Under the Pampas Moon

A Fox Film (1935)

Produced by: B.G. DeSylva
Directed by: James Tinling

Screenplay by Ernest Pascal and Bradley King,
Additional Dialogue by Henry Johnson,
from story by Gordon Morris

Warner Baxter as Cesar Campo
Ketti Gallian as Yvonne La Marr John Miljan as Gregory Scott
J. Carrol Naish as Tito
Soledad Jimenez as Mama Pepita
Jack La Rue as Bazan

Songs: "The Gaucho": by B.G. DeSylva and Walter Samuels; "Querida Mia": by Paul Francis Webster and Lew Pollack; "Zamba": by Arthur Wynter-Smith; "Love Song of the Pampas," "Veredita," "Je t'adore": by Cyril J. Mockridge and Miguel De Zarraga

Dance Director: Jack Donohue
Gowns by René Hubert

Black and White, 81 mins. running time

Under the Pampas Moon was the first film featuring Rita to be released. She had worked on Dante's Inferno prior to this, but it was still in production when she was assigned to Under the Pampas Moon. Here for the first time she was given lines to exchange -with Warner Baxter. Filming the scene was a memorable -and petrifying experience for her. Rita had a nine o'clock call. She was unaware that this meant she had to be in full make-up, ready to shoot by nine. Rushed through wardrobe and make-up, she reported to the set "trembling and shaking" and was yelled at in front of everyone. This frightened her so that she could not get her lines out. But one person put her at ease and got her through the scene, the star, Warner Baxter.

A plane flying over the pampas is forced to come down in the land of the gauchos. Among the passengers are the beautiful French singer Yvonne La Marr (Ketti Gallian) and her manager, Gregory Scott (John Miljan). They are greeted by the friendly Cesar Campo (Warner Baxter), a gaucho who is just as successful with the señoritas as he is when racing his prized horse, Chico Lindo. Cesar takes an immediate shine to Yvonne. He brings them to a race where he and Chico Lindo make a stunning victory.

Gregory sees an opportunity to earn big bucks racing the horse himself. To that end he offers to buy him but he is not for sale. Gregory hires Cesar's rival, Bazan (Jack La Rue), to steal Chico Lindo and deliver the horse to him in Buenos Aires. Cesar searches in vain for his beloved Chico Lindo over the countryside before he finds him at a racetrack in Buenos Aires. But the authorities do not believe he is the horse's rightful owner.

He meets up with Yvonne and Gregory again, unaware that Gregory is behind his troubles. Yvonne has begun to love Cesar. Gregory tells her that he came upon Chico Lindo legally and that he will return him to Cesar immediately after the big race in three weeks. He tells Cesar that he knows who Bazan sold the horse to, and that he will see that he gets him back when the new owner arrives in town in a few weeks.

In the meantime, Gregory sets Cesar up in a posh hotel to enjoy himself in the Argentine capital. Cesar is distinctly out of place in the cosmopolitan city but still has a grand time. He sends for his mother (Soledad Jimenez) from the country. After they humiliate their hosts in a nightclub, Gregory decides to drop the charade and continue on racing Chico Lindo in Europe after the big race that is to take place the next day.

Cesar finds Bazan and learns that Gregory paid him to steal the horse. He is finally aware that Gregory has been lying to him and that he has no intention of returning Chico Lindo. But he is more hurt by the thought that Yvonne was in on it all along. She cannot convince him otherwise. Cesar has to get Chico Lindo back before Gregory ships him to Europe. He accomplishes this with the help of his gaucho friends. With plans to make money racing the horse, Cesar heads back to the pampas with Chico Lindo, his mother -and Yvonne.

Under the Pampas Moon was released on June 1, 1935. As Carmen, a cantina girl Baxter's character befriends when he arrives in Buenos Aires, Rita performed a brief dance called the "Zamba" in addition to her few lines of dialogue. Her Spanish accent comes and goes, but it cannot be said that anyone else's assumed accent in the film is any better.

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