Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Shirley Eaton as Sumuru  or Sumitra or Sumanda
THE GIRL FROM RIO (aka Rio 70/aka Die sieben Manner der Sumuru/1969). Director: Jess Franco.

In this pseudo-Eurospy movie and sort-of sequel to The Million Eyes of Sumuru, the arch-villainess who wants women to take over the world has created her own country of Femina. Sumuru (Shirley Eaton) kidnaps people and does other nefarious deeds to raise money for her all-female nation. A private eye named Jeff Sutton (Richard Wyler) has been hired to find his client's daughter, Ulla (Marta Reves), and cooks up a scheme to carry a suitcase allegedly filled with ten million dollars, figuring Sumuru is sure to nibble at the bait and take him to where Ulla is imprisoned. A weird character named Masius (George Sanders) has also heard about the money and orders his hit man, Carl (Herbert Fleischmann). to get it, meaning Jeff not only has to get Ulla out of Sumuru's jail but dodge attacks from Carl and his cronies. "Sumuru" first appeared in several novels by Sax Rohmer, the creator of Fu Manchu, but for some reason she is called "Sumanda" in this even as the closing credits list her name as "Sumitra." By any name, The Girl from Rio is an atrocious film, whose only purpose is to combine a trip to Rio for Carnivale with a tax loss. Eaton does her best, Sanders is as professional (and as wasted) as ever, and Wyler [The Strange Door] is also a capable enough actor, but the movie can best be described as a glorified home movie with terrible cinematography and typically poor Jess Franco direction. Sumuru keeps her prisoners in glass cells, half-naked, and entranced by a hypnotic mist. One scene has Jeff "tortured" by having several women crawling all over him and kissing him. The shame of this is that Rohmer's character was an interesting one, with fascinating aspects, but she's been reduced to a cartoon. The novels definitely had a homoerotic edge to them, although Sumuru was clearly interested in men, but in this movie the only sex she has is with another woman. The title tune is pleasant, although it reminds one of "The Girl from Ipanema." Most of the money for this film seems to have been spent on costumes for Eaton and the ladies. The script is by schlockmeister Harry Alan Towers, who also produced the film. Jess Franco's The Awful Dr. Orloff was not as awful as this. Rohmer's character later appeared in the 2003 film Sumuru.

Verdict: Interminable! *.


angelman66 said...

Wasn't Shirley Eaton the Bond girl who was covered n gold leaf in Goldfinger?

William said...

That was her, unfortunately it only led into movies like this one. The shame of it was that she was gorgeous and could act as well.