Action, Satire, Spy, Thriller

The Million Eyes of Sumuru / The Girl From Rio (1967 / 1969)

Comments Off on The Million Eyes of Sumuru / The Girl From Rio (1967 / 1969) 07 October 2016

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Studio: Blue Underground

Theatrical Release(s): May 17, 1967 / March 14, 1969

Blu Ray Release: April 26, 2016

Director(s): Lindsay Shonteff / Jess Franco

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

Blue Underground’s spy double feature about the evil Sumuru and her legion of deadly women who want to take over the world has now hit blu ray in glorious HD.

The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967)

This uneven comedic spy thriller stars Frankie Avalon and George Nader as a couple of smart-ass secret agents who take on a case to track down Sumuru (Shirley Eaton), a beautiful woman whose in charge of a legion of deadly women who are killing off all male leaders around the world and replacing the now open positions with one of Sumuru’s lovely ladies.

While the plot is ridiculous, I will say it does have a somewhat original idea and for a lower budget film, I found the film somewhat entertaining. The opening sequence of a funeral that ends with a bang was a great hook to open up the beginning of the movie. The action-packed climatic shoot out also was a treat to watch. Director Shonteff knows how to utilize his 2:35:1 frame, providing plenty of action and eye candy within each shot. Shot in Hong Kong, the film is gorgeous to look at utilizing some gorgeous locations while our characters race about tracking down Sumuru.

The issue with The Million Eyes of Sumuru is the uneven and lame comedic one liners spouted out by our two main leads. Their wise-cracking dialog is just awful and neither performer has a sense of comic timing. One moment the film is taking itself seriously and the next, it isn’t. Is this a spoof? Was Avalon and Nader (who are just downright awful) trying to recapture the one-liners Sean Connery would sometimes spout out in his James Bond films? While I did find Klaus Kinski’s all too short role as President Boong humorous, the remainder of the film was groan inducing. Such a shame too.

The Girl From Rio (1970)

Unrated Film’s favorite director, Jess Franco, directed this semi-sequel to The Million Eyes of Samuru with Shirley Eaton reprising the role of Samuru. This time Samuru runs a small city called Femina which holds hostage stacks of gold bricks that was stolen for Samuru’s city of women to survive. The audience is introduced to suave (and wooden) Jeff Sutton (Richard Wyler) who comes to Rio with 10 million dollars. Now it is never clear if Jeff is a rich playboy or a thief who stole this money but word gets around and Sumuru kidnaps him to take this money to make her city even more powerful.

However, the slimy gangster Masius (George Sanders, best known to genre fans from Village of the Damned) also gets word that Jeff is in town with this money which he too wants a piece of. When Masius finds out the man he targeted to steal money from is kidnapped, he and his goons invade Sumuru’s compound in a climatic shoot out which almost replicates the first film’s finale.

Needless to say, The Girl From Rio is a much better film than The Million Eyes of Sumuru. The Girl From Rio is at times very funny but in a subtle way with Sanders providing some of the best moments as a gangster who gets squeamish over violence and tends to have women twice his age constantly making out with him. I especially love the scene where he is laying on the couch reading a Popeye comic book, laughing away. He must have had a ball making this film. It’s these odd moments that elevated The Girl From Rio over it’s predecessor.

The plot is also ridiculous but in a good way. Like a James Bond film with more batshit qualities, this movie has a city run by women who wear costumes with their breasts hanging out, a ray gun that can destroy one’s inner organs, gangsters wearing animal masks; it’s absolutely nuts and very entertaining. It is also one of the better directed Franco films as it’s beautifully shot and has moments that feel like I was watching a Stanley Kubrick movie in regards of its composition and framing. Don’t worry Franco fans, there are still plenty of zooms to satisfy you Franco freaks.

Both films look fantastic on blu ray with Million Eyes looking a tad better as The Girl From Rio had a bit of flickering in it’s image but I only noticed it once or twice. Minor complaint if any. The 2.0 Mono soundtrack is wonderful. While both films have some overdubbing with characters mouths not quite matching up with what they are saying, but that isn’t really a blu ray audio issue.The blu ray has a rather short featurette interview with the late Franco as well as Eaton and producer Harry Alan Towers, only commenting on The Girl From Rio. While there is no trailer for Girl, Million Eyes does have a trailer provided.

I’d say the blu ray double feature is worth purchasing just for The Girl From Rio alone.

The Million Eyes of Sumuru Rating: ★★½☆☆

The Girl From Rio Rating: ★★★½☆

Blu Ray Rating: ★★★½☆

 

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