Flying Down to Rio


1h 29m 1933
Flying Down to Rio

Brief Synopsis

A dance-band leader finds love and success in Brazil.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Adaptation
Romantic Comedy
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Dec 29, 1933
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 21 Dec 1933
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on an unpublished play by Anne Caldwell and Louis Brock (copyrighted 18 May 1933), which was based on an original story by Louis Brock.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 29m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

Roger Bond, the playboy leader of the "Yankee Clipper Band," is fired from an engagement in a Miami hotel when he violates the hotel's policy against fraternizing with the guests by dancing with Belinha De Rezende, a beautiful Brazilian woman. Later, Roger arranges for the band to play at a friend's hotel in Rio de Janeiro, and when he discovers that Belinha also wants to go there because her father is ill, he connives to fly her in his two-seater airplane without her vigilante aunt and chaperon, Dona Elena. In spite of warnings from his best friend, Fred Ayers, the band's choreographer and accordian player, Roger fakes engine trouble and lands his airplane (which he has equipped with a piano) on a quiet, moonlit beach in Haiti. Against her better judgment, Belinha allows Roger to romance her with words and music but tells him that, as part of a family arrangement, she must marry a young Brazilian as soon as she reaches Rio. The next morning, Belinha discovers Roger's repair ruse and deserts him to join Dona Elena on the regular flight to Brazil. In Rio, Roger confesses to his friend, Julio Rubeiro, his love of Belinha, unaware that Julio is Belinha's fiancé and that the hotel's financially beleagured owner, Carlos De Rezende, is her father. At a casino gala, while the band's singer, Honey Hale, and Fred investigate their musical competition, Roger is introduced to Belinha by Julio. Although dismayed by his discovery, Roger determines to win Belinha from Julio. Honey and Fred, meanwhile, are pleasantly surprised to discover the "Carioca," a popular local dance. Soon after, a syndicate of Greek financiers and Alfredo Vianna, a local banker, conspire to take over Carlos' hotel. Confident that Carlos will be unable to obtain entertainment permits while the mayor of Rio is out of town, Alfredo arranges for the police to shut down rehearsals for the hotel's opening night show. Roger, however, outsmarts Alfredo by devising a plan whereby the show will be executed on top of a fleet of airplanes while flying over the hotel. Just before the show, Roger receives a letter of gratitude from Carlos and, moved by the old man's words, informs Julio that he is leaving immediately for Buenos Aires. After Roger and Belinha say a tearful goodbye, the show, performed by dozens of chorus girls strapped to the airplanes, proves to be a hit and guarantees Carlos' solvency. Although Honey advises Julio to elope with Belinha, Julio chooses to sacrifice his claim on Belinha and unites her with Roger on board the Buenos Aires-bound airplane. As Roger and Belinha are about to be married by the pilot, Julio jumps out of the airplane and parachutes back to Rio.

Cast

Dolores Del Rio

Belinha De Rezende

Gene Raymond

Roger Bond

Raul Roulien

Julio Rubeiro

Ginger Rogers

Honey Hale

Fred Astaire

Fred Ayers

Blanche Friderici

Dona Elena

Walter Walker

Carlos De Rezende

Etta Moten

Carioca singer

Roy D'arcy

Greek

Maurice Black

Greek

Armand Kaliz

Greek

Paul Porcasi

Mayor

Reginald Barlow

Alfredo Vianna

Eric Blore

Hammerstein's assistant

Alice Gentle

Featured singer

Hazel Hayes

Featured singer

Movita Castañeda

Featured singer

Franklin Pangborn

Hammerstein

Clarence Muse

Haitian golfer

Luis Alberni

Casino manager

Mary Kornman

Belinha's friend

Betty Furness

Belinha's friend

Jose Moreno

Dancer

Bob Cautiero

Dancer

Emilio Fernandez

Dancer

Alphonse De Cruz

Dancer

Connie Thomas

Dancer

Iris Lancaster

Dancer

Jane Gumber

Dancer

Ernesto Piedra

Dancer

Lalo Encinas

Lackey

James Natio

Lackey

Richard Robles

Lackey

Cruz Castro

Lackey

Chita Andrews

Check girl

Harriet Castelo

Check girl

Joe Dominguez

Waiter

John Eberts

Waiter

Frank Lava

Waiter

Andrew Roud

Waiter

Alex Chivra

Waiter

Henry De Silva

Waiter

George Mendoza

Attendant

Wynne Davis

Singer

Bernice Alstock

Singer

Bob Tail

Singer

Norman Bennett

Singer

Mildred Lewis

Singer

William Gavin

Singer

Nina Campana

Mme. Borget-Damas

Leo Artigo

Policeman

Sam Appel

Policeman

Douglas Williams

Policeman

Eddie Arden

Bellhop

Don Marion

Bellhop

Wallace Macdonald

Pilot

Ted Oviat

Mechanic

A. J. Peters

Mechanic

Yankee Clippers

Adrian Rosley

Chiquita

Pauline High

Ruth Riley

Paul Karlesky

Rhea De Shon

Charmayne Gaywood

Sue Romaine

Harvey Karels

Rex Moore

Juan Duval

Alma Travers

Jerry Storm

Lou Valenoi

Laura Morse

Sue Curtis

Vina Gale

Grace Davies

Doris Toddings

Mary Burman

Doreen Doyle

Ella Angelus

Margaret Harding

Mildred Lehrman

Yvonne Girrard

Maria Shelton

Marcelle Force

Celeste Edwards

Patie Ramsdell

Helen Macallister

Don Barry

Lola Durand

Armand Delmar

Mary Bracken

Rita Gordon

Carmen Bailey

Frank Malatesta

Ralph Hornbrook

Bill Fisher

Nina Martell

Victor Sabini

Jack Gargan

Harry Bowen

Barbara Sheldon

Boyd King

Lucille Brown

Helen Collins

Crew

Lucien Andriot

2nd unit Photographer

Ethel Beach

Wardrobe

Jack Beamish

Assistant rec

Mel Berns

Makeup Artist

Lou Brock

Original Story

Lou Brock

Director addl scenes

Lou Brock

Associate Producer

John Bushelen

Contract Writer

Carroll Clark

Art Director

Adele Comandini

Contract Writer

Merian C. Cooper

Executive Producer

Harry Cornbleth

Props

Harry D'arcy

Assistant Director addl scenes

Dick Deval

Background Photographer

Edward Eliscu

Composer

P. J. Faulkner

Recording

Joe Fields

Contract Writer

Kent Fox

Still Photographer

Erwin Gelsey

Screenwriter

Bert Gilroy

Unit Manager

Bert Gilroy

Assistant Director addl scenes

Earl Gordon

Pilot

Gloria Gottshalk

Screenplay clerk

Dave Gould

Dance Director

H. W. Hanemann

Dialogue Director

H. W. Hanemann

Screenwriter

Bob Hess

Boom

Herb Hirst

Loc Manager

Ben Holmes

3rd unit Director

Cyril Hume

Screenwriter

J. Roy Hunt

Photography

Gus Kahn

Composer

Edward Killy

Assistant Director

Jack Kitchin

Editing

Carl Lawrence

Best boy

Thomas Lennon

Contract Writer

Garland E. Lincoln

Pilot

Ray Lissner

Assistant Director

J. D. Lockhart

Stand-in for Gene Raymond

Art Losey

Grip

Wallace Macdonald

Assistant Director 2nd unit

Fred Niblo Jr.

Contract Writer

George Nicholls Jr.

Associate Director

Walter Plunkett

Costumes

Van Nest Polglase

Art Director

Josephine Ramos

Stand-in for Dolores Del Rio

Jack Rand

Pilot

H. Reynolds

Contract Writer

Ray Romero

Makeup

Mark Sandrich

2nd Unit Director

H. A. Shelton

Assistant grip

Gilbert Souto

Contract Writer

Gilbert Souto

Tech

Tillie Starret

Hair

Max Steiner

Music Director

Charles Stiner

Assistant Camera

Harvey Thew

Contract Writer

Ernie Thompson

Assistant propman

Frank Tomick

Pilot

Vern Walker

Photography Effects

Homer Watson

Wardrobe

Al Wetzel

2nd Camera

Paul Wiser

Recording

Vincent Youmans

Composer

Photo Collections

Flying Down to Rio - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from RKO's Flying Down to Rio (1933), starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Adaptation
Romantic Comedy
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Dec 29, 1933
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 21 Dec 1933
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on an unpublished play by Anne Caldwell and Louis Brock (copyrighted 18 May 1933), which was based on an original story by Louis Brock.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 29m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Award Nominations

Best Song

1933

Articles

Flying Down to Rio


One of the most important films in the history of RKO Studios was a lightweight musical called Flying Down to Rio (1933). Not only did it save RKO from bankruptcy, it introduced the movies' greatest dance team. Only the most dedicated film buffs remember who the stars were (Dolores Del Rio, Gene Raymond, and Raul Roulien), but every fan of movie musicals knows that Flying Down to Rio was the first pairing of fourth-billed Ginger Rogers and fifth-billed Fred Astaire.

In the early '30s, "All-talking! All-singing! All-dancing!" was the kind of ad that drew big crowds. Busby Berkeley at Warner Brothers led the way, into wildly improbable musical extravaganzas, and all the other studios followed. RKO, just five years old and struggling, wanted to get in on the musical action, so studio chief David O. Selznick signed Broadway musical star Fred Astaire to make his film debut in Flying Down to Rio.

Astaire and his sister and dancing partner Adele had been Broadway's top musical stars, until Adele decided to retire from the stage and marry a British nobleman in 1931. Fred was looking for new worlds to conquer, and film offered that opportunity. But by the time he arrived in Hollywood, Selznick had left RKO for MGM. He had been succeeded as RKO studio head by Merian C. Cooper, the producer of King Kong (1933), formerly a journalist, explorer, and aviator. Cooper wasn't particularly interested in musicals, but producer Lou Brock managed to convince him to go ahead with Flying Down to Rio by describing a spectacular finale involving an aerial circus.

While the film was being prepared, Selznick knew that Astaire was at loose ends for a couple of weeks, so he asked Astaire to play himself, dancing with Joan Crawford in the lavish MGM musical Dancing Lady (1933). That film became Astaire's movie debut, but Flying Down to Rio actually gave him his first role of consequence...if, indeed, the wisp of a plot can be said to have any consequence. Gene Raymond plays a bandleader and aviator who falls for Brazilian beauty Del Rio. Astaire is Raymond's sidekick and member of his band, and Rogers is the band vocalist. The band ends up in Rio de Janeiro, and Del Rio is torn between Raymond and her fiance, Roulien.

Dorothy Jordan was supposed to play the vocalist, but she decided to marry Merian Cooper and go on a honeymoon instead. Unlike Astaire, Ginger Rogers was already a movie veteran, having appeared in 19 films. Only two of them were musicals, including the film that started the whole musicals craze, 42nd Street (1933), and Gold Diggers of 1933, in which she famously sang "We're in the Money" in pig latin. Astaire and Rogers had known each other in New York, and had even dated before she went to Hollywood. They were happy to be working together, but never imagined that this would be the beginning of a great movie partnership. After all, they weren't romantically teamed in Flying Down to Rio, and they danced together only once, and briefly. Those mistakes would be more than rectified in their nine subsequent films together.

Astaire also formed another relationship on Flying Down to Rio that would become enormously important to his career. The assistant to choreographer Dave Gould was a young dancer and choreographer named Hermes Pan. He and Astaire quickly realized they had similar ideas about dance on film, and they would work on 17 films together. It was Pan who came up with the idea for Astaire and Rogers to dance with their foreheads pressed together in "The Carioca" number in Flying Down to Rio.

In spite of the fact that RKO was in financial trouble, it spared no expense on Flying Down to Rio: music by Vincent Youmans (his final score before retiring due to health problems); dozens of dancers; second-unit photography in Brazil, which provided authentic backgrounds; enormous, dazzlingly white Art Deco sets representing hotels, ballrooms and nightclubs in Miami and Rio de Janeiro; and -- as promised -- the title number, with chorus girls dancing precariously on the wings of airplanes. The number was actually a combination of wide shots done in Malibu, and process shots in a hangar, with the planes suspended by wires only a few feet off the ground.

The stunning Deco sets were possible thanks to improvements in film stock and lighting, which allowed the use of white. Cinematographers experimented with this new stock, and art directors created sparkling fantasies for them to photograph. RKO art directors Van Nest Polglase and Carroll Clark became the acknowledged masters of the style, which came to be known as "Big White Sets." Most Astaire-Rogers films contained a Big White Set -- in Flying Down to Rio, they danced on seven white pianos in the "Carioca Casino," surrounded by hordes of dancers. The only disappointment of the Astaire-Rogers Carioca is that there's not more of it. The number goes on and on, but their participation is minimal. But even in those few minutes, it was clear to audiences that the couple had an irresistible chemistry. Flying Down to Rio was a big hit, Astaire and Rogers were a bigger one, and "the Carioca" became a dance craze. RKO emerged from receivership, and became a leader in musical films in the 1930s -- mainly on the strength of the Astaire-Rogers films.

Producer: Lou Brock
Director: Thornton Freedland
Screenplay: Cyril Hume, H.W. Hanemann, Erwin Gelsey (based on a play by Anne Caldwell, from an original story by Lou Brock)
Editor: Jack Kitchin
Cinematography: J. Roy Hunt
Costume Design: Walter Plunkett
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase, Carroll Clark
Music: Vincent Youmans, lyrics by Edward Eliscu, Gus Kahn
Principal Cast: Dolores del Rio (Belinha de Rezende), Gene Raymond (Roger Bond), Raul Roulien (Julio Rubeiro), Ginger Rogers (Honey Hale), Fred Astaire (Fred Ayres), Blanche Frederici (Dona Elena), Franklin Pangborn (Mr. Hammerstein), Eric Blore (Assistant Hotel Manager).
BW-90m. Closed captioning.

by Margarita Landazuri
Flying Down To Rio

Flying Down to Rio

One of the most important films in the history of RKO Studios was a lightweight musical called Flying Down to Rio (1933). Not only did it save RKO from bankruptcy, it introduced the movies' greatest dance team. Only the most dedicated film buffs remember who the stars were (Dolores Del Rio, Gene Raymond, and Raul Roulien), but every fan of movie musicals knows that Flying Down to Rio was the first pairing of fourth-billed Ginger Rogers and fifth-billed Fred Astaire. In the early '30s, "All-talking! All-singing! All-dancing!" was the kind of ad that drew big crowds. Busby Berkeley at Warner Brothers led the way, into wildly improbable musical extravaganzas, and all the other studios followed. RKO, just five years old and struggling, wanted to get in on the musical action, so studio chief David O. Selznick signed Broadway musical star Fred Astaire to make his film debut in Flying Down to Rio. Astaire and his sister and dancing partner Adele had been Broadway's top musical stars, until Adele decided to retire from the stage and marry a British nobleman in 1931. Fred was looking for new worlds to conquer, and film offered that opportunity. But by the time he arrived in Hollywood, Selznick had left RKO for MGM. He had been succeeded as RKO studio head by Merian C. Cooper, the producer of King Kong (1933), formerly a journalist, explorer, and aviator. Cooper wasn't particularly interested in musicals, but producer Lou Brock managed to convince him to go ahead with Flying Down to Rio by describing a spectacular finale involving an aerial circus. While the film was being prepared, Selznick knew that Astaire was at loose ends for a couple of weeks, so he asked Astaire to play himself, dancing with Joan Crawford in the lavish MGM musical Dancing Lady (1933). That film became Astaire's movie debut, but Flying Down to Rio actually gave him his first role of consequence...if, indeed, the wisp of a plot can be said to have any consequence. Gene Raymond plays a bandleader and aviator who falls for Brazilian beauty Del Rio. Astaire is Raymond's sidekick and member of his band, and Rogers is the band vocalist. The band ends up in Rio de Janeiro, and Del Rio is torn between Raymond and her fiance, Roulien. Dorothy Jordan was supposed to play the vocalist, but she decided to marry Merian Cooper and go on a honeymoon instead. Unlike Astaire, Ginger Rogers was already a movie veteran, having appeared in 19 films. Only two of them were musicals, including the film that started the whole musicals craze, 42nd Street (1933), and Gold Diggers of 1933, in which she famously sang "We're in the Money" in pig latin. Astaire and Rogers had known each other in New York, and had even dated before she went to Hollywood. They were happy to be working together, but never imagined that this would be the beginning of a great movie partnership. After all, they weren't romantically teamed in Flying Down to Rio, and they danced together only once, and briefly. Those mistakes would be more than rectified in their nine subsequent films together. Astaire also formed another relationship on Flying Down to Rio that would become enormously important to his career. The assistant to choreographer Dave Gould was a young dancer and choreographer named Hermes Pan. He and Astaire quickly realized they had similar ideas about dance on film, and they would work on 17 films together. It was Pan who came up with the idea for Astaire and Rogers to dance with their foreheads pressed together in "The Carioca" number in Flying Down to Rio. In spite of the fact that RKO was in financial trouble, it spared no expense on Flying Down to Rio: music by Vincent Youmans (his final score before retiring due to health problems); dozens of dancers; second-unit photography in Brazil, which provided authentic backgrounds; enormous, dazzlingly white Art Deco sets representing hotels, ballrooms and nightclubs in Miami and Rio de Janeiro; and -- as promised -- the title number, with chorus girls dancing precariously on the wings of airplanes. The number was actually a combination of wide shots done in Malibu, and process shots in a hangar, with the planes suspended by wires only a few feet off the ground. The stunning Deco sets were possible thanks to improvements in film stock and lighting, which allowed the use of white. Cinematographers experimented with this new stock, and art directors created sparkling fantasies for them to photograph. RKO art directors Van Nest Polglase and Carroll Clark became the acknowledged masters of the style, which came to be known as "Big White Sets." Most Astaire-Rogers films contained a Big White Set -- in Flying Down to Rio, they danced on seven white pianos in the "Carioca Casino," surrounded by hordes of dancers. The only disappointment of the Astaire-Rogers Carioca is that there's not more of it. The number goes on and on, but their participation is minimal. But even in those few minutes, it was clear to audiences that the couple had an irresistible chemistry. Flying Down to Rio was a big hit, Astaire and Rogers were a bigger one, and "the Carioca" became a dance craze. RKO emerged from receivership, and became a leader in musical films in the 1930s -- mainly on the strength of the Astaire-Rogers films. Producer: Lou Brock Director: Thornton Freedland Screenplay: Cyril Hume, H.W. Hanemann, Erwin Gelsey (based on a play by Anne Caldwell, from an original story by Lou Brock) Editor: Jack Kitchin Cinematography: J. Roy Hunt Costume Design: Walter Plunkett Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase, Carroll Clark Music: Vincent Youmans, lyrics by Edward Eliscu, Gus Kahn Principal Cast: Dolores del Rio (Belinha de Rezende), Gene Raymond (Roger Bond), Raul Roulien (Julio Rubeiro), Ginger Rogers (Honey Hale), Fred Astaire (Fred Ayres), Blanche Frederici (Dona Elena), Franklin Pangborn (Mr. Hammerstein), Eric Blore (Assistant Hotel Manager). BW-90m. Closed captioning. by Margarita Landazuri

Quotes

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. This is really good news. Rog has outdone himself.
- Fred Ayres
I'll bet he's broken both legs running after two women at the same time.
- Honey Hale
Nothing of the kind. He's landed us a job in Rio. Rio de Janeiro. The Hotel Atlantico. We'll be flying down any morning now.
- Fred Ayres
And swimming back in the afternoon. I'm taking my water-wings.
- Honey Hale

Trivia

In the original prints, the "Orchids in the Moonlight" number was color tinted.

Joel McCrea was originally slated for the role of Roger Bond.

Originally conceived of as a vehicle for RKO's Dolores Del Rio this film is most notable for its star-making pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The two relative unknowns smoked up the screen in a dance number called "The Carioca" that generated such a positive response form critics and fans that they were eventually reunited in nine subsequent films.

Notes

According to a Film Daily news item, executive producer Merian C. Cooper hired writer Anne Caldwell to develop a story for a musical from an idea devised by associate producer Louis Brock. Onscreen credits indicate that Caldwell wrote a play based on Brock's screen story. The copyright record states that the film was based on a play by Caldwell and Brock, which was based on Brock's original story. No evidence that the play was ever produced theatrically has been found.

       Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made their debut as an entertainment team in this picture. (Although Rogers had made more than twenty films prior to Flying Down to Rio, Astaire had appeared briefly in only one film, M-G-M's 1933 musical Dancing Lady.) The Variety review said of the film: "The main point of Flying Down to Rio is the screen promise of Fred Astaire. That should be about as important to Radio as the fact that this picture is not destined for big grosses, because the studio May eventually do things with this lad." Contrary to Variety's gloomy predictions about the box office, the film was a hit and helped RKO to avoid bankruptcy and receivership. A news item in Film Daily mentioned that, as a result of the success of Flying Down to Rio, the real mayor of Rio de Janeiro offered to name a city in Brazil after Brock.

       Contemporary news items report the following information about the production: Prior to principal photography, cameramen J. Roy Hunt and Dick Deval spent one month in Rio de Janeiro taking footage for scenes in the film. Cyril Hume replaced Erwin Gelsey as the writer of the screen treatment after Gelsey was hospitalized for injuries suffered in an automobile accident. Gene Raymond replaced Joel McCrea in the lead; one news item claimed that the substitution was due to scheduling difficulties, while another cited Raymond's piano playing abilities as the reason. RKO withdrew William Cagney from the cast because his part was "not important enough." Writer H. W. Hanemann, who received a screen credit with Gelsey and Hume, was also assigned to "sit in" as a dialogue director on the production. Mark Sandrich, who later directed many of the Rogers-Astaire pictures, was assigned to direct a second production unit. When a third unit was added, directed by Ben Holmes, Sandrich was quoted as saying, "One more unit and Lou Brock will have it split into molecules." Composer Vincent Youmans wrote two songs for the production that were not included in the final film: "The Guest Is Always Right" and "The Streets of Rio." His song "Carioca" was nominated for an Academy Award. Other actors who were announced as cast members but did not participate in the filming include Arline Judge, Pert Kelton, Helen Broderick and Chick Chandler. Because of a "chorus girl" shortage in Hollywood, producer Brock and a cameraman went to Texas to scout for possible casting additions. Out of 1,500 women who applied, 100 were tested. According to a Film Daily news item, Dorothy Trail was cast in the film after her father, responding to a radio broadcast in which Brock announced that RKO was searching for "brunettes," sent her to Hollywood from Arkansas. Her participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Singer and dancer Mowita Castenada was "discovered" by RKO producer Pandro S. Berman while attending a RKO sales meeting in San Francisco. Alice Gentle and Hazel Hayes were well-known opera singers. Contemporary news items add Margaret Mearing and Enrico Caruso, Jr. to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to studio production files, scenes were shot at Malibu Beach and Mountains, Cabrillo near San Diego, the Ambassador Auditorium in Los Angeles and in Miami, FL. Aircraft used in the film included Waco Sport, Fairchild 71, Buhl Pup and Stinson Detroiter, according to production files. Although not seen in the viewed print, color tinting was added to the film for the "Orchids in the Moonlight" sequence, according to Variety.

       Modern sources add the following information about the production: Brock convinced Merian Cooper, a member of the board of directors of Pan American Airways and a lover of adventure stories, to undertake the musical by emphasizing its aviation elements and setting it in an exotic location. (Pan American had begun service from Miami to the South American coast in 1932, and its "clipper" aircraft were used in the film.) Financial troubles at RKO ruled out Brock's plan to shoot the musical in three-color Technicolor. Because Dorothy Jordan had understudied Fred Astaire's sister Adele in the stage play Funny Face, she was considered for the role of "Honey." Her marriage to Cooper prior to production curtailed her participation in the film, however. Astaire had met Rogers in 1930 while restaging one of her numbers from the 1930 Gershwin Broadway musical Girl Crazy. (Another source states that the duo met while performing in the 1931 Broadway show Top Speed.) In his autobiography, Astaire claims that the studio cast Rogers, who had just signed a seven-year contract with RKO, only days before rehearsals were scheduled to begin. Rogers, who was trying to start a career in dramatic film acting, was less than thrilled about performing in a musical but told Astaire she thought the project might be fun. Astaire began his long-term collaboration with Hermes Pan on this production. Astaire says in his autobiography: "Dave Gould was assigned as dance director but I did most of my work with his assistant, Hermes Pan." Because Rogers was working on other films while Flying Down to Rio was in pre-production, Pan had to rehearse her dance steps with Astaire and then teach her the routines just before shooting. Pan reportedly came up with the idea for the part of the "Carioco" number in which Astaire and Rogers touch heads and make turns without losing contact. In addition to Pan, Astaire also met and worked with pianist and musical arranger Hal Borne for the first time on this film. Borne appears briefly in the film playing the piano. As part of his role in the 1931 musical The Band Wagon, Astaire learned how to play the accordian and played it during his scenes in Flying Down to Rio.

       Dissatisfied with his performance in the film, as well as his screen persona, Astaire left for London immediately after shooting ended and revived his starring role in the stage musical The Gay Divorce. To his surprise, the film's previews were well received, and Pandro S. Berman sent a wire to London assuring the dancer of his success. Astaire and Rogers' dance duet in the film, "The Carioca," dazzled audiences and created a "Carioca" dance craze around the country. To capitalize on the dance craze and Rogers and Astaire's sudden popularity, studio publicists billed the burgeoning team as "The King and Queen of 'The Carioca.'" In addition, Berman went immediately to see Astaire in The Gay Divorce, while RKO signed him to a contract. The film's most notable line, which is spoken by one of Belinha's friends in the Miami hotel, "What have these South Americans got below the equator that we haven't?" was disapproved of by both censors and reviewers. The film's final "aviation" sequence was shot in an airplane hangar and used suspended airplanes and wind machines. Back-projection and process shots were also used in the sequence.

       Modern sources add the following actors to the cast list: Ray Cooke (Banjo player), Gino Corrado (Messenger), Harry Semels (Sign poster), Jack Rice (Musician), Martha La Venture (Dancer), Sidney Bracey (Rodriquez, chauffeur), Manuel Paris (Man at Aviators' Club), The Brazilian Turunas (Band), and Howard Wilson, Francisco Moran, Carol Tevis, Eddie Tamblyn, Alice Ardell, Rafael Alvir, Eddie Boland, Julian Rivero and Pedro Regas. Modern source crew credits include Mus rec Murray Spivack, Miniatures Don Jahraus, Researcher Elizabeth McGaffey, Make-up Mel Berns, Still photog John Miehle. According to Variety, RKO withdrew Flying Down to Rio from theatrical circulation in 1980 because of perceived overexposure. For more information on the Astaire-Rogers teaming at RKO, see listing below for Top Hat.