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Million Eyes Of Sumuru, The / Girl From Rio, The

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    Ian Jane
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  • Million Eyes Of Sumuru, The / Girl From Rio, The



    Released by: Blue Underground
    Released on: April 26th, 2016.
    Director: Lindsay Shonteff, Jess Franco
    Cast: Shirley Eaton, Frankie Avalon, Richard Wyler, George Sanders, George Nader
    Year: 1967/1969
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movies:

    Blue Underground cure what ails you with this diabolical double feature of two Harry Alan Towers productions starring the scintillatingly sexy Shirley Eaton!

    The Million Eyes Of Sumuru:

    First up is 1967's The Million Eyes Of Sumuru which introduces us to a fetching killer for hire named Erna (Ursula Rank). Her mission? On behalf of her employer, the sadistic woman known only as Sumuru (Shirley Eaton), she's to launch an assault on the young men currently carrying the coffin of their father, the recently deceased wealthiest man in the world! Why? Because Sumuru is hell-bent on world domination, her intentions are to take out the men in charge and to let women rule the planet. This would, according to her theory, bring about world peace, but in order to get there the plan will involve plenty of violence!

    When one of her undercover agents falls in love with a man, Sumuru has her assassinated as well but what she didn't count on was Colonel Sir Arthur Baisbrook (Wilfrid Hyde-White), the man in charge of the organization the agent had infiltrated. After the hit, Arthur begins to work to uncover Sumuru's covert organization and figures that her next target is President Boong (Klaus Kinski), the president of Sinonesia. Thankfully, for the safety of the world, an American C.I.A. agent named Nick West (George Nader) just so happens to be on vacation in the area. Sir Arthur enlists the air of Nick as well as jetsetter Tommy Carter (Frankie Avalon) and before you know it they're off to Hong Kong where Nick falls for foxy female agent Helga (Maria Rohm) - will anyone be able to stop Sumuru before it's too late?

    Created by Sax Rohmer to follow up on the success of his infamous Fu Manchu stories, Sumuru makes for a pretty fantastic supervillain, sort of a female Diabolik if you will. She's smart, sexy and she knows what she wants and how to get it - no man will stand in her way! If the film cashes in on various cinematic trends of the day (the James Bond influence is hard to miss), so be it, as long as it's as entertaining and delivers pulp trash thrills as efficiently as this feature does, most won't mind a bit.

    The movie delivers pretty much exactly what you'd want from it. The girls are all gorgeous (particularly Eaton and Rohm), the guys are brave but occasionally used as playthings, the sets are colorful and exotic and the movie offers up plenty of action and suspense. It's not particularly original but it is enjoyable and Eaton makes for a pretty great central character. She's got plenty of screen presence even if she is clearly underused in the part. And hey, when she's cast alongside Maria Rohm, Frankie Avalon and the great Klaus Kinski it's hard not to have a good time with this stuff. George Nadar is a lot of fun to watch here too, he actually shows a good knack for the comedy that the script intertwines throughout its running time.

    The Girl From Rio:

    Directed by the late, great Jess Franco in 1969, The Girl From Rio (also known Future Women and The Seven Secrets Of Sumuru) brings us, not surprisingly, to Rio. Here we meet Sunanda (Shirley Eaton), who is basically the same character from the first movie, Sumuru (the name was changed to avoid being sued by Rohmer's estate). Once again, she wants to put women in charge and will do whatever she needs to do in order to get men out of power.

    When a notorious thief named Jeff Sutton (Richard Wyler) shows up on her turf, she's intrigued, figuring she'll be able to rip him off and use his loot to fund her various missions. He just got away with a cool ten million in cash, and that money will go a long way. Before we get to that, however, Sutton checks into his hotel and hits the sheets with Leslye Manors (Maria Rohm) all while a local crime boss named Sir Masius (George Sanders) starts to put into motion his own plan to swipe Sutton's cash. More importantly, Masius also wants to get Sunanda out of the picture, as she's nothing but a thorn in his side. He knows Sutton could prove to be a useful tool here, and that Leslye just might be exactly what he needs to get away with all of this and swipe not just Sutton's cash, but Sununda's gold reserves as well.

    Made two years after the first film and with Franco at the helm, it's no surprise to note that this picture takes advantage of what was a rapid decline in censorship standards. As such, Franco's follow up to Lindsay Shonteff's earlier feature gives us all the sex and violence that the first picture could only hint at. The light, fluffy humor of that earlier film is tossed by the way side in favor of Franco doing what Franco does best - working out his own personal kinks through his art. As such, there's a considerably darker tone to this film, but not to its detriment. We still get things filtered through the same sort of comic book aesthetic that was commonplace in a lot of Franco's output from this time, but things are cleared geared towards a more adult audience.

    The production values here are decent, by Franco standards they're actually beyond decent, and the movie goes at a good clip even if it stuffer from logic gaps (as is typical of Franco movies, there are various cuts and some footage that might have helped fill in some of those gaps is absent from this version). From the location photograph to the costuming, the movie is remarkably colorful and the competent cinematography accentuates this nicely. There's a solid score here too, it helps to move the action along nicely.

    As to the cast? Again, the movie lights up whenever Eaton is on screen, but here again she's a bit underused. We'll take what we can get and we'll like it but she should have had more screen time as she works really well in the role. Maria Rohm, Towers' real life wife (and therefore the star of many of his pictures from this era) looks gorgeous here as well, and look for lovely Elisa Montes in a small role as one of Masius's accomplices. Sanders is fun as Masius and Wyler makes for a dashing male lead. Everyone in front of the camera does solid work here. Budgetary restraints do wreak havoc with some of the more ambitious action set pieces but most Franco fans won't be bothered by that, particularly when the movie entertains with as much hyper-sexualized efficiency as The Girl From Rio does.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Blue Underground presents both features on a 50GB Blu-ray disc in AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfers framed at 2.35.1 and 1.66.1 respectively. The first film has a bit of mild print damage and some scenes show heavier grain and less consistent contrast than others, but overall it's quite a pleasing image with nice texture and detail. The Girl From Rio looks quite a bit better, cleaner, with more consistent color reproduction and better black levels. Skin tones look nice in each feature and the image is free of any heavy noise reduction though it does occasionally look like some has been applied, just not over-zealously. Likewise, compression artifacts aren't ever a problem.

    Each film is the recipient of an English language DTS-HD Mono track, no alternate language options are provided here though optional English closed captioning is offered. Both films sound just fine, with clean, clear and nicely balanced dialogue and a reasonable amount of depth afforded the music used in each picture.

    Extras for the first feature are limited to a still gallery and a trailer, but The Girl From Rio carries over the extras from Blue Underground's previous DVD release. As such, we get a still gallery for that movie but also a featurette made up of interviews with director Jess Franco, producer Harry Alan Towers and leading lady Shirley Eaton. It's an interesting look back at the making of the movie which each of the three interviewees chiming in about their experiences working on the film.

    The Final Word:

    Blue Underground's Blu-ray release of The Million Eyes Of Sumuru and The Girl From Rio is a good one, offering up these two wholly entertaining sexy pulp adventure stories in very nice shape and with the extras from the previous DVD release of The Girl From Rio carried over to the film's high definition debut.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





























    • Stephen
      #1
      Stephen
      Senior Member
      Stephen commented
      Editing a comment
      This is a great double feature! I like both films. But I'm i bit shocked that they released the cut down European version of "Million Eyes of Sumuru" and not the original theatrical US version. It's about 15 minutes that's missing. I don't know, maybe the rights to that version are still with MGM...?
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