Overdone but entertaining
Douglas M | 11/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""That Night in Rio" was a remake of the 1935 "Folies Bergere", with Ann Sothern, Maurice Chevalier and Merle Oberon. It was made yet again in 1951 with Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney and Corinne Calvert as "On the Riviera". The plot is simple. Don Ameche plays night club entertainer Larry Martin who is employed to imitate Baron Duarte (a dual role) by some bankers. In doing so, he must deal with the Baron's wife, Alice Faye, but keep at bay his fiery girlfriend Carmen Miranda. Complications ensue with Faye unsure who made love to her on "That Night in Rio" and the film was carefully watched by the Censors to ensure that adultery was not implied in any way.
Although the film is set in Rio de Janeiro, it looks much more like a night club in New York. There really is nothing to link it to South America except Carmen Miranda and the accents of some of the actors. Released, in 1941, the positives are some excellent numbers from Carmen Miranda, an entertaining dual performance from Don Ameche and the spectacular colour. Irving Cummings was often a director with a heavy touch and the farce moves quickly but maybe not quite quick enough. There is something a bit heavy and clumsy about the film and it maybe because Alice Faye is miscast as a baroness, serious and subdued much of the time. Her role is really a supporting one. When she plays with Don Ameche she has a twinkle but the rest of the time, she is lugubrious. Her appearance looks heavy too, not helped by the Travis Banton clothes which are fussy and overdone. She only has 2 songs too but one of them in particular, "They met in Rio", suits her deep delivery perfectly. Filmed with the normal loving close up of her face, slightly tilted up, she sounds superb.
Carmen Miranda sings two of her most famous numbers "I yi yi yi yi" and "Cae Cae" back to back. Her contract stipulated that the camera must not cut away from her when she sang so we watch her just as if she was live in a nightclub. She looks great. Her English was improving rapidly by now too and she has some funny lines which she mangles hilariously. She really steals the film. Alice Faye was on record as saying, affectionately, that when Miranda was on, you might as well go home because there was no way you could compete.
The film was a box office smash in 1941. The colour and costumes in particular were a tonic to the public. The DVD print is excellent but the colour is odd with dark hues which can be almost completely overcome by fiddling with the adjustments on your TV - colour/brightness/hue. The package includes the second half of a documentary on Faye in which her daughters appear and a deleted number which lasts until after the take has finished. You see Faye's mood change rapidly as she moves off camera which is amusing. The theatrical trailer included shows the technicolour deterioration which occurs without restoration - all browns and blues. There is also a set of stills on the set which show some candid shots of the cast and director.
This is the first time the film has been commercially available and as part of the Alice Faye Volume 1 collection, it is good value."
Fine classic musical from Fox--with lavish numbers all aglow
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 04/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That Night In Rio is a musical that features wonderful song and dance numbers by some really great stars. We get Carmen Miranda singing and dancing up a storm; Alice Faye sings a couple of songs that she was born to sing; and even Don Ameche sings very well! The color is wonderful--they did a fantastic job restoring this excellent film!
The action begins in Rio de Janeiro when Baron Manuel Duarte (Don Ameche) and his wife Cecilia (Alice Faye) attend a nightclub where Larry Martin (also played by Don Ameche) impersonates the Baron as part of his act. Indeed, Larry Martin does such a magnificent impersonation that stuffy Baron Duarte is so impressed he actually wants to go backstage to meet Larry Martin!
But first trouble sets in. Baron Duarte gets a telegram that a loan to fund his airline has been denied; and he depended on that cash infusion to keep his airline out of ruin. Baron Duarte goes off to try to secure another loan--and while he's away, his two top aides including Arthur Penna (S.Z. Sakall) hatch a plan to use Larry Martin to impersonate the Baron at a party. That way no one will suspect anything is wrong with the business until Baron Duarte can get an emergency loan and return to Rio. No one will ever know he left town.
Nevertheless, there's still the problem of keeping up appearances in the financial markets. The Baron always goes to his trading box and when he's not there one morning (because he's away to get that emergency loan), his arch business rival Machado (J. Carrol Naish) immediately smells trouble. Baron Duarte's aides panic but they manage to keep Machado at bay--for now.
Of course, from here the plot can go anywhere. Larry Martin has a jealous girlfriend named Carmen (Carmen Miranda) who has violent fits when she catches Larry with other women. Will Carmen cause trouble when Larry has to dance with the Baron's wife to keep up the charade? What about the Baron--will he get that emergency loan? And what about Cecilia, the Baron's wife--she's not completely happy in her marriage to the Baron--can anything improve the quality of their marriage? Will Machado and his business instincts cause huge business problems for Baron Duarte? No plot spoilers here, folks--you'll just have to watch the film to find out!
Carmen Miranda does great numbers including ""I Yi Yi Yi Yi, I Like You Very Much" and "Cae, Cae." Look for Alice Faye to sing "They Met In Rio" with a beautiful delivery; and Don Ameche sings a few lines as well.
The DVD includes a deleted scene, a wonderful bonus about Alice Faye's life and career after she left Fox and a restoration comparison. Great!
Overall, That Night In Rio is one of the stronger musicals from Fox filmed during the golden age of Hollywood. This movie is extremely entertaining and if you like classic musicals you're sure to enjoy this movie quite a bit!