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The Million Eyes Of Sumuru / The Girl From Rio – Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)

Million-Eyes-Sumuru-Girl-From-RioBlue Underground will be bringing the Blu-ray release of Jess Franco’s film The Girl From Rio (1969), starring Shirley Eaton, Maria Rohm, Richard Wyler, George Sanders, Marta Reves, and Elisa Montés. 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.  This Blu-ray release is a double feature that include Lindsay Shonteff’s film The Million Eyes of Sumur (1967), which is the film that precedes The Girl From Rio. Starring Frankie Avalon, Klaus Kinski, George Nader, Shirley Eaton, and Maria Rohm. The release will be available for purchase on April 26.

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The Million Eyes of Sumuru Dex-1Dexter-_5Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0

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.

If there was a checklist of cool things to look for in a classic 1960s spy movie, The Million Eyes of Sumuru might check off a good number of those.  Unfortunately, while having the credentials, the film really isn’t very good.  It features a Bond girl, Shirley Eaton, chewing up scenery and really getting into her role.  Another thing that works for this one is its costuming and set design.  Hell, even the plot set up is pretty good.

Some interesting stuff revolves around this film.  It was adapted from a series of novels (there were six, I don’t know where this one came in).  They filmed this movie at the Shaw Brothers studios in Hong Kong.  Yes, that Shaw Brothers.  That’s a neat little piece of history it carries.  Of course, for me, this movie was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Except, it was during the KTMA public access years, so it wasn’t a part of the syndicated run of the series on Comedy Central or the Sci-Fi Channel (Now SyFy Channel).

The big problem with The Million Eyes of Sumuru is that all this can never capitalize on anything or really take any notable risks.  This renders the film pretty dull and boring.  Its so ineffective that I’ve had a hard time thinking about what to write regarding it.  It also is weird, because I’m watching a film with some great locations, hard work behind the scenes and a subgenre I really dig…but I’m just not connecting and am checking my watch throughout reviewing it.

Girl From Rio 1

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Bisexual super-villain Sumitra 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 and ignites a battle of the sexes that will bring Brazil to its knees in more ways than one.

Now we come to the sequel.  Coming in, I just thought this was a Shirley Eaton double feature (still is), but I didn’t know The Girl From Rio was a sequel to The Million Eyes of Sumuru.  However, the two films couldn’t have been any different from one another.  This is a good thing as everything you would have wanted the previous film to be is right here in its sequel.

Jess Franco is a director that I know of and know he’s got a strong cult following, but personally I’ve never seen any of his work.  And, now I’m a little curious to see a few other things he’s done.  This film was oozing with style, sexiness, psychadelia and weirdness.  The cool costuming and sets take it to the next level and the film is just this weird little thing all its own.  The only thing connecting it to the previous film are spies and Shirley Eaton’s character.

While some of the technical merits of the film may not be as tight, professional or even “as good” as Million Eyes, its much more interesting.  The film is a lot looser, maybe a little sloppier, but those things, those chances the film takes adds to its intrigue and entertainment value.  As a piece of art, the film holds much more merit than its predecessor.  Its one I definitely will revisit and will recommend to the likeminded people.

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Video Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: The Million Eyes Of Sumuru – 2.35:1 / The Girl From Rio – 1.66:1

Clarity/Detail:  I’d never seen both of these films until this review, but I’d imagine that they’ve never looked quite this good before.  Million Eyes has an image that is similar to the previous double feature of spy films from Blue Underground.  Girl From Rio looks pretty rich and has a more well rounded looking definition with such clarity and detail work on textures and patterns.

Depth:  Dimensions are above average.  Movements are cinematic and smooth.  Background detail looks pretty good when focus allows.

Black Levels:  Blacks are solid and deep.  No crushing witnessed.  Some nice sharpening enhancement and little detail lost in dark colored hair, clothes and surfaces.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are pretty bold and good looking here.  Girl From Rio probably fare better and is a tad more flashy.  Golds stick out in that one pretty well.

Flesh Tones:  Both films feature natural looking skin tones that maintain a consistent appearance throughout the duration of the film.  Close-ups feature the best look at facial details like make-up, wrinkles and lip texture.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some grain, and rather minimal specs/dirt.

Girl From Rio 2

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics:  Both films don’t feature a very in your face track and lack some deepness to it, but they have a nice clean clarity to them that works for it.  Effects and score sounds well rounded and features some good layers and balance considering the age.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals sound like their analog sourcing, but are clean and clear throughout the features.

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Extras Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0

The Million Eyes Of Sumuru

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:34) 

Poster & Still Gallery (HD, 1:05) 

The Girl From Rio

Rolling In Rio (HD, 14:24) – Interviews with director Jess Franco, producer Harry Alan Towers and star Shirley Eaton.

Poster & Still Gallery (HD, 1:28) 

Girl From Rio 3

Summary Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0Dexter-0

Blue Underground jumps in again with another double feature of little seen, cult 1960s spy films.  This is from the hey day of the genre and is stuff for the fans to check out.  This release is definitely ALL The Girl From Rio, but adding its predecessor The Million Eyes of Sumuru is a very nice bonus.  Both films look very good and Blue Underground has ported over the bonus materials from previous releases.  For this into this sort of thing, its a definite pickup.

Million-Eyes-Sumuru-Girl-From-Rio-Blu-ray

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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