As indicated in yesterday’s posting, the plot of 1935’s Folies Bergere was too good to be used just once.
Let’s give it a south-of-the-border twist, add a sparking score by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren, cast the studio’s brightest stars and character actors and teach Carmen Miranda enough English to cast her in the part!
That was the thinking of 20th Century Fox executives in 1941, and the result was That Night in Rio, a film which is every bit as entertaining today as it was over 75 years ago.
It was the first time Miranda (pictured above with Rio costars Alice Faye and Don Ameche) played a role other than as herself, a spectacularly successful nightclub singer.
Fox mogul Darryl Zanuck relished remakes and sequels provided that the original — in this case. Folies Bergere — was a hit. It was, and thus That Night In Rio. Zanuck firmly believed that if you’ve got a good thing, do it again. Remakes and sequels have perennially been popular in Hollywood, but rarely with the level of enthusiasm displayed at the time under Zanuck’s regime at Fox.
Tomorrow we complete our mystery movie star circle by profiling an actress who once tangled with Zsa Zsa Gabor.