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Flying Down to Rio

   

Flying Down to Rio (1933) starring Dolores Del Rio, Gene Raymond, Raul Roulien, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers

Synopsis of Flying Down to Rio

Flying down to Rio is an RKO musical, built around a romantic triangle.  The main characters are played by Dolores del Rio, Gene Raymond and Raul Roulien. But it’s remembered for the third- and fourth-billed couple.  Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are paired for the first time, and steal the show. When the film ends, the last image we see isn’t the leads. It’s Fred and Ginger.

Product Description 

Dancing on the plane wing in "Flying Down to Rio"

“We’ll show them a thing or three,” Honey Hale (Ginger Rogers) says as she and Fred Ayres (Fred Astaire) take to the dance floor to do the carioca. As events turned out, Astaire and Rogers showed us three times three more, making nine other films together after their breakthrough first screen teaming in Flying Down to Rio. “Too big for the Earth, so they staged it in the sky!” ads declared for this spirit-lifter with a swell Vincent Youmans score and built around a romantic triangle played by Dolores del Rio, Gene Raymond and Raul Roulien. It also includes a dandy production number in which chorines soar on airplane wings. Rogers and Astaire are fourth- and fifth-billed, but their magic was undeniable. When the film ends, the last image we see isn’t the leads. It’s Fred and Ginger.

Cast

  • Dolores del Rio (Bird of Paradise) … Belinha De Rezende
  • Gene Raymond … Roger Bond
  • Raul Roulien … Julio Rubeiro
  • Ginger Rogers (Kitty Foyle, The Major and the Minor) … Honey Hale
  • Fred Astaire (The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle) … Fred Ayres
  • Blanche Friderici (It Happened One Night) … Dona Elena De Rezende
  • Walter Walker (The Count of Monte Cristo 1934) … Senor De Rezende
  • Etta Moten … The Colored Singer
  • Roy D’Arcy … One of the Three Greeks
  • Maurice Black (Bonnie Scotland) … One of the Three Greeks
  • Armand Kaliz (Little Caesar) … One of the Three Greeks
  • Paul Porcasi … The Mayor
  • Reginald Barlow (The Bride of Frankenstein) Reginald Barlow … The Banker
  • Eric Blore (Top Hat) … The Head Waiter

Songs

  • Music Makes Me (1933)
    • Music by Vincent Youmans
    • Lyrics by Gus Kahn and Edward Eliscu
    • Performed by Ginger Rogers
  • Carioca (1933)
    • Music by Vincent Youmans
    • Lyrics by Gus Kahn and Edward Eliscu
    • Song performed by Alice Gentle, Movita and Etta Moten
    • Dance performed by Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, chorus
  • Orchids in the Moonlight (1933)
    • Music by Vincent Youmans
    • Lyrics by Gus Kahn and Edward Eliscu
    • Performed by Raul Roulien
    • Danced by Fred Astaire and Dolores del Rio with Ensemble
  • Music Makes Me (1933)
    • Instrumental reprise
    • Music by Vincent Youmans
    • Lyrics by Gus Kahn and Edward Eliscu
    • Sung by Ginger Rogers
    • Dance performed by Fred Astaire
  • Flying Down to Rio (1933)
    • Music by Vincent Youmans
    • Lyrics by Gus Kahn and Edward Eliscu
    • Song performed by Fred Astaire
    • Dance performed by chorus

Editorial review of Flying Down to Rio courtesy of Amazon.com

In 1933, RKO Pictures had the bright idea of pairing Dolores Del Rio and Gene Raymond for their new musical blockbuster, Flying Down to Rio. The film was a smash, but not for the reasons anyone expected. The fourth- and fifth-billed stars were an RKO bit player and a Broadway man breaking into Hollywood. Their names were Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and their pairing in this and eight subsequent RKO films would rewrite cinematic history. Most of Rio‘s screen time is spent on a humdrum romantic triangle involving Del Rio, Raymond, and Raul Roulien, but Fred (as Fred Ayres) and Ginger (as Honey Hayes) are still able to establish many of the trademarks of their later films.

Ginger fronts the band (with Fred on accordian!) in the saucy “Music Makes Me,” and Fred does some solo tap, then sings and leads the band for the spectacular airborne finale featuring chorus girls perched on the wings of biplanes. The heart of the film is “The Carioca,” a company dance extravaganza that would be imitated by “The Continental” and “The Piccolino” in later films. Here Fred and Ginger take the floor together for the first time; their eyes meet and their foreheads touch. Their dance lasts only a few minutes, but it was the highlight of the film and audiences wanted more.

The most prophetic moment occurs toward the beginning of the dance, when, after watching for a while, Fred grabs Ginger and tells her, “I want to try this. Come on, Honey.” She declares, “We’ll show ’em a thing or three.” They did indeed. It was magic, and it was only the beginning. –David Horiuchi

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