3 May 2003 | Kalaman
This is one of my absolute favorite Fox musicals, photographed in the studio's idiosyncratic garish Technicolor, featuring Carmen Miranda in her second American appearance; Alice Faye and Don Ameche in their last pairing. Ameche is in a double role: playing a Rio nightclub entertainer Larry Martin and a rich airline businessman Baron Duarte.
"That Night in Rio" starts explosively with Miranda's entertainingly flashy number "Chicka Chicka Boom Chick" in Rio. Then Carmen's boyfriend Martin enters while riding a car. After hordes of couples dance to Carmen's colorful spectacle, Baron Duarte and his wife Baroness (Alice Faye) arrive. Martin announces he is going to impersonate the Baron. In a musical number, he does it brilliantly. The Baron is very impressed and goes off to backstage to meet him and Carmen. While he is in backstage, Martin courts the Baroness and does another fine Duarte impression. But Martin doesn't know the Baron is in real financial trouble. A few days after that night in Rio, the Baron leaves for Buenos Aires. Martin is secretly hired by the Baron's associates to replace him, so his rivals in the airline business won't notice his absence. Martin not only replaces the Baron, he again courts and romances the Baroness. Many funny and ingenious complications follow.
"That Night in Rio" continues the trend started in "Down Argentine Way" - pleasant romancing in exotic Latin locales, galvanized by Technicolor and Carmen Miranda. Alice Faye was supposed to star "Down Argentine Way" but due to illness, the lead role went to Betty Grable. Now, Faye got her lead in "That Night in Rio". I don't think it is near "Hello, Frisco, Hello" (my favorite Faye musical) but there are a lot to enjoy in "That night In Rio".
Miranda especially is very funny. Her quarrels with Ameche, her Brazilian accent ("You is a low down, no good ham!"), and her dance numbers (particularly "Ay, yai, yai, yai, yai, I like you very much") are entertaining & rapturous.