TFAC Destinations Film Series presents Flying Down to Rio 

Published 10:37 pm Sunday, March 31, 2019

Continuing its Destinations film series, the 1933 musical comedy “Flying Down to Rio” will be shown at Tryon Fine Arts Center on Tuesday, April 2 at 7:00 p,m, 


“Flying Down to Rio” made history as the first joint appearance on film of the dance duo Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and, despite taking second billing to Dolores Del Rio and Gene Raymond, from the moment they began dancing the “The Carioca”, Fred and Ginger stole the show. They were aged 34 and 22 respectively when the film was released and, somewhat curiously, Ginger’s name appeared above Fred’s in the movie’s credits. 

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The music for all the memorable songs in this film, including “The Carioca”, “Orchids in the Moonlight” and the title number were written by Vincent Youmans and Gus Kahn, with lyrics by Edward Eliscu. 


In addition to creating what was essentially a new film genre, the film also broke new ground with the special effects that make its final scene so wildly memorable. This scene was accomplished by the Academy Award winning pioneer of special effects, Frederick Dunn, using a process he invented of merging two images on a frame-by-frame basis. This scene was described by an anonymous reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes as follows: “It is one of the most outrageously brilliant numbers in movie musical history, and one that never fails to incite a big round of applause from the audience.” 


When the film was made, RKO was having serious financial problems but this movie, along with “King Kong”, which was also released in 1933, secured the future of the studio. Following the success of “Flying Down to Rio”, Astaire and Rogers made eight more films with RKO, ending with “The Barkleys of Broadway”, their only Technicolor film, in 1939. 


The film lasts 88 minutes, will be screened in its original black and white version and is family friendly. 


The final film of the 2018-2019 Destinations film series will be “Tootsie” on Tuesday, May 7 with a Soiree starting at 5:45 p.m. and film screening at 7:00 p.m. 


For more information about this film series and other events at TFAC, visit or call 828-859-8322. 


– Submitted by Michelle Flemming