Flying Down to Rio

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Flying Down to Rio (1931) is an early talkie, made just 4 years after the first commercially successful sound movie (see "The Jazz Singer"). A rich Brazilian two-times her fiancé for a dance-band conductor. Notable for the first onscreen partnership of legendary dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

The star actor, playing a poor dance-orchestra conductor, mugs for the camera - indicating an incomplete transition from silent films. In the simply plot, a wealthy Brazilian girl asks the conductor to dance with her, and the hotel manager fires the entire orchestra as punishment for crossing the barrier between guest and employee. The conductor gets work for the band in Rio de Janeiro and flies south with the girl (in a small plane which he pilots) while the rest of the band goes in a separate plane. The engine seems to have trouble, and they land on a convenient beach (actually, just a 5-minute walk from Port-au-Prince airport—see Haiti). Each hopes for a romantic interlude.

Much better acting comes from Fred Astaire, playing the role of a musician. He dances the Carioca, a form of ballroom dancing where the man and woman touch foreheads.

A pre-code film, it openly defies Christian morality, demeaned as the "stupid conventions" of society which block people from the love they really want.