Cast & Crew
S. Z. Sakall
J. Carrol Naish
American nightclub entertainer Larry Martin, who has been working in Rio de Janeiro for six months, delights audiences with his impersonation of Baron Manual Duarte, a well-known investment banker and lothario who bears a striking resemblance to Larry. One evening, the baron, his American wife Cecilia and his advisors, Arthur Penna and Felicio Salles, attend the show and are impressed by Larry's performance. After the show, Duarte receives word that an important business deal, for which he "borrowed" twenty million of the bank's money, is about to fall through. The next day, Penna and Salles discover that the baron has left for Buenos Aires, where he hopes to raise the necessary funds, and that they are to cover for him. Afraid that Duarte's chief rival, Machado, will take advantage of his absence, Penna and Salles offer Larry a job impersonating the baron while he is gone. Larry agrees on the condition that they do not tell Cecilia, with whom he flirted at the club, and goes with them to the stock exchange. Penna and Salles are forced to leave Larry alone for a few moments, and he unwittingly buys a large amount of stock in the airplane company causing the baron's problems. They then hustle Larry back to the Duarte home, where that evening the baron and Cecilia are to host a reception for an ambassador. Cecilia, who quickly guesses that Larry is not the baron because he treats her more kindly than he, is prevailed upon by Penna and Salles not to let Larry know she is aware of the scheme. The evening progresses smoothly as Larry and Cecilia flirt and carry off the impersonation in front of the guests. Before the party ends, the baron returns after getting the needed funds. Penna and Salles "exchange" Larry for the baron, but not before Machado pigeon holes Larry and conducts a business deal in French, which Larry does not understand. Later that night, the baron, jealous of Cecilia's attentions to Larry, accompanies her to her dressing room and tries to get her to admit that she is in love with Larry. Although Cecilia did not know that her husband had returned, she realizes that it is he, and to teach him a lesson, pretends that she loves Larry. The next morning, Duarte deduces that Cecilia knew the truth and decides to turn the tables on her by having his employees tell her that he did not return until the morning. While Cecilia frantically worries that she was romancing Larry instead of Duarte, Machado arrives at the baron's office. It transpires that the deal he concluded with Larry was to buy the airline, including the newly purchased stock, at a handsome profit for the baron. As the baron signs the papers, Larry goes to see Cecilia to ask for a letter of recommendation, which will also assuage the jealousy of his girl friend Carmen. When Larry explains that he left the house before midnight the previous evening, Cecilia figures out that Duarte is trying to trick her. Just then, Duarte returns home and, in a whispered conference with Larry, admits that he loves Cecilia and will cease his playboy ways. After Larry leaves, Duarte carries Cecilia upstairs, and later, the happy couples sing together at the nightclub.
S. Z. Sakall
J. Carrol Naish
The Banda Da Lua
Charles De Ravenne
Mary Ann Hyde
Mary Joyce Walsh
Jean Del Val
W. D. Flick
Joseph C. Wright
Darryl F. Zanuck
That Night in Rio
In both films Fox star Don Ameche romances a beautiful blonde, with Betty Grable becoming a star by standing in for an ill Alice Faye in Down Argentine Way. In That Night in Rio, Faye has recovered and once again taken over leading lady-duties (although Grable would later replace her as the studio's No. 1 musical star). That same year Faye and Miranda would costar in yet another Latin American musical, Week-End in Havana (1941).
That Night in Rio is based on The Red Cat, a 1934 play by Hans Adler with echoes of The Prisoner of Zenda in its plot of a look-alike commoner who steps into the shoes of a nobleman - in this case an entertainer posing as an aristocratic businessman. Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck had financed the play's brief Broadway run so he could purchase the movie rights, filming it first as Folies Bergère de Paris starring Maurice Chevalier in the double roles. Following Rio, the plot was used again for On the Riviera (1951) with Danny Kaye.
Ameche enjoyed his dual roles so much that he frequently named Rio as his favorite film vehicle. He plays Larry Martin, an American song-and-dance man at the Casino Samba in Rio de Janeiro whose act includes a parody of womanizing airline executive Baron Manuel Duarte (Ameche again, of course). When Duarte brings his wife, Baroness Cecilia (Faye), to see the impersonation he is struck by the resemblance. Miranda plays Larry's girlfriend Carmen, who becomes jealous when she sees how attracted he is to the beautiful Baroness.
When the financially troubled Manuel heads for Buenos Aires to hustle up some cash, his associates hire Larry to impersonate him in order to trick his chief rival, Machado (J. Carrol Naish). Cecilia is also confused by the deception, and there is a series of romantic reversals before everything gets sorted out in the end.
Meanwhile the Harry Warren/Mack Gordon score is given enthusiastic delivery by the energetic cast, beginning with Miranda's bombastic production number "Chica-Chica-Boom Chic," in which she is assisted by Ameche. "They Met in Rio" is sung in Portuguese by Ameche and in English by Faye. Miranda gets another flashy turn with "I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much)," and all three stars have a go at "Boa Noite (Good Night)." A reprise of "Chica-Chica-Boom Chic" was recorded and filmed by Faye and Ameche as a dance number, but cut from the final print.
That Night in Rio marked the sixth and final teaming of Ameche and Faye, one of Fox's most popular twosomes. Irving Cummings directed the screenplay by George Seaton, Bess Meredyth and Hal Long. Also in the cast are S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall and the Flores Brothers specialty trio. Maria Montez, soon to become the exotic leading lady of such low-budget epics as Cobra Woman (1944) and Siren of Atlantis (1949), has the small role of chorus girl Inez. It was the first chance for the future "Queen of Technicolor" to show off her red hair and beautiful complexion in that process, and Montez gets to share an amusing cat fight with Miranda.
The movie's working titles were A Latin from Manhattan, Rings on Her Fingers, They Met in Rio and The Road to Rio. According to The Hollywood Reporter of November 15, 1940, Paramount objected to the proposed title The Road to Rio because it created confusion with that studio's Road to Zanzibar starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.
The film was released in theaters on April 11, 1941, to enthusiastic audiences and mildly appreciative critics, with Miranda stealing the notices. Variety wrote that "Ameche is very capable in a dual role, and Miss Faye is eye-appealing, but it's the tempestuous Miranda who really gets away to a flying start from the first sequence." The Hollywood Reporter described her as "vivid, fiery and tempestuous," and The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner wrote that she was "outfitted in smart, barbaric colors, waving articulate hips and rollicking through the most fun of her Hollywood career."
Bosley Crowther of The New York Times dryly noted that "In spite of its hot Latin rhythms and the presence of Carmen Miranda in the cast, That Night in Rio departs but little from the stock musical comedy formula, which inevitably sacrifices originality... In fact, the only departure of even slightly revolutionary degree is the employment of Don Ameche in dual roles, instead of his customary single one - and that, in the eyes of some people (including ourself), is hardly a step in the right direction."
By Roger Fristoe
That Night in Rio
That Night in Rio - Alice Faye & Don Ameche in THAT NIGHT IN RIO on DVD
The plot (a close remake of the 1935 film Folies Bergere, starring Maurice Chevalier) finds Don Ameche in a dual role: he's debonair businessman Baron Duarte, as well as nightclub performer Larry Martin, famed for his uncanny impersonation of the baron. When the baron's important business deal goes awry, he must leave town to raise some emergency cash. Fearful that knowledge of his absence would cause a stock meltdown, the baron's minions (including S.Z. Sakall) hire Larry to impersonate him for real. The baron's estranged wife, Cecilia (Alice Faye), finds out about this plan but doesn't at first let on that she knows, while Larry's girlfriend Carmen (Carmen Miranda) loses her fiery temper when she catches him with Cecilia. It's only a matter of time before the baron returns and everything gets even more mixed up, with both Don Ameches flirting with both women, and delicious double entendres flying all around (which actually pushed the limits of the production code once or twice).
Ameche has far more screen time than Faye in this picture, and he is wonderfully appealing. He later called That Night in Rio his favorite of all his movies. Faye doesn't sing much - her character is not a performer like Ameche's or Miranda's - but she looks great and is as captivating as ever in her second Technicolor film. (Hollywood Cavalcade, 1939, was the first.) Faye biographer Jane Lenz Elder has written that one outfit worn by Faye in this movie was "perhaps the most lustrous ensemble [she] ever wore in films" - a gold lame evening dress and an elaborate jeweled necklace. Elder quotes one critic's description of it as "a scandalous dress [she] fills to overflowing." Faye had by now been divorced from Tony Martin, and during filming she was introduced to bandleader Phil Harris; the two were soon married, and their union would last 54 years.
This was Carmen Miranda's second American picture, following Down Argentine Way (1940), and she was already extremely popular. Here she performs three numbers, including the famous "I Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much)." The entire score by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren is bouncy and pleasing; it doesn't have many songs, but it does have good ones including "Chica Chica Boom Chic," "They Met in Rio," "Boa Noite (Good Night)", and "Cai-Cai" (another Carmen Miranda number). The opening number, "Chica Chica Boom Chic," is so spectacular that the movie never tops it. Miranda, Ameche and an army of dancers wearing every color of the rainbow sing and dance their way through Hermes Pan's elaborate choreography with mighty zest, and the sequence goes on far longer than you'd expect - not that you'll be complaining.
Also in the cast is Maria Montez in a small role as a dancer whom the baron recognizes as an old flame just from seeing her legs! And supposedly Tyrone Power is there in the nightclub scene, somewhere, though this reviewer couldn't find him. As a joke, Power visited the set and inserted himself into the background of a shot without telling director Irving Cummings.
That Night in Rio's glamorous costumes, sets, and makeup in Fox Technicolor have all been preserved by the excellent transfer. The movie is available as a stand-alone DVD and as part of Fox Home Entertainment's The Alice Faye Collection, a set which also includes On the Avenue (1937), Lillian Russell (1940) and The Gang's All Here (1943). Gang's, unfortunately, has received only a middling-quality picture transfer, but the other titles look mostly good and come with many bells and whistles.
The extras packaged with That Night in Rio include a stills gallery, a trailer, a restoration comparison, a deleted musical number between Faye and Ameche, and a loving featurette called Alice Faye - A Life Off Screen. This provides a vivid sense of her life and values, and includes coments from her daughters and various historians. After leaving Fox in 1945, Faye returned to radio and had a successful weekly show with husband Phil Harris. (Excerpts are included here.) She returned to the studio in 1962 for the movie State Fair, which she regretted, and in her later years became a spokeswoman for Pfizer, traveling the country and encouraging older women to stay active. She even appeared in a 20-minute short film for the company in which she reminisced over her career and introduced her favorite clips while also talking up the health benefits of physical activity. The short can be seen as an extra on another disc in the collection.
As for the deleted number, it's a reprise of "Chica Chica Boom Chic," and while it isn't that revelatory, it's still nice to see a little bit of dancing from Faye because there isn't any in the finished film.
For more information about That Night in Rio, visit Fox Home Entertainment. To order That Night in Rio, go to TCM Shopping.
by Jeremy Arnold
That Night in Rio - Alice Faye & Don Ameche in THAT NIGHT IN RIO on DVD
The original play opened in New York on 19 September 1934.
The working titles of this film were A Latin from Manhattan, Rings on Her Fingers, They Met in Rio and The Road to Rio. A November 15, 1940 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Twentieth Century-Fox had to change the title from The Road to Rio because of a conflict with Paramount, which wanted them not to release their picture until six months after the release of Paramount's Road to Zanzibar in order to avoid any confusion over the similar titles. According to notes for a late September 1940 meeting with executive producer Darryl F. Zanuck, contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, Madeleine Carroll, Paulette Goddard, Rosalind Russell and Joan Bennett were considered for the role of "Baroness Cecilia Duarte."
According to the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the Breen Office had serious reservations about the initial script, and indicated that the script would not be passed unless it was clarified that "Baron Manuel Duarte" and "Cecilia" were not actually living together as husband and wife while "Cecilia" was under the impression that "the Baron" was "Larry Martin." The PCA urged the studio to write in a situation whereby "Cecilia" would only kiss "the Baron" while she believed that he was "Larry," which would therefore spark "the Baron's" jealousy without implying the occurence of an illicit sexual affair. According to a November 12, 1940 letter to Joseph Breen from Zanuck, the script was submitted to the Brazilian Ambassador in Washington, D.C., who approved it and stated that it would be "the kind of picture that will be helpful to North and South American relations." A report in the MPAA/PCA filed noted that the picture was rejected for distribution in Ireland, although no reason was given.
Although a October 28, 1940 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Charles Henderson, the studio's "musical supervisor," had started work on the picture, the extent of his contribution to the completed film has not been determined. According to a February 14, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item, the film was to have a special "stage show" trailer, during which some of the musical numbers would be presented in a live stage show before a feature film. The trailer was necessitated by the legal problems between the music publishing companies BMI and ASCAP, which resulted in studios not being able to advertise their musical pictures on the radio. The trailer was to have its initial run during the presentation of Tobacco Road at the Roxy Theatre in New York City, and the news item noted that the studio had sent $10,000 worth of feather costumes to the Roxy for use in the trailer. This film marked the sixth and final teaming of Faye and Don Ameche, and the first film in which Carmen Miranda played a character with a name other than her own. According to modern sources, Faye and Ameche recorded and filmed the song "Chica, Chica, Boom Chic" as a dance number, but only the sequence of Miranda and Ameche singing the song is in the released picture.
That Night in Rio is a remake of Folies Bergère de Paris, a 1935 United Artists release also based on the play by Rudolph Lothar and Hans Adler. That picture, also produced by Zanuck, was directed by Roy Del Ruth and starred Maurice Chevalier and Merle Oberon. A French language version of Folies Bergère de Paris, entitled L'homme de Folies Bergère was shot simultaneously to the English version (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1414). In 1951, Twentieth Century-Fox remade the film again as On the Riviera, which was directed by Walter Lang and starred Danny Kaye and Gene Tierney.