FLYING DOWN TO RIO (1933)


And what a trip it is. Though Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire don’t get top billing (and not even third, that goes to Gene Raymond, Dolores Del Rio and Raul Roulien–who?), what’s amazing is how easy it is to tell why they became major stars and the others went on to vague and not so spectacular careers. Dolores and Gene’s love scenes may be dull and forced, but when Fred and Ginger do the Carioca, all is forgiven. It’s also known for it’s state of the art camera swipes in changing scenes and some other fun camera tricks. There are additional curiosities, including one man checking out another naked man’s package; an early joke of a woman mistaking a black character for a “wild man” and then he exhibits a posh English accent and reveals he’s playing golf; and a chorus line of black dancers doing their own version of the Carioca (the head vocalist is called the Colored Singer in the credits). It ends with a preposterous dance number of wing walkers that takes place too high in the sky for its intended audience to be able to see it. Heavenly.

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