Girl from Rio (1939)

Approved  |   |  Action, Crime, Music  |  7 August 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.5/10 from 40 users  
Reviews: 4 user

A girl who is a famous singer in Brazil comes to New York to help clear her brother, who has been charged with arson and murder.



(original story and screenplay), (original story and screenplay)
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Directors: Lewis Milestone, Carol Reed
Stars: Marlon Brando, Trevor Howard, Richard Harris


Credited cast:
Alan Baldwin ...
Carlos Romero aka Carl Templeton
Kay Linaker ...
Clay Clement ...
'Mitch' Mitchell
Pamela Blake ...
Annette Templeton (as Adele Pearce)
Soledad Jiménez ...
Lola, Marquita's Maid
Richard Tucker ...
Roger Montgomery
Edward Peil Sr. ...
Tony - Band Leader
Eddie Kane ...
First Booking Agent
Lee Phelps ...
Dennis Slater
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Byron Foulger ...


Marquita Romero, a South American singer in New York, is striving to secure the release of her brother, Carlos, who has been framed on an arson charge through the conniving of the owner of a night club whose sideline racket is collecting insurance on arson fires he has created. She is aided by Steven Ward, who with the help of an investigator for the insurance company, plans to get the evidence on the racketeer by having Marquita getting a job as a singer in the nightclub. She secures the needed proof in the form of a stamp collection in the gangster's safe that the insurance had been collected on. Meanwhile, the crook's jealous girlfriend has discovered Maquita's plan and has blown the whistle on her. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Crime | Music | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vénus dos Trópicos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Trying desperately to cash in on the Miranda craze!
19 June 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

In the late 1930s, Carmen Miranda was a VERY hot item. In Brazil, she was queen of the Samba—and folks in the States really loved her as well. Her popularity was such that Twentieth Century-Fox gave her a HUGE contract to come to America even though she could barely speak English! And, her films were immensely popular and made a mint for the studio. At the same time, several other studios attempted to create their own Carmen Mirandas—with much less success. One was Movita*—whose only real similarity to Miranda were her apparent Brazilian roots. But her singing and style were NOTHING like the real thing—and this film is ample proof why she, too, didn't become a household name.

The film begins with a horrid scene. Movita was talking to her immensely untalented maid. I say immensely untalented because the lady simply could not deliver her lines—stumbling over them and sounding about as convincing as Mr. Potatohead! At least this helped to make Movita look much more talented by comparison.

The story is about the lady's brother. He's in America—held in prison on arson and murder charges! When Movita learns of this, she leaves her lucrative career in Brazil and zips to America. She soon learns that her brother in married (you'd sure think she'd know about this considering it's been five months) and moves in with his wife. Later, with the help of her friend (Warren Hull), Movita gets a job at a nightclub in order to do some undercover work to prove her brother's innocence. In the process, she sings lots of songs (none of which sound the least bit like the Samba) and miraculously saves the day.

So is there anything to recommend the film? Nothing especially, though occasionally the film is mildly interesting. Unfortunately, as Movita has little charisma in the film and her singing is pretty awful, I can easily understand how this one slipped under the radar! Not terrible…but not at all good. And, a film with a terrible ending that I would have a hard time describing—it's that dumb. For Movita groupies only.

By the way, it was inexplicable that the secret code spoken by Movita was in Spanish, not Portuguese. Didn't the folks who made this film know that folks in Brazil do NOT speak Spanish?! So, would you like to know where in Brazil Movita hailed? Arizona, USA, actually!! This lady later went on to become Mrs. Marlon Brando and is the last remaining living member of the cast of "Mutiny on the Bounty". Because she was not Brazilian, you have to feel sorry for her and can understand why the film turned out father poorly.

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