Grisly strangulations in London alert Nayland Smith of Scotland Yard to the possibility of the fiendish Fu Manchu may not be dead after all, even though Smith witnessed his execution. A ... See full summary »
A young girl who lives on a tropical island loses her parents to a voodoo sacrifice, but although she manages to escape the island, a curse is put on her. Years later, as an adult, she ... See full summary »
Larson E. Whipsnade runs a seedy circus which is perpetually in debt. His performers give him nothing but trouble, especially Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Meanwhile, Whipsnade's son ... See full summary »
Edward F. Cline
Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey are the only two cast members who recreated their roles from the stage production. This is their first of many films together as a comedy team. See more »
When we see people dancing at the Fremont Cafe at the start of the movie while the Fremont Bank is being robbed next door, gunshots and shouts are heard on the soundtrack. The dancers however do not react at all to the shots until the next scene when they are seen panicking. See more »
An interesting film for aficionados of film history
Though Rio Rita has a big reputation among aficionados, I think it's probably due more to its success as a stage vehicle than as a film.
Nevertheless, for those who are interested in historical films, I feel Rio Rita serves as a good example of the kinds of obstacles that faced early film makers and actors. As the sound and music was recorded live, there are a number of mistakes, slips and awkward moments. But rather than detract, I think it's interesting to see how the actors and staff negotiated these difficulties. Particularly in the reprise of "Sweetheart We Need Each Other" you can see Dorothy Lee struggling to follow the conductor while Bert Wheeler keeps on distracting her, while Helen Kaiser is clearly trying to follow Lee but both Woolsey and Wheeler keep on getting in her way.
Then there are moments that, because the recording was done live, are just over the top. The most hysterical moment has got to be when, after 5 minutes of singing and tap-dancing in a single take, and then after a series of double summersaults, Bert Wheeler literally jumps on Dorothy Lee's back and rides piggy-back while she resumes singing. Wow!
And of course, with so few surviving films with two-strip Technicolor, it's always interesting to see how early film makers took advantage of it.
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