Lost Media Archive

Rio Rita is a 1929 film based on a Florenz Ziegfeld extravaganza that stars Bebe Daniels, George Benevent and John Hart in the leading roles. Unfortunately, the print we have today is the 1932 rerelease version, from which five of the original 15 reels were cut and are now presumed lost forever. The synopsis below will attempt to reconstruct the lost, and only the lost, scenes from the film.


Lost Scene #1: Rangers chase the Kinkajou through the forest where he finally eludes them and enters a secret hideaway, where he unmasks, revealing himself as the nefarious General Ravinoff (played by the French actor George Benevent), who has designs on Rita Ferguson, heiress to a local estate (played by Bebe Daniels).

Lost Scene #2: Kinkajou enters the town where Rita lives and breaks into her room, leaving a ring on her finger. He is once again pursued by the rangers and flees into the forest, where he eludes them, returns to his hideout, and changes back into his civilian identity.

Lost scene #3: Ranger James Stewart (played by John Hart) warns Rita of the Kinkajou, in the process singing the famous song of the same name, which still exists and is on Youtube. Kinkajou enters the room grapples with James, grabs Rita and makes away with her. Jack follows, rescues Rita, and Kinkajou escapes again!

Lost Scene #4: Kinkajou once again enters Rita's room and this time, when the rangers catch up to him, he drops a scarf usually worn by Rita's brother Renaldo, a secret agent on the Knkajou's trail. On awakening and descovering the scarf, Rita burns it in the fireplace to protect her brother.

Lost Scene #5: Rita receives a warning from the Kinkajou that if she does not marry Generak Ravinoff, he will see to it that her brother is convicted of being the Kinkajou. Ignorant of the truth about her brother, Rita agrees to the Kinkajou's request, allowing her brother, who had been captured by the Kinkajou earlier, to be released (as a result, he's able to be present for Ravinoff's arrest at the end of the film).


The film was remade in 1942, but the remake was so different that it was classified as an original story by the Screen Writer's Guild, although the songs "Rio Rita" and "The Ranger's Song" were retained. The cuts reduce the Kinkajou;s costumed presence to one single scene, and place the emphasis on his true identity, that of General Ravinoff, an expatriate Russian nobleman determined to marry Rita for her money (note: he was Mexican and named General Esteban in the original Broadway play).


The RKO Story (book, pages 34-35 approx)

Great Movie Musicals (book, pages 40-50 approx.)

External Links