About this deal
The role of Irene had been earmarked for Danielle Darrieux, the great French star whose 80-year career stretched from 1931 to 2010, seven years before her death at 100.
Directed by John Brahm and starring Basil Rathbone, Rio (1939) is a crime melodrama that begins with some promise, but collapses utterly toward the end, with a climax that neatly wraps everything up according to Production Code guidelines.Rathbone may have been attracted to its very un-Rathboney aspects—at one point for instance, he’s filthy and bare-chested, hacking his way through swampy jungles with a machete—but the script lets him down.
It claims to be derived from a new 2K master, but looks to my eyes more like a much older video master, with none of the impressive sharpness and inky blacks one can find in other Universal late-‘30s titles of the period, among them Son of Frankenstein and Tower of London, both 1939, both starring Rathbone. Born in Brooklyn but raised in Norway and other parts of Europe, she was dubbed “the Norwegian Garbo,” though her singing in Rio is rather more like sub-Marlene Dietrich.However, Darrieux didn’t like the script (with good reason), so eventually Sigrid Gurie took her place.