In 1933, RKO Pictures had the bright idea of pairing Dolores Del Rio and Gene Raymond for their new musical blockbuster, Flying Down to Rio
. The film was a smash, but not for the reasons anyone expected. The fourth and fifth-billed stars were an RKO bit player and a Broadway man breaking into Hollywood. Their names were Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and their pairing in this and eight subsequent RKO films would help to rewrite cinematic history. Most of Rio
's screen time is spent on a humdrum romantic triangle involving Del Rio, Raymond and Raul Roulien, but Fred (as Fred Ayres) and Ginger (as Honey Hayes) are still able to establish many of the trademarks of their later films. Ginger fronts the band (with Fred on accordion) in the saucy "Music Makes Me", and Fred does some solo tap then sings and leads the band for the spectacular airborne finale featuring chorus girls perched on the wings of biplanes. The heart of the film is "The Carioca", a company dance extravaganza that would be imitated by "The Continental" and "The Piccolino" in later films. Here Fred and Ginger take the floor together for the first time; their eyes meet and their foreheads touch. Their dance lasts only a few minutes, but it was the highlight of the film and audiences wanted more. A prophetic moment occurs toward the beginning of the dance, when, after watching for a while, Fred grabs Ginger and tells her, "I want to try this. Come on, Honey". She declares, "We'll show 'em a thing or three". They did indeed. It was magic, and it was only the beginning. --David Horiuchi, Amazon.com
One of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' most career-defining movies for RKO Pictures, Flying Down To Rio was released at the height of the Depression but was full of glitz and exotic locations. Although they were not the main stars of this film it will always be remembered for the first ever pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, who would become the greatest dance team in movie history. Aviator and band leader Roger Bond (Gene Raymond) is forever getting his group fired for flirting with the lady guests. When he falls for Brazilian beauty Belinha de Rezende (Dolores Del Rio) it appears to be for real, even though she is already engaged. His Yankee Clippers band is hired to open the new Hotel Atlântico in Rio and when performing the airborne production number to mark the Hotel's opening, Júlio gets some intriguing ideas...