Saturday, February 7, 2009

Flying Down to Rio - 1933

Since, I enjoyed Carefree so much, I decided to watch Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' first pairing: RKO's 1933 film Flying Down to Rio. In fact, this movie was Fred Astaire's screen debut, although Ginger had many previous film credits to her name. Fred and Ginger were not the stars of this film, though. The action focused on a love triangle between beautiful Dolores del Rio and her Brazilian fiance (Raul Roulien) and an American bandleader/aviator (Gene Raymond). Fred and Ginger provided some lively singing and dancing in the context of the plot.

The movie features two big production numbers. "The Carioca" is Fred and Ginger's first dance together:

Courtesy of RetroArcaicoRex on YouTube.

The big finale features girls "dancing" on the wings of airplanes:

Courtesy of AnnaMayWongSociety on YouTube.

Both of these productions, and the whole movie, are beautiful, glamorous, and even humorous. This was one movie I really wish could have been in color. Although it was spectacular in black and white, I can only imagine how gorgeous the 1930s costumes would have been in color. This must have been a welcome distraction for the nation at the height of the Great Depression.

Astonishingly, this movie, like It's Always Fair Weather, made mention of Schenectady! A Brazilian bandleader told the American band he had played in Ska-neck-teddy!

This DVD, like the one for Carefree, also included some bonuses: a Three Stooges short and a Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon, "I Like Mountain Music" from 1933 :

Courtesy of ErgoB on YouTube.

I enjoyed this cartoon because it featured characters from magazines in a drugstore coming to life (but be forewarned - it also has the obligatory offensive racial stereotypes).

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