Blu-ray:
3 Stars out of 5
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Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Movie Release Year: 1967
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

The Girl from Rio / The Million Eyes of Sumuru

Review Date May 26th, 2016 by
Overview -

The Girl From Rio - In the tradition of Barbarella and Danger: Diabolik comes this swinging '60s action orgy as bisexual super-villain Sumitra (the luscious Shirley Eaton of Goldfinger and The Blood Of Fu Manchu) launches a diabolical plan to enslave the male species with her army of lusty warrior women. But when Sumitra kidnaps a fugitive American playboy, she crosses a sadistic crime boss (Academy Award winner George Sanders of All About Eve and Village Of The Damned) and ignites a battle of the sexes that will bring Brazil to its knees in more ways than one. Get ready to experience director Jess Franco at his most erotic, exotic and bizarre. This is The Girl From Rio!

 Richard Wyler (The Bounty Killer) and Maria Rohm (Eugenie, Justine) co-star in this kinky cult favorite (also known as Rio 70, Future Women and The Seven Secrets Of Sumuru), packed with go-go boots, miniskirts and outrageous Jess Franco style. The Girl From Rio is now presented totally uncut and uncensored with all its eye-popping nudity, torture and lesbianism fully restored from original vault elements.

The Million Eyes of Sumur - Sumuru is a beautiful but evil woman who plans world domination by having her sexy all-female army eliminate male leaders and replace them with her female agents. Starring Frankie Avalon, Klaus Kinski, George Nader, Shirley Eaton, and Maria Rohm.

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Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

3 Stars out of 5

“Well what’s new at the Dracula factory?”

“Diabolical! Bizarre! Sadistic!” These words adorn Blue Underground’s release of their “Sumuru” double feature starring Shirley Eaton as the titular man-hating villain from the novels of pulp writer Sax Rohmer. Though both films in our bizarre double feature were helmed by different directors, both were produced and written by European schlock king Harry Alan Towers who also coincidentally cast his lovely wife Maria in both films. Even though ‘The Girl From Rio’ is technically a sequel to ‘The Million Eyes of Sumuru’ there is no need to watch these films in order. Both are very entertaining from start to finish with solid A/V presentation given their pedigree. Also, I’m a sucker for any Blu-ray with the word “Sadistic!” written on it!     

The Million Eyes of Sumuru:

This 1967 spy spoof from director Lindsay Shonteff is based on a series of novels from Fu Manchu creator Sax Rohmer. Sumuru, played cold as ice by Shirley Eaton, is the leader of The Order of The Lady an all-female group of assassins attempting to rid the world of men. Sumuru’s “Million Eyes” are those of her female agents around the world ready to kill at a moment's notice. After murdering one of her followers for being a traitor, the British government takes notice when they discover that the assassin was in fact posing as the secretary for the Sinonesia Chief of Security. When Colonel Sir Anthony of Her Majesty’s Government discovers Sumuru’s organization, he fears that Sinonesian President Boong (Klaus Kinski) was the intended target of Sumuru’s assassin. In a bit of nonsense plotting, Sir Anthony enlists the help of goofy CIA agent Nick West (George Nader) and playboy Tommy Carter (Frankie Avalon).

West and Carter clumsily evade Sumuru’s attempts to frame them with a dead body in Rome. Thanks to a convenient meetup with Sir Anthony the two skirt chasers are on a flight to exotic Hong Kong. They are barely off the plane when their obvious slapstick hijinks attract Sumuru’s ladies. Nick is abducted but not without dispensing some corny jokes on his captors. As is expected our villain’s lair is located inside a volcanic island!  Sumuru, sporting a leather bodysuit with matching whip, tortures Nick into helping her plant a new assassin into Boong’s company. New recruit Helga, played by the lovely Maria Rohm, is selected for the job but does she have the conscience to kill?  

‘The Million Eyes of Sumuru’ is a campy tongue in cheek movie. The jokes are hilarious but only coupled with the obvious low budget sets and over dubbed actors. It’s unfortunate that Klaus Kinski was over dubbed as his performance is fantastic! His entrance into the film involves a kimono, exploding champagne, and ridiculous makeup! Even though Sumuru graces the cover art, this film is sadly propelled by West and Carter. Shirley Eaton’s Sumuru is perfect for a super villain, but she seems bored at times with the role. Playing 3rd fiddle to Nader and Avalon who spend the film chasing girls and cracking lame jokes must’ve eroded her confidence in the role. West and Carter are amusing but I’d really like to see more of Sumuru whipping prisoners and her agents strangle men with their thighs. ‘The Million Eyes of Sumuru’ is a swinging 60’s spoof that hits all the right notes while adding just enough perversity to make it interesting. Those looking for a movie about bikini clad assassins shooting guns and turning men to stone will enjoy it from start to finish.

The Girl From Rio:

Capitalizing on the Sumuru character, but without paying royalties to Rohmer, Eurosleaze legend Jess Franco renames our villainess ‘Sununda’ and helms the second outing for Shirley Eaton as a woman bent on female world domination in the ultra campy ‘The Girl From Rio’. In this “James Bond meets Barbarella” spoof Eaton and her army prepare for the downfall of man from their secret city located outside Rio de Janeiro.

The film opens on a naked woman shrouded in a net staring eerily into camera. She embraces a man laying on the floor as tribal music intensifies and fog rolls into frame. Shirley Eaton looks on with her trademark seductive eyes. Suddenly we get the title song “The Girl from Rio is every Man’s desire” breezily sung against stock vacation footage of Rio. A great juxtaposition! Come to lovely Rio with our sun kissed beaches and ritualistic sex dungeons! It’s clear that Franco’s tone will diverge quite a bit from the fairly innocent approach of ‘The Million Eyes of Sumuru”. Where ‘Sumuru’ is a globetrotting skirt chasers dream come true, ‘The Girl From Rio’ is a psychedelic erotic dream minus the production value and coherency.

 From our holiday footage we cut to fugitive Jeff Sutton (Richard Wyler) checking into a hotel with 10 million in stolen cash. After a rendezvous with a hotel manicurist Lesley (Maria Rohm) the two are cornered by a gang of thugs sent by posturing mob boss Masius. Masius is played by George Sanders who you might recognize as “Mister Freeze” from the 1966 Batman TV Show. During his escape Sutton is captured by Sunanda’s scantily clad warriors and put on a direct flight to the city of women, Femina. Femina is a futuristic stronghold complete with soldiers sporting baby bonnets and midriff shirts. Strapped to a mirrored platform, Sutton looks up at the steely eyed Sunanda, “What kind of space-age sorceress are you?”  With soft focus on Shirley Eaton wearing a revealing lace catsuit, she seduces Sutton who apparently isn’t shocked by anything he’s seen in this futuristic city! After their rendezvous she informs Sutton that her operation is funded by kidnapping the wealthy and she wants his 10 million, or else. Or else she’ll order her ladies to seduce him into submission!

Unfortunately, ‘The Girl From Rio’ suffers a great deal from incoherent plotting and unconvincing acting chops from our lead actors. However the film is absolutely gorgeous from start to finish with beautiful exterior shots of Rio combined with kitschy sci-fi sets and Franco’s kinetic editing style. Some of my favorite moments from the film weren’t the big action scenes or even the cringe-worthy dialogue, but rather the small character moments. For example in one scene Mob boss Masius laughs at a Popeye comic book while a woman is being tortured! I love this moment! It feels like something Tarantino would steal, right? Despite all the drawbacks ‘The Girl From Rio’ is a surprisingly fun film to watch! To quote Sutton, “Don’t be nasty, Daddy doesn’t like it.”

With ‘The Million Eyes of Sumuru’ and ‘The Girl From Rio’ you’re taken on a brilliant b-movie journey into exotic places with beautiful women, confused secret agents, and ‘Barbarella’ inspired fashion. Even though Shirley Eaton commands the poster art for both films it’s clear that she was never really the focus. It’s a shame because she is perfectly cast for the role and shows it up until the third act of Franco’s film. ‘The Girl From Rio’ is the weaker of the two films even though it’s more fun to watch. Shonteff shot a great looking, fast paced action comedy that works whereas Franco’s effort could have worked given some major tweaking. Unfortunately, true cult connoisseurs will notice that both films are presented in a cut version that eliminates some necessary scenes. However, fans will have a wonderful time revisiting these kitschy spy spoofs in HD thanks to Blue Underground.  

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

‘The Million Eyes of Sumuru / The Girl From Rio’ arrive on a Double Feature Blu-ray from Blue Underground. Both films are pressed onto a single BD50 Region Free disc. Housed in standard keepcase, the Blu-ray opens to a Blue Underground logo before settling on a Feature Select Menu. After you select your movie you’re presented with that film’s menu selections.

Video Review

3.5 Stars out of 5

The Million Eyes of Sumuru:

‘The Million Eyes of Sumuru’ is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 2.25:1. The HD transfer is clean with colors that pop and a balanced contrast throughout the feature. Some serious noise in the image at times, but when paired with the moderate film grain you get a transfer that is suited to this film’s pedigree. Scanned from the original camera negative this Blue Underground release looks great!

The Girl From Rio:

‘The Girl From Rio’ is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.66:1. The transfer looks clean and sharp without appearing crunchy. Clean film-like grain and moderate image depth. No major fragments detected. Black levels are solid throughout the feature. Some digital noise reduction is apparent but this reviewer feels it doesn’t detract from the overall experience. ‘The Girl From Rio’ looks much better than ‘The Million Eyes of Sumuru’ with regard to color reproduction and image noise.

Audio Review

3 Stars out of 5

The Million Eyes of Sumuru:

The DTS-HD 2.0 track for ‘The Million Eyes of Sumuru’ seems taxed a bit when dialogue mixes with scoring elements. Sound is a bit muffled during some interior dialogue sequences. Not clear at all. The balance between effects, music, and dialogue is passable, but the clarity is awful at times. Keep the remote handy as volume adjustments are necessary.

The Girl From Rio:

Even with it’s synchronization issues and shoddy overdubbing, the DTS-HD 2.0 audio track on ‘The Girl From RIo’ handles everything brilliantly! Dialogue is clear and clean. The mix is balanced throughout the film with enough range to carry the intense moments confidently. Of the two films ‘The Girl From Rio’ has the stronger and more capable audio track.

Special Features

2.5 Stars out of 5

The Million Eyes of Sumuru:

Theatrical Trailer (HD) (2:34)

Poster & Stills Gallery - 55 images

The Girl From Rio:

Rolling In Rio (HD) (14:24) This retrospective featurette has interviews with director Jess Franco, producer Harry Alan Towers and Shirley Eaton intercut with archival photos and scenes from the film. Originally produced for the Blue Underground DVD of the film in 2004.   

Posters & Image Gallery - 74 Images

Final Thoughts

Blue Underground has done a superb job putting together this sadistic “Sumuru” double feature! Shirley Eaton completionists will rejoice when they see her in stunning HD. While I enjoyed ‘The Girl From Rio’ more than ‘The Million Eyes of Sumuru’ both films are very entertaining in their own way. Since both sport a cult following I was disappointed there weren’t more extra features present. With a solid A/V presentation this diabolical double feature is a must for fans of European b-movies. Recommended.

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