19 user 7 critic

Rio Rita (1929)

Capt. James Stewart pursues the bandit "The Kinkajou" over the Mexican border and falls in love with Rita. He suspects, that her brother is the bandit.


Luther Reed


Luther Reed (adapted by), Guy Bolton (book) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Bebe Daniels ... Rita Ferguson
John Boles ... Captain Jim Stewart
Bert Wheeler ... Chick Bean
Robert Woolsey ... Ned Lovett
Dorothy Lee ... Dolly Bean
Don Alvarado ... Roberto Ferguson
Georges Renavent Georges Renavent ... General Ravinoff
Helen Kaiser Helen Kaiser ... Mrs. Katie Bean
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tom Smith ... Texas Ranger (as Thomas C. Smith)


Capt. James Stewart pursues the bandit "The Kinkajou" over the Mexican border and falls in love with Rita. He suspects, that her brother is the bandit. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Ziegfeld witchery multiplied a thousand-fold...dwarfing the finest ever seen on stage or screen!(Print Ad- The Daily News,((Ludington, Mich.))6 December 1929) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 September 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Рио Рита See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)


Black and White | Color (2-strip Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


While the longer roadshow version of RIO RITA is still considered lost, two musical numbers that do not appear in the surviving 105 minute version showed up on YouTube. "The Kinkajou" and a Technicolor pirate ship dance number are both available online, but have not been restored back into the film. See more »


One of the Texas Rangers can be clearly seen wearing a large band-aid over his left eye. See more »


Rita Ferguson: Of course I trust you.
Captain Jim Stewart: And you promise that someday maybe...
Rita Ferguson: Someday maybe, I'm going to be your chain and ball.
Captain Jim Stewart: You mean ball and chain.
Rita Ferguson: Oh, yes. That's what I mean.
Captain Jim Stewart: Oh, you darling.
Rita Ferguson: Oh, listen, you cannot make love to me out here.
Captain Jim Stewart: Why not?
Rita Ferguson: There are too many people.
Captain Jim Stewart: Oh, Rita, I'm just dying to take you in my arms.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The print of the film that is shown occasionally on Turner Classic Movies is only 104 minutes, indicating a reduction of about 35 minutes from the film's original running time. See more »


Version of Rio Rita (1942) See more »


(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Tierney
Lyrics by Joseph McCarthy
Performed by Bebe Daniels
See more »

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User Reviews

Wheeler & Woolsey, Not Abbott & Costello
14 January 2019 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Based on the 1927 operetta produced on Broadway by the legendary Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., RIO RITA has a plot that is nonsensical to the modern audience, and songs that will not attract the modern audience, or even the older audience that enjoys Broadway or old movie musicals. It is, to the modern eye an absolute antique. I had a great time.

I enjoyed it because the title role is taken by Bebe Daniels. She had just lost her long-term contract with Paramount because she had no voice. Apparently they hadn't even bothered giving her a test; it was part of a general purging of second-rank stars with expensive contracts that took place at this time. Why pay several thousand dollars a week for Daniels when you could hire her replacement from Broadway for $200? That was good business sense as dictated by the banks which were paying for the wiring of studios and theaters. However, they forgot there's nothing so cheap as a hit, and this was a hit.

The only cast members brought from the Broadway production were the lead comics, Wheeler & Woolsey. Both of them were seasoned performers, put together for the stage production, and their crosstalk routines made them movie stars.

The rest of it involves various unlikely plot devices, with John Boles (borrowed from Universal) as a singing Texas Ranger searching for a bandit called the Kinkajou (who seems to be Miss Daniels' brother) and romancing Bebe; Wheeler as a lawyer robbing Woolsey, who has just gotten married to Dorothy Lee, an an immense set based on the stage production.

Broadway and the movies and acting have changed enormously in the 90 years since this was made, and so this is more of a museum piece than a living, breathing piece of cinema. That's something else I like it for.

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