Girl of the Rio

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Girl of the Rio
Theatrical poster of the film
Directed by Herbert Brenon
Ray Lissner (assistant)
Produced by William LeBaron
Louis Sarecky (associate)
Screenplay by Elizabeth Meehan
Louis Stevens
Based on the play, The Dove
by Willard Mack
Starring Dolores del Río
Leo Carrillo
Music by Victor Schertzinger
Cinematography Leo Tover
Edited by Arthur Roberts
Distributed by RKO Pictures
Release date
  • January 15, 1932 (1932-01-15) (US)[1]
Running time
70 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Girl of the Rio is a 1932 American Pre-Code RKO musical film starred Dolores del Río and Leo Carrillo. Directed by Herbert Brenon, the screenplay was written by Elizabeth Meehan and Louis Stevens, based on the play, The Dove by Willard Mack, which was itself based on a magazine article by Gerald Beaumont. The film is a remake of the 1927 silent film, The Dove, starring Norma Talmadge.


South of the U.S. border, Don José Tostado, a Mexican cabellero, falls in love with Dolores Romero, a dance-hall girl. Owning one of the larger ranches in the area, Tostado is not used to people telling him no. When Romero resists his advances, using a fictional boyfriend as her excuse, this only increases his interest in her, and his attempts to win her favor. As part of that attempt, he plans to throw a gala in her honor.

Meanwhile, Romero falls for Johnny Powell, a dealer at a nearby casino. She confides in him that she has no interest in Romero, but doesn't know how to get him to leave her alone. Powell offers to take her away and get married. They make their plans, but before they can carry them out, Tostado learns of them and hatches a plot of his own: he frames Powell for a murder and has him arrested. When Dolores hears that Tostado has paid the jailer to kill Johnny during an escape attempt, she makes a deal with Tostado to give herself to him in exchange for Johnny's life and freedom. Tostado agrees.

When Johnny is freed, Dolores makes it clear that she is no longer interested in him, and that she intends to marry Tostado. Dolores leaves with Tostado, heading for his ranch. On the way, she attempts to commit suicide, but is stopped by Tostado, who is startled to discover that she would rather be dead than be stuck with him for the rest of her life. When they arrive back at his hacienda, they are surprised by Johnny, who fights Tostado. When they police arrive, they arrest Johnny, and are ready to execute him summarily, on Tostado's orders. Dolores intercedes on Johnny's behalf, and her pleas have their desired effect. Realizing that he's beaten, Tostado calls off the police, and lets Dolores leave with Johnny.




The short story, "The Blue Ribbon", written by Gerald Beaumont, was printed in Red Book Magazine in their January 1923 issue. Willard Mack used that story as the basis for his play, The Dove, which was produced by David Belasco on Broadway at the Empire Theatre, premiering on August 24, 1925. In the leads were Judith Anderson as Dolores, Holbrook Blinn as Tostado, and William Harrigan as Johnny.[2] In 1927 United Artists purchased the rights to the play, and produced a silent version of Mack's play, The Dove, starring Norma Talmadge, Noah Beery, Sr., and Gilbert Roland.[3] RKO Pictures purchased the rights in 1931. The film was in production from September to November 1931.[1] The film was Dolores del Río's first feature for RKO Pictures.[4]


In 1939, RKO would remake the film, this time under the title The Girl and the Gambler, starring Tim Holt as Johnny and Steffi Duna as Dolores. Carillo would reprise his role as the Don, although this time the character's name would be El Rayo.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "Girl of the Rio: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved September 17, 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Dove". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on April 17, 2015. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  3. ^ "The Dove". Silent Era. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  4. ^ Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 45. ISBN 0-517-546566. 
  5. ^ "The Girl and the Gambler: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. 

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