‘Flying Down to Rio’ (Film)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

To Rio by the Sea-O

It’s time for the well-known movie dancing duo – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers!

My Dad loves the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films from the 1930s and 1940s. That’s why he got the complete film collection of ‘Astaire and Rogers’ on DVD shipped to him from America. He also got the movie ‘Swing Time’ on Blu-ray. The ‘Astaire and Rogers’ DVD box set contains 10 films in it! 🙂

The Astaire and Rogers films are very special as well as unique. They’re of their time but they also feature some wonderful music numbers performed by the two actors/singers/dancers. I first came across Fred Astaire when he starred with Bing Crosby in the famous Christmas classic ‘Holiday Inn’. 🙂

The first time I came across Ginger Rogers was when seeing her in a film with Fred Astaire called ‘Carefree’, which is a part of the ‘Astaire and Rogers’ complete film collection on DVD. I later saw her in movies directed by Busby Berkley as part of ‘The Busby Berkley Collection’. I enjoyed her in those.

The ten movies contained in the ‘Astaire and Rogers’ complete film DVD collection are as follows. There’s ‘Flying Down to Rio’, ‘The Gay Divorcee’, ‘Roberta’, ‘Top Hat’, ‘Follow The Fleet’, ‘Swing Time’, ‘Shall We Dance’, ‘Carefree’, ‘The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle’ and ‘The Barkleys of Broadway’. There’s also the bonus DVD – ‘Astaire and Rogers: Partners in Rhythm’ – and a music CD.

The films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are musical comedies. I hope to share what I like about these musical comedies and why they remain timeless for some people. Can they still be considered as movie classics or be forgotten about in the mists of time? I hope these movies won’t be forgotten.

The first movie ‘Flying Down to Rio’ doesn’t have a lot of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in them. This was the first time they did a film together, but Fred and Ginger aren’t like the main stars overall.

The film stars Dolores Del Rio with Gene Raymond, Raul Roulien, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. The music is by Vincent Youmans. If I have to be honest, I found ‘Flying Down to Rio’ pretty average.

Don’t get me wrong! I enjoyed the film in a strange kind of way. And it was listening to see Fred and Ginger as supporting characters instead of main stars. But the film wasn’t that very exciting enough.

The film focuses on Gene Raymond as composer Roger Bond and his orchestra performing in Miami. Fred Astaire stars as Fred Ayres the assistant band leader whilst Ginger Rogers is singer Honey Hales.

Roger Bond becomes attracted to the beautiful and flirtatious Dolores del Rio as Belinha De Rezende in the audience. But Belinha is forbidden to dance with anyone since she’s engaged to someone else.

Eventually, Roger finds himself dancing with Belinha, much to her chaperone’s disappointment. Roger also pursues Belinha by getting her to fly in his private plane. These two end up on this island.

Okay, I think one of the issues I have with this film is the romance between Dolores del Rio and Gene Raymond’s characters. I couldn’t really feel for them since the chemistry between them isn’t strong.

I felt more for Fred and Ginger’s relationship in this film compared to theirs. It was also intriguing to see Fred and Ginger as an established couple unlike the other films where they don’t like each other.

Fred and Ginger also get to have their own dance number which is when they dance to the Carioca at a hotel in Brazil. They’re also joined by an instrument; an ensemble and an Etta Moten in the film.

Dolores del Rio is the main leading lady of the film and is considered a cinema legend I believe. By the way, it’s funny how the film’s title’s called ‘Flying Down to Rio’ with the leading lady named ‘Rio’.

Gene Raymond is the main male lead in the film and is arguably Fred Astaire’s best friend as a character. Roger Bond is instantly infatuated with Belinha when he goes search for her in the movie.

Raul Roulien stars as Julio Rubeiro, who happens to be Belinha’s fiancé as well as Roger Bond’s friend I believe. Julio ends up having Roger and Belinha married together and he bails out of a plane.

I’m surprised the film wasn’t brave enough to have Belinha go with Julio instead of Roger. I would’ve gone with Belinha ending up married to Julio since he seems a nice, decent chap compared to Roger.

Ginger Roger’s Honey Hale character is quite likeable in the film as well as Fred Astaire’s Fred Ayres. As well as dancing with Fred, Ginger also sings the song ‘Music Makes Me’ early on during the movie.

Fred Astaire’s character of Fred Ayres is annoyed by Roger Bond’s desires for Belinha as a romantic partner. Fred also gets to sing the song ‘Flying Down to Rio’ before the main airplane stunts begin. 🙂

Yeah, ‘Flying Down to Rio’ is probably well-known for the most insane musical number ever achieved where a number of girls are dancing on a number of planes. I imagine they were filmed all in studios.

I hope those poor ladies weren’t actually on the planes in the air as that would’ve been dangerous, unless they were professionals. Some of those ladies were in bathing suits, I believe. Pretty saucy! 😀

The film also features Blanche Friderici as Doña Elena, Belinha’s chaperone. There’s also Walter Walker as De Rezende, Belinha’s father and there’s Eric Blore as Butterbass, one of the waiters here.

Eric Blore would appear in more Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers films over the years. Another song featured in the film is ‘Orchids in Moonlight’ which is sung by Raul Roulien to Dolores del Rio in this.

I like how the film concludes with Fred and Ginger’s characters looking up and seeing Raul Roulien as Julio bailing out of a plane once seeing Roger and Belinha married. It’s good the film ends with them.

‘Flying Down to Rio’ is a decent but pretty average musical film. I wouldn’t call it great but it did start a partnership between two dance partners that would enchant millions. Good stuff was on its way. 🙂

The DVD special features are as follows. On the ‘Flying Down to Rio’ disc in ‘Astaire and Rogers: The Complete Film Collection’ DVD box set, there’s the vintage comedy short ‘Beer and Pretzels’ with Ted Healy and his Stooges. There’s also the classic cartoon ‘I Like Mountain Music’ and a theatrical trailer for the film.

‘Flying Down to Rio’ rating – 7/10

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