The Girl from Rio (1969)

Jess Franco, come on down. Welcome back to B&S About Movies! I see that you’re here today with The Girl From Rio, a sequel to The Million Eyes of Sumuru and based on Sax Rohmer’s Sumuru character. You did have help on this one — it was written and produced by Harry Alan Towers, who collaborated with you on films like 99 Women, Venus in Furs, Marquis de Sade: Justine, Eugenie… The Story of Her Journey into Perversion, The Bloody Judge and Count Dracula. He also produced the White Fang film that Fulci directed and 1983’s Fanny Hill, a movie that was my girlfriend for many years in the 1980’s.

Let’s take a break from you and discuss Towers, whose career started as the son of a theatrical agent who became a child actor. He began syndicating radio shows before producing films, including five Fu Manchu movies. In between all that, he ran a vice ring that implicated the United Nations, JFK, Peter Lawford and Stephen Ward, one of the central figures in the Profumo scandal.

But back to you, Mr. Franco. This movie, you did it all. You had women. You had violence. And you had pans in to the sun that lasted for over a minute in the place of any narrative. God bless you.

A co-production between West Germany, Spain and the United States, this movie is also known as The Seven Secrets of Sumuru, City Without Men, Sumuru Queen of Femina, Rio 70 and Future Women.

Secret agent Jeff Sutton shows up in Rio with millions of bucks and walks right into a war between British gangster Sir Masius (George Sanders, an actor so well known that The Kinks mentioned him in song) and Sumuru (Shirley Eaton, a sex symbol who was Jill Masterson in Goldfinger). This lady boss runs the secret world of Femina, gathering women ready to conquer the world. And when things get bad, she chooses death — don’t worry, she makes it out alive — rather than giving up her power.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime with and without the crew from Rifftrax.

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