Flying Down to Rio (1933)
Notable for the first on-screen teaming of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire this average light Musical comedy’s story revolves around a romantic entanglement between top billed Dolores del Rio and Gene Raymond. It was directed by Thornton Freeland and not only features the Academy Award nominated song “Carioca” but some terrifically creative “airborne” choreographically (e.g. dancing girls on the wings of bi-planes) during the title number. Fred & Ginger’s dancing during the Oscar nominated song led to nine more pairings by the two many of which also included comedic character actor Eric Blore; it’s the first of two (the second being Carefree (1938)) with Franklin Pangborn (playing a befuddled manager at a hotel naturally) who was uncredited in this one.
Del Rio plays a Brazilian beauty that skirt chasing bandleader Raymond falls in love with before finding out once in Rio that she’s engaged to a friend of his played by singer Raul Roulien. Raymond’s commingling with hotel guests gets him in trouble and his band fired everywhere they go. Rogers is the band’s singer Astaire the bandleader’s best friend and backup conductor. Del Rio’s character flirts with Raymond’s for the benefit of some friends who think he’s cute causing Pangborn and his assistant & head waiter Blore to fire him. His friend Roulien gets him a gig at a hotel opening in Rio and pilot Raymond finagles a way to get Ms. del Rio to fly down alone with him in his plane. Of course the airplane has engine trouble and must land on a seemingly deserted island so that romance can ensue. When all arrive in Rio the love triangle between friends Raymond & Roulien and Ms. del Rio involves the usual with plenty of musical numbers sprinkled in including the aforementioned “history making” pairing of Astaire and Rogers. There’s also a contrived subplot which includes some Greek businessmen who want to prevent the hotel’s opening so that the entertainment must take to the air … and even the outcome of the film’s romance involves an aerial stunt.