Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Million Eyes of Sumuru / The Girl from Rio – Blue Underground (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Dates: UK, 1967 (The Million Eyes of Sumuru), West Germany/Spain/USA/UK, 1969 (The Girl from Rio)
Directors: Lindsay Shonteff (The Million Eyes of Sumuru), Jesus Franco (The Girl from Rio)
Cast: Frankie Avalon, George Nader, Shirley Eaton, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Klaus Kinski, Maria Rohm (The Million Eyes of Sumuru), Shirley Eaton, Richard Stapley, George Sanders, Maria Rohm, Marta Reves, Elisa Montés, Beni Cardoso, Herbert Fleischmann (The Girl from Rio)

Release Date: July 1st, 2016
Approximate Running Times: 79 Minutes 6 Seconds (The Million Eyes of Sumuru), 94 Minutes 2 Seconds (The Girl from Rio)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC (The Million Eyes of Sumuru), 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC (The Girl from Rio)
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English (Both Films)
Subtitles: English SDH (Both Films)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $19.99

"Two years before THE GIRL FROM RIO, Shirley Eaton (GOLDFINGER) also starred as Sumuru, a beautiful but deadly woman with plans for world domination. When a couple of wise-cracking, swingin’ secret agents uncover her scheme to eliminate male leaders and replace them with sexy undercover female operatives, they rush to Hong Kong and enlist the local police to stop her all-female army of assassins known as THE MILLION EYES OF SUMURU.

In the tradition of BARBARELLA and DANGER: DIABOLIK comes this swinging ‘60s action orgy as bisexual super-villain Sumuru (the luscious Shirley Eaton of GOLDFINGER) launches a diabolical plan to enslave the male species with her army of lusty warrior women.

But when Sumuru 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." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.5/5 (The Million Eyes of Sumuru), 3/5 (The Girl from Rio)

Here’s the information provided about The Million Eyes of Sumuru's transfer, "newly remastered in High Definition from the original camera negative for its U.S. home video premiere!"

Here’s the information provided about The Girl from Rio's transfer, "fully restored from the original camera negative!"

The Million Eyes of Sumuru and The Girl from Rio come on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 41.2 GB

Feature: 16.7 GB (The Million Eyes of Sumuru), 17.5 GB (The Girl from Rio)

Though the source for The Million Eyes of Sumuru is not as pristine as the source used for The Girl from Rio’s transfer, the result is a transfer that looks more organic. That said, source damage is always minor, and though there are some instances of color fading, colors, for the most part, look very good. Also, the image generally looks crisp, and black levels fare well.

Though The Girl from Rio’s new HD transfer has a solid foundation, it suffers from many of the same issues that Blue Underground’s 99 Women’s and Eugenie... the Story of Her Journey into Perversion’s transfers do. Most notably, digital filtering that eliminates many of these new HD transfers' improvements over previous The Girl from Rio home video releases.

Audio: 4.25/5 (The Million Eyes of Sumuru, The Girl from Rio)

The Million Eyes of Sumuru and The Girl from Rio each come with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English, and included are removable English SDH subtitles for both films. Both the audio mixes are in very good shape. They both sound clean, clear, balanced, and robust when they need to.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a poster & still gallery, a theatrical trailer for The Million Eyes of Sumuru (2 minutes 34 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles), trims from The Girl from Rio (6 minutes 6 seconds, no audio) and an archival featurette titled Rolling in Rio (14 minutes 24 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English and French with non-removable English subtitles).

Summary:

The Million Eyes of Sumuru is one wacky plot that takes all the spy films' most cliched elements and magnifies them tenfold. Besides conquering the world and having all men under her thumb, Sumuru has also developed a gun that shoots darts that turn their targets to stone. Two things about The Million Eyes of Sumuru that add humor to the story at hand are how Nick West, a CIA agent, only cares about his vacation and can’t be persuaded to help save the world until he is framed for murder. Even more silly is how Sumuru and his disciples hate men so much that they become schoolgirls in love when left alone with a man. Despite this melting pot of ideas, The Million Eyes of Sumuru works in an odd sort of way.

A lot of The Million Eyes of Sumuru's appeal is due to director Lindsay Shonteff's superb visual eye, which beautifully captures the numerous voluptuous women in this film. Other notable films that were also directed by Lindsay Shonteff include Devil Doll, Licensed to Kill (The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World) and Clegg. Also, The Million Eyes of Sumuru features many moments of suspense and plenty of action, including an all-out raid on Sumuru’s fortress. Besides action and suspense, there's an ample amount of humor, notably a moment with Klaus Kinski in the role of President Boong.

But this is another very limited and brief role for Klaus Kinski. This doesn’t mean that he just merely shows up and is part of the scenery. The role of President Boong is The Million Eyes of Sumuru's most memorable. It has also been reported by director Lindsay Shonteff that Klaus Kinski wanted to make his character even more outlandish than what appears on the screen. Some of Klaus Kinski’s ideas that were never used include sporting a very large tongue while licking women and wanting his character to appear from under a pile of cushions whenever someone enters the room.

The two lead male roles are George Nader (Robot Monster) in the role of Nick West and Frankie Avalon (Beach Party) in the role of Tommy Carter. They make an odd duo. In the role of the title character, Sumuru, is Shirley Eaton, who most film fans remember from the James Bond film Goldfinger. Her character's death in Goldfinger ranks among the most memorable to ever grace the silver screen. She would reprise the role of Sumuru two years later in The Girl from Rio. That said, in the role of Sumuru, she would get a chance to show that she was something more than just a beautiful face and body. Other notable performances in The Million Eyes of Sumuru are Wilfrid Hyde-White (My Fair Lady) and Maria Rohm (Marquis de Sade's Justine). Ultimately, The Million Eyes of Sumuru is an entertaining action/adventure that fans of 1960's spy cinema will get a kick out of.

The Girl from Rio was directed by Jess Franco, a prolific filmmaker whose filmography eclipses two hundred films. Over the course of two years, Jess Franco would collaborate with producer Harry Allen Towers on a total of nine films. The Girl from Rio is their second collaboration and their second adaptation of Sax Rohmer's literary works. Also, the screenplay for The Girl from Rio was written by Harry Allan Towers under the pseudonym Peter Welbeck.

Content-wise, there are some elements in The Girl from Rio's plot that have been ported over from The Million Eyes of Sumuru. With none more glaring than Sumuru’s main modus operandi once again being world domination. With that being said, despite the familiarity between these two films, this is a Jess Franco film, after all, and throughout he injects his unique flourishes. Also, there is one slight upgrade in Sumuru’s quest for world domination. This time around she has two foes: an American playboy who also just happens to have secret agent-like skills and a mobster named Masius.

When compared to its predecessor, The Girl from Rio takes on a distinctively different vibe. The look and feel of The Girl from Rio are similar to that of Jess Franco's Lucky, the Inscrutable. While The Million Eyes of Sumuru was more in line with the action/adventure films Towers produced before his collaborations with Jess Franco.

Another way that The Girl from Rio sets itself apart from its predecessor is that it amps up the eroticism, most notably in its depiction of lesbianism in regards to the Sumuru character. And though there was a hint of S&M in The Million Eyes of Sumuru, it is relatively tame compared to The Girl from Rio.

And when discussing the Jess Franco and Harry Alan Towers collaborations, there is one resource that was never lacking, and that is in regard to casting. Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger) is once again cast in the role of Sumuru, and this time around she exudes more confidence in the role. Other notable cast members include George Sanders (Psychomania) in the role of Masius, a ruthless mobster; and Maria Rohm (Venus in Furs) in the role of Lesley, one of Sumuru’s henchwomen. Ultimately, The Girl from Rio is a very satisfying mix of erotica, kitsch, and mayhem.

The Million Eyes of Sumuru and The Girl from Rio get serviceable transfers that leave plenty of room for improvement.


















Written by Michael Den Boer

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