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Rio Rita (1929)

Capt. James Stewart pursues the bandit "The Kinkajou" over the Mexican border and falls in love with Rita. He suspects, that her brother is the bandit.


Luther Reed


Luther Reed (adapted by), Guy Bolton (book) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Bebe Daniels ... Rita Ferguson
John Boles ... Captain Jim Stewart
Bert Wheeler ... Chick Bean
Robert Woolsey ... Ned Lovett
Dorothy Lee ... Dolly Bean
Don Alvarado ... Roberto Ferguson
Georges Renavent Georges Renavent ... General Ravinoff
Helen Kaiser Helen Kaiser ... Mrs. Katie Bean
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tom Smith ... Texas Ranger (as Thomas C. Smith)


Capt. James Stewart pursues the bandit "The Kinkajou" over the Mexican border and falls in love with Rita. He suspects, that her brother is the bandit. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Radio Picture Screen Operetta See more »


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 September 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Рио Рита See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)


Black and White | Color (2-strip Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The set used in the final scene is the same as that used in another film's final scene, Dixiana (1930), also with Bebe Daniels. See more »


When we see people dancing at the Fremont Cafe at the start of the movie while the Fremont Bank is being robbed next door, gunshots and shouts are heard on the soundtrack. The dancers however do not react at all to the shots until the next scene when they are seen panicking. See more »


Ned Lovett: How would you like it if I told you your Mexican divorce is no good.
Chick Bean: Yesterday you told me it was good.
Ned Lovett: Yeh, but that was yesterday. Today's Friday. Here's a wire that I just received from your first wife's lawyer in New York. Scan it, my boy, scan it.
Chick Bean: Please arrest the bigamist. Oh, now, wait, look. Now, you know that isn't right. Now, she calls me a bigamist.
Ned Lovett: Yes now and that's what you are a bigamist. You married twice didn't you?
Chick Bean: Yeh.
Ned Lovett: Well, that proves it. For of all the fools, you are the ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The print of the film that is shown occasionally on Turner Classic Movies is only 104 minutes, indicating a reduction of about 35 minutes from the film's original running time. See more »


Spoofed in Have You Got Any Castles? (1938) See more »


Long Before You Came
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Tierney
Lyrics by Joseph McCarthy
Published with other songs from the movie and may be in the cut footage
See more »

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User Reviews

The Ranger's Get Their Man
1 October 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

When movies began to talk a whole new vista of motion pictures opened up with the musical. Not that musical properties hadn't been done before, most famously Rudolf Friml's Rose Marie was done as a silent film with Joan Crawford in the lead. The Student Prince was also done with Norma Shearer. But singing and dancing was something new and it's no accident that the first talking film, The Jazz Singer was a musical.

The guy who made the best musicals back in those days was Florenz Ziegfeld. One of his best was the operetta Rio Rita which ran for 494 performances in 1927-1928. Since the setting was the west, to be exact the Texas-Mexican border, we essentially get the screen's first musical western.

Rio Rita was the newly formed RKO Studios big budget film for 1929 and it starred John Boles and Bebe Daniels and Rio Rita was her talking picture debut. She surprised the world with a really nice soprano voice doing those Harry Tierney-Joseph McCarthy songs. Boles was one film's earliest singers and he does the famous Ranger song with gusto in the best Nelson Eddy manner. The other big song from the score was the title song that is sung as a duet with Boles and Daniels. Bebe's best solo number is an item that Tierney and McCarthy wrote specifically for the screen, You're Always In My Arms.

Repeating their roles from the stage show are the comedy team of Wheeler and Woolsey who also make their screen debut as well. The team itself was a creation of Florenz Ziegfeld and he used them in one of his Ziegfeld Follies editions. They're involved in a subplot about playboy Wheeler getting a Mexican divorce and getting into the clutches of a shyster attorney in Woolsey.

I could see that both of them were individual performers because Bert Wheeler gets himself a fine song and dance number in Out On The Loose. He was quite the dancer, something we rarely saw in his comedy films with Robert Woolsey. Still it was as a team that they have come down to us.

The main plot involved Texas Ranger captain John Boles going across the border to ferret out and apprehend a bandit called El Kinkajou and finding romance with Bebe Daniels. Like the first version of Rose Marie though his main suspect is her brother and Texas Rangers like Canadian Mounties put duty first.

The film is a photographed stage musical essentially, just like the first two Marx Brothers films, The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers. But the opulence of a Ziegfeld Show is preserved and that is the main reason to see Rio Rita. The last half hour is in color and we can thank the Deity that was preserved.

So for film historians and those who want a glimpse at the showmanship of Florenz Ziegfeld, don't miss Rio Rita when broadcast.

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