The main point of Flying down to Rio is the screen promise of Fred Astaire. He’s distinctly likeable on the screen, the mike is kind to his voice and as a dancer he remains in a class by himself.
This picture makes its bid via numbers staged by Dave Gould to Vincent Youman melodies. But Rio’s story [from a play by Anne Caldwell, based on an original story by Louis Brock] lets it down. It’s slow and lacks laughs to the point where average business seems its groove. From the time of the opening melody (‘Music Makes Me’ – and hot) to the next number, ‘Carioca’, almost three reels elapse and anybody can take a walk, come back and be that much ahead.
It takes all that time for Gene Raymond, as a band leader, to be enticed by Dolores Del Rio, as a South American belle, and frame her into a plane ride to Rio de Janeiro. This hop includes a faked overnight forced landing on a beach, strictly in the platonic manner. When they finally get off the sand and to Rio, Raymond finds his Brazilian pal is engaged to the girl, but the Latin member gives the damsel to him and takes a novel way out via a parachute dive at the finish. Meanwhile, the opening of a new hotel by the girl’s father, for which Raymond’s band has been engaged, is the premise for continuing the musical portion below the Equator.
1934: Nomination: Best Song (‘Carioca’)