The Law of Contact

The Girl From Rio (August 7, 1939)

Movita is The Girl From Rio

Released on August 7, 1939: Marquita's brother is falsly accused of murder, and she must go to New York City to clear his name and find the real killer.

Directed by Lambert Hillyer

The Actors: Movita (Marquita Romero), Warren Hull (Steven Ward), Alan Baldwin (Colos Romero, aka Carl Templeton), Kay Linaker (Vicki), Clay Clement ('Mitch' Mitchell), Pamela Blake (Annette Templeton), Soledad Jimenez (Lola, Marquita's maid), Richard Tucker (Roger Montgomery), Dennis Moore (Collins), Edward Peil Sr. (William W. Wilson, lawyer), Carleton Young (Tony, band leader), Eddie Kane (first booking agent), Lee Phelps (Dennis Slater), Byron Foulger (William Wilson), Lester Dorr (second hotel clerk), Al Herman (talent agent), William H. O'Brien (Condor Club headwaiter), Jack O'Shea (patron at Blue Bird Gardens), Jack Perry (patron at Blue Bird Gardens), Cy Schindell (patron at Blue Bird Gardens), Harry Strang (radio technician)


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Movita Castaneda was born on December 4, 1917 on a train from Mexico to Arizona, just as the train was approaching Nogales, Arizona. Thus Movita earned American citizenship and this Mexican American beauty starred in several movies in the thirties and forties, usually as a Latin singing beauty. But her acting career isn't all that makes her famous. Although six years older than him, Marlon Brando made her his second wife in 1960, and she was mother to two Brando children, Miko and Rebecca Brando.

In this movie Movita is a young beautiful girl in Rio who is about to go on stage for the first time as a singer, and her maid is working to squeeze Movita into her dress for the performance. During this scene, Movita makes an offhanded remark that was probably very scandalous for 1939 motion pictures. Her maid complains that if she doesn't get the dress buttoned carefully it may fall of in the middle of her performance, and how would that look? Movita doesn't pause a second before replying that she thinks she would look pretty good if that happened.

Before she can leave for the theater, she gets a telegram from New York City, where her brother is dancing. The telegram says that her brother has been arrested and charged with murder. Marquita (Movita) drops everything and heads for New York City to help her brother. It seems that her brother and his new wife were dancing for a nightclub that burned down and a man was killed in the fire. Her brother is framed quite well for the fire and death, and it looks like prison for him if Marquita cannot prove her brother innocent. She manages to get a job singing for the nightclub owner that probably framed her brother, and we watch as the tension builds and The Girl From Rio risks her life between songs to save her brother from the electric chair.