Barthelmess) is booted from his job as a commercial pilot
    when investigators fault him for an airliner crash in rough weather.
    He meets circus barnstormer Jill Collins (Sally Eilers) just as her pilot brother
    crashes to his death, and becomes her partner both in the air and in bed.
    They check into hotels separately but always take adjoining rooms.
    Jim doesn't believe in marriage for fliers, and Jill soon takes up
    with his younger brother Bud (Tom Brown), also a pilot.
    And Jim's timing is also off ... although Jill loves him,
    she accepts Bud's offer of marriage.
    Jim takes off for dangerous jobs in parts unknown,
    but we know he'll have to come back to claim what's his.

    Full 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)
    Robert W. Craig ... Chef (scenes deleted)
    Harold Huber ... Swarthy Man (scenes deleted)
    Milton Kibbee ... Undetermined Role (scenes deleted)
    Irving Bacon ... Amarillo Weatherman (uncredited)
    Louise Beavers ... Hotel Maid (uncredited)
    Harry C. Bradley ... Doctor (uncredited)
    James Bush ... Amarillo Pilot (uncredited)
    Harry Depp ... Hotel Telephone Operator (uncredited)
    James Donlan ... Havana Driver (uncredited)
    Lester Dorr ... Hotel Desk Clerk #3 (uncredited)
    Dick Elliott ... Man Looking for Driver (uncredited)
    James Ellison ... Amarillo Pilot Crossing Fingers (uncredited)
    Betty Jane Graham ... Little Girl in Wreck (uncredited)
    Harrison Greene ... Pomona Air Circus Announcer (uncredited)
    Charles Lane ... Amarillo Radio Operator (uncredited)
    Sam McDaniel ... Train Porter (uncredited)
    Frances Miles ... Mother of Little Girl in Wreck (uncredited)
    John 'Skins' Miller ... Hotel Desk Clerk #2 (uncredited)
    Walter Miller ... Havana Airfield Official (uncredited)
    Bert Moorhouse ... Havana pilot (uncredited)
    J. Carrol Naish ... Drunk in Wreck (uncredited)
    Theodore Newton ... Radio Operator (uncredited)
    Bradley Page ... Scotty Armstrong (uncredited)
    Russ Powell ... Chef (uncredited)
    Jed Prouty ... Hotel Desk Clerk #1 (uncredited)
    George Regas ... Havana Mechanic (uncredited)
    Harry Semels ... Havana Airfield Worker (uncredited)
    Harry Strang ... Havana pilot (uncredited)
    Phil Tead ... Duke, Airplane Ticket Agent (uncredited)
    Fred 'Snowflake' Toones ... El Paso Craps Shooter (uncredited)
    John Vosper ... Man in Wreck (uncredited)
    Lucille Ward ... Waitress (uncredited)
    John Wayne ... Co-pilot in Wreck (uncredited)
    Charles Williams ... El Paso Hotel Desk Clerk (uncredited)
    Toby Wing ... Air Show Observer (uncredited)
    Jack Wise ... Amarillo Airport Clerk (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Jack Moffitt (story "Hawk's Mate")
    Rian James (screenplay) &
    James Seymour (screenplay)

    Original Music
    Howard Jackson (uncredited)
    Bernhard Kaun (uncredited)

    Sidney Hickox (as Sid Hickox)

    According to an interview with William Wellman, Jr.
    in the special features for the DVD of "The High and the Mighty,"
    his father used John Wayne as a stuntman in this film.

    Alfred E. Green temporarily replaced William A. Wellman as director when he caught the flu.
    A note on file in the AMPAS library says that John Vosper replaced Charles Sellon,
    J. Carrol Naish replaced Harold Huber and Russ Powell replaced Robert W. Craig.

    American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films 1931-1940 erroneously identifies Glenda Farrell (uncredited) as "Woman in Wreck". Glenda Farrell does not appear in this film.

    The title is Central Airport, yet the story does not revolve around any single airport, and there is no airport in the movie by that name. Only two airports are identified by name in the movie and both are called Grand Central Airport (one in English, one in Spanish).

    When Jim is coming in to land after stunting over the Havana airport
    we get a good look at the writing and symbols on the right-hand side of his plane. When he actually touches down, they are in different colors and positions, and a diagonal line of bullet holes has appeared.

    When the search plane first spots the wreckage, the mirror signal flash comes from off the right wing of the plane wreckage and across a stream. Seconds later as the pilot looks again, the mirror flash comes from directly in front of the nose of the plane wreckage. Since the crashed pilot was hurt and had to drag himself to the mirror, he couldn't have traveled that far in such a short time.

    Crew or equipment visible
    When the parachute is pulled from the tree, you can see the ropes that had been holding it there in place to support the weight of the parachutist.

    Errors in geography
    Neil's plane goes down en route from Havana to Mexico City and the radio announcer gives his estimated position as 22°N 88°W. This would be off the Yucatán Peninsula about 400 miles west of Havana, which makes sense. But when Jim and Jill get to the airport, the position marked on the map is south of the Dry Tortugas. This would be about 24°30'N 83°W or about 100 miles north of Havana, and Jim's compass shows him flying north to reach the site.

    The Amarillo and Havana airports show significant mountain ranges in the background. However, both airports are situated in areas that are geographically very flat with no mountains to be seen for hundreds of miles.

    Revealing mistakes
    When the camera moves from a position between Sally Eilers' and Richard Barthelmess' hotel rooms to the left, her room can be seen from his, revealing the missing fourth wall of the set.

    When the stunt pilot's bi-plane crashes, it turns into a high-wing monoplane (and an obvious airplane mock-up with mostly wooden frame and no skin) at the moment of impact.

    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.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 13 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Central Airport is a 1933 American film starring Richard Barthelmess and Sally Eilers,
    directed by William A. Wellman (with Alfred E. Green, uncredited),
    produced and released by Warner Bros.
    John Wayne had an unbilled part, as a co-pilot, and this film features his first on-screen death.

    Duke is seen 56 minutes into the film, as an officer
    on the downed plane in the Gulf Of Mexico.
    Duke's screen time is 36 seconds, as he helps passengers
    out onto the wing, and drowns doing so.

    His first screen death

    For continuity I have copied Hondo's original post over to here.

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 11 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • I. “Central airport (Warner Bros 1933)… Duke had only a non-speaking bit part in this as an injured co-pilot in an aircraft downed at sea.”

    II. “Wayne, in his only sequence in the film, is of a plane that has crashed into the ocean. In an effort to save a hapless and panicked passenger, he vainly attempts a rescue and loses his life. The actor had no dialogue in the film.”

    III. “Primary sources for this filmography are the credits appearing in the films themselves….Central airport John Wayne in non speaking bit as injured co-pilot.”

    IV. “[Cast] John Wayne.”

    With thanks to Elly
    John Wayne Before Stagecoach

    Best Wishes
    London- England