Rio Rita

Rangers after a Mexican bandit, the Kinkajou.

The Bank of Fremont, robbed.

Rita’s rancho, “across the Rio Grande”.

Adapted by the director from Ziegfeld’s production.

Wheeler and Woolsey, lawyer and client in a Mexican divorce and honeymoon.

“And remember, gringo, I have plenty men.”

Hm, talks like a chess player.”

As “oh, just Jim” sings the title song, butterflies dart across the señorita’s verdant patio.

“Virtually an audible animated photographic conception of the successful Ziegfeld show,” said Mordaunt Hall (New York Times), who wondered what it cost.

The ladies’ “hat dance” number evokes a famous painting by Diego Rivera.

“How was the wedding?”

“Simply magnolias.”

“And who gave you away?”

“Nobody said a word!”

Variety gave it to Bebe Daniels, “although anyone will agree that John Boles as the ranger captain is entitled to a word of credit.”

A Mexican honeymoon entails “two pair of silk pink pajamas, all covered with lace and shlemiel.”

The lawyer dubs the bride’s come-hither look, “the Shanghai gesture.” He admires the stolen currency with its representation of “De Soto Discovering Hollywood”.

The bridegroom’s remark, “you know, if there’s anything I really and truly love, it’s American money.”

Back at the rancho, “how did you happen to be in my garden?”


“Kismet? I do not know heem.”

The camera crane slowly extends across the ornamental basin for a Spanish dance.

“Oh, brother! Get out your niblick, you are in the rough.”

“... I mighta known you were one o’ them small-town sheiks, the way you took your cigar outta your pocket the first time you kissed me” (the lawyer is nonplussed, he has another client, “poor little kid, she walked the streets all night last night”).

“How do you know?”

“I followed her.”

Who is the Kinkajou? Rita’s kid brother? The bigamous bridegroom? General Ravinoff, the Russian?

“The Pirate Barge in the Rio Grande—just over the Mexican line,” Technicolor. Ravinoff has a priest aboard, for Rita. “When Ravinoff loves, he thinks of everything,” says Ravinoff.

A New York show, partially filmed on location, “historical interest only” (Halliwell’s Film Guide).

“‘A wedding, such as I have never dreamed about.’ Oh, Jimmy! Jimmy!

The bridegroom’s other wife, “the War Department!”

Sublime ending, Kinkajou captured, wedding bells.




She is the Queen of the Mardi Gras, a circus performer at Cayetano’s Hippodrome in New Orleans, the girl (Bebe Daniels) hatched from an ostrich egg upon a cart drawn by two birds of that ilk (Wheeler and Woolsey).

She’s all set to marry the son of a Pennsylvania Dutch widower who inherited a plantation on the Mississippi but the Southern mother-in-law, who’s teaching her new husband manners, forbids it.

Dixiana secedes from the union to spare her fiancé from a separation with his father and goes to work at Montague’s gambling house (Montague holds IOUs signed by Cayetano and fixed the duel that killed the late plantation owner).

A musical of genius, far beyond the sham sophistication of Mordaunt Hall in the New York Times (“my language goes into bankruptcy,” says the Dutchman starved of epithets), a lavish spectacle as finely-wrought as you please that ends with two reels of Technicolor.