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William A. Seiter
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Aviator and band leader Roger Bond is forever getting his group fired for flirting with the lady guests. When he falls for Brazilian beauty Belinha de Rezende it appears to be for real, even though she is already engaged. His Yankee Clippers band is hired to open the new Hotel Atlântico in Rio and Roger offers to fly Belinha part way home. After a mechanical breakdown and forced landing, Roger is confident and makes his move, but Belinha plays hard to get. She can't seem to decide between Roger and her fiance Júlio. When performing the airborne production number to mark the Hotel's opening, Júlio gets some intriguing ideas... Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
There was a golden age of cinema lasting only four or five years - from the end of the silent era to the beginning of the Hays Code, the severe censorship rules which sought to turn cinema from naughty to nice, but in actuality sapped them of their truth and energy.
`Flying Down to Rio' is a classic pre-Hayes code talkie, and its characters have a quality of frankness which endears them to modern audience far more than many later films, whose stilted, conservative quality is somewhat alienating. You'd be surprised at what they could get away with in those days - it would be forty years before a film could get away with a line like that spoken by a starlet of her South American rivals - `What have those girls got below the equator that we haven't got?'
The film, about a love triangle between a Brazilian woman and two members of a swing band, is of course famous for two things - the slightly surreal sequence in which showgirls ride a biplane down to Rio in Busby Berkley-esque formation, and the debut of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as a screen team. It's no wonder that audiences fell in love with the duo, whose `Carioca' is the highlight of the film.
They only made them like this for a little while - more's the shame!
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