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Film / Flying Down to Rio

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"My Rio, Rio by the Sea-o,
Flying down to Rio where there's rhythm and rhyme.
Hey feller, twirl that old propeller,
Got to get to Rio and we've got to make time."

A Musical Romantic Comedy from 1933, starring Dolores del Río and Gene Raymond but nowadays remembered more for the appearances of a young Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. In fact, it's the first time they were on-screen together, which is really the movie's main claim to fame (even though they only share one dance number together). The musical directer was Max Steiner.

The real focus of the movie is on the conductor of Fred's (Astaire) band, Roger (Raymond), and rich Brazilian ingénue, Belinha (del Río). He adores her to the point where he gets fired for dancing with her, and she eventually warms up to him, but there's one problem; she's already engaged to Julio (Raul Roulien), her fiancée back home (who happens to be Roger's friend). There's another problem; the hotel the band is playing at (which happens to be owned by Belinha's father) doesn't actually have an entertainment license, which means the big opening could be a big flop. Looks like Roger's going to have to think of something big to make sure his band is a success.


  • Arranged Marriage: Between Julio and Belinha. Roger swears that he'll destroy it.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between both couples.
  • Beta Couple: Fred Ayres and Honey Hale—at least as Implied Love Interests. They don't act overtly lovey-dovey, but they're in each other's company a lot, they dance together (naturally), and the last shot of the film is of them drinking champagne together.
  • Blatant Lies: When the band are sneaking into the hotel for the Grand Opening and have their instruments wrapped up. They're asked what they are and tell very unconvincing lies.
  • The Casanova: Roger. His habit of going after women he shouldn't be with has cost the band a lot of jobs.
  • Dance Sensation: The Carioca.
  • Dog Food Diet: When Fred sees Roger eyeing Belinha, he reminds him, "The last time you had that look, all we had to live on for two weeks was a can of prepared dog food."
  • The Eleven O'Clock Number: "Flying Down to Rio"
  • Elopement: Honey suggests this Julio, but he says that in Brazil that's not how things are done. Afterwards he does follow the plan Honey suggested, but hands Belinha to Roger.
  • Fanservice Costumes: The chorus girls on the plane wings in costumes which would be problematic today.
  • Getting the Boot: When Fred tries to talk to Belinha in the pastry shop, the shop owners throw him out after her aunt starts shouting at him.
  • Gossip Evolution: "Belinha is dancing with the conductor" evolves to "she's going off with a gigolo."
  • Headbutt of Love: Used throughout the "Carioca".
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: First, Roger leaves so Julio and Belinha can be together. Julio sees their farewell kiss and decides to organise an elopement... between Roger and Belinha.
    Julio: Her happiness is my happiness.
  • Involuntary Dance: Fred apparently can't stop his feet from moving when he hears the band practicing, even though he's in the middle of lecturing the Chorus Girls on the importance of concentration.
  • Ladies and Germs/My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    Fred: "Boys, girls and you too, Honey."
  • Loophole Abuse: No entertainment license for the hotel's big opening? Well, there's nothing against hosting an airshow beside the hotel!
  • Love Triangle: Julio <-> Belinha <-> Roger. Roger wins.
  • Malaproper:
    Honey: "It's like finding a noodle in a haystack."
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: Thanks to Gossip Evolution, Roger is mistaken for a gigolo. Belinha's aunt pays him and tells him his "services won't be needed." He quickly picks up on the misunderstanding but doesn't correct her, and instead uses the money to buy Belinha a flower (which she insults and refuses).
  • Moment Killer: Just as Julio and Belinha were getting close and she asks Julio to marry her quickly, Roger comes along.
  • Not So Remote: Belinha and Roger think they've crash-landed on a Deserted Island halfway through the picture... turns out they just landed at the Port-au-Prince golf club.
  • Outside Ride: In The Eleven O'Clock Number, a bunch of Chorus Girls do an aerial dance/display while strapped to the wings of flying biplanes.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Roger, when he was pretending to be the mute pilot. Belinha didn't realise it was him until after he revealed his identity.
  • The Rival: Julio, he starts off slightly bitter towards Roger (Roger is equally bitter) but they both accept the fact and decide that Belinha will make the decision.
  • Romantic False Lead: Julio.
  • Serenade Your Lover: Orchids in Moonlight three times. First is as a solo piano piece from Roger to Belinha; second as a big musical number (without lyrics) from Roger to Belinha and, finally, sung as a solo by Julio to Belinha.
    Julio: "It might make any woman, on a tropical island, fall in love with any man."
  • Sinister Silhouettes: The bad guys in the movie, three top-hatted gentlemen, are mostly seen as this.
  • Title Drop: Roger mentions that "Flying Down to Rio" would be a great name for a song, and it then appears as the final musical piece.