Rio Rita


2h 15m 1929
Rio Rita

Brief Synopsis

A Texas Ranger finds love while tracking an outlaw.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Musical
Western
Adaptation
Release Date
Sep 15, 1929
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 6 Oct 1929
Production Company
RKO Productions
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Rio Rita by Guy Bolton, Fred Thompson (as produced by Florenz Ziegfeld; New York, 2 Feb 1927).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 15m
Sound
Mono (RCA Photophone System)
Color
Black and White, Color (Technicolor)
Film Length
11,506ft (15 reels)

Synopsis

In a Mexican border town, reward signs are posted for a mysterious bandit known as the Kinkajou. Also in the town is a mysterious Gringo, Jim, who wins the affections of Rita and the hatred of General Ravinoff. Rita refuses to believe the lies of the rascally Ravinoff about Jim until, at a party given at his villa, he offers proof that Jim is a Texas Ranger assigned to arrest her brother (rumored to be the Kinkajou). Broken-hearted, Rita dismisses Jim, but later she saves his life from assassins who lie in wait for him. Ravinoff constructs, on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, a palatial barge, in which he operates a gambling resort, and one evening he stages a party, hoping to impress Rita. Jim appears in disguise, and his explanations bring renewed faith and love. Rita diverts Ravinoff while Jim frees the barge, permitting it to float to the American side. There, Jim unmasks Ravinoff as the Kinkajou, clearing Rita's brother, and a wedding follows with the Texas Rangers officiating.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Musical
Western
Adaptation
Release Date
Sep 15, 1929
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 6 Oct 1929
Production Company
RKO Productions
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Rio Rita by Guy Bolton, Fred Thompson (as produced by Florenz Ziegfeld; New York, 2 Feb 1927).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 15m
Sound
Mono (RCA Photophone System)
Color
Black and White, Color (Technicolor)
Film Length
11,506ft (15 reels)

Articles

Rio Rita (1929)


The still-infant RKO Pictures put itself on the map with this lavish musical adaptation of Flo Ziegfeld's stage hit, complete with 40 minutes of early Technicolor footage. One of the rare film musicals to capture a sense of what Ziegfeld's productions were like, the film featured numbers mostly shot as if on a stage. To star as the Texas Ranger hunting for the masked outlaw the Kinkajou, the studio borrowed John Boles from Universal, a logical choice given his success in earlier musicals like The Desert Song (1929). But they made headlines with their choice of leading lady. To play Rita, the woman courted by Boles even as her brother is under suspicion of being the robber, they cast silent star Bebe Daniels, who had just jumped ship from Paramount, where she had been told she had no career in talking pictures. Although she had yet to speak on screen, she campaigned for the title role and impressed audiences and critics with her easy handling of the musical numbers. The other hit of the film was the comic team of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey, making their film debut after being paired by Ziegfeld for the original stage version. They would become RKO's first big comedy team.

By Frank Miller
Rio Rita (1929)

Rio Rita (1929)

The still-infant RKO Pictures put itself on the map with this lavish musical adaptation of Flo Ziegfeld's stage hit, complete with 40 minutes of early Technicolor footage. One of the rare film musicals to capture a sense of what Ziegfeld's productions were like, the film featured numbers mostly shot as if on a stage. To star as the Texas Ranger hunting for the masked outlaw the Kinkajou, the studio borrowed John Boles from Universal, a logical choice given his success in earlier musicals like The Desert Song (1929). But they made headlines with their choice of leading lady. To play Rita, the woman courted by Boles even as her brother is under suspicion of being the robber, they cast silent star Bebe Daniels, who had just jumped ship from Paramount, where she had been told she had no career in talking pictures. Although she had yet to speak on screen, she campaigned for the title role and impressed audiences and critics with her easy handling of the musical numbers. The other hit of the film was the comic team of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey, making their film debut after being paired by Ziegfeld for the original stage version. They would become RKO's first big comedy team. By Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

One of the very few instances in which a Ziegfeld 1920's stage musical was adapted to film nearly unchanged.

The set used in the final scene is the same as that used in another film's final scene, Dixiana (1930), also with Bebe Daniels.

'Wheeler, Bert' 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.