Movie Review: The Girl From Rio (1969) – Blue Underground 4K/Blu-ray combo

September 9, 2023

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Arrogant ass/our hero/James Bond surrogate Jeff Sutton (Richard Stapley) arrives in Rio with a hot wad of stolen dough. This factoid becomes known to local crime-lord Sir Macius (George Sanders, the voice of the tiger Shere Khan in Disney’s 1967 animated adaptation of The Jungle Book) who sends out his masked assassins (one of many pieces of imaginative comic book style art design this flick possesses) to grab the cash, which puts the kibosh on his hot date with manicurist Lesley (Maria Rohm, a regular in the films of absolute legend Jess Franco… who just so happened to direct this film as well).

Speaking of Lesley, she is in fact a resident of the retro-futuristic city Femina run by the female super-villain Sunanda (Shirley Eaton, whom you may remember covered in gold in 1964’s Bond flick, Goldfinger)… who just so happens to be assembling an army of women warriors (who dress as if they just walked out of an Alex Raymond drawing to stunning effect) which she finances by means of torturing and killing men whom have stolen large sums of money… like our boy Jeff, who is promptly kidnapped and taken to Femina.

Good thing too, as he meant to go there all along due to his involvement in a top secret mission to rescue Ulla (Marta Reves), a woman who refused to join Sunanda’s ranks. Will Jeff be able to survive the machinations of both Sunanda and Macius or will he succumb to the torturous case of blue balls afforded to him by the denizens of Femina?

Jess Franco delivers one hell of a picture with The Girl From Rio, a Bond-send-up/comic book come to life/Sax Rohmer (the creator of the villainous crime lord Dr. Fu Manchu… though his character of Sumuru gets a name change in this version) adaptation all in one!

To that end we get groovy evil lair sets, mod-’60s fashions, neo-Amazons fighting helicopters, colorful lighting, a tit or two… pretty much everything you could ask for from a romp of this caliber (i.e. the absolutely fun as all unholy hell kind!)… though it’s a tad less horny than a large percentage of Franco’s output…

One can also expect a soundtrack full of “ba di ba da baaaa” style scat being flounced around (along with some jazzy percussion, and spacey synths all courtesy of composer Daniel White’s lively score), campy yet absolutely delightful acting turns from Eaton and Sanders, and more unnecessary camera zooms than you could shake a rifle-toting, half naked super-model soldier at!

All of the above looks sharp as fuck on this new release from Blue Underground, which uses a new transfer restored from the original camera negative that boasts eye-popping color, minimal grain, and a sharpness that puts us right in the middle of this spy-caper fever dream with crystal clarity!

Speaking of looking at things, you’ll definitely want to feast your putrid peepers on the special features assembled here (how’s that for a shitty segue, eh my cats n’ creeps?!!), most of which are brand new to this edition!

The 4K disc present here contains a new audio commentary featuring film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth that takes us through the film’s production and legacy in an up-beat conversation featuring plenty of facts and anecdotes.

That commentary is also present on the Blu-ray version of the film also included here, but it is joined by other material including an all-new interview with Franco historian Stephen Thrower (who gives a scholarly analysis of The Girl From Rio, as well as it’s place in Franco’s oeuvre in fascinating detail), a series of archival interviews (featuring Franco, Eaton, and producer/screenwriter Harry Alan Towers), a newly discovered collection of scenes present in the German cut of the film (including a proper intro to Sutton that details his motives earlier than in other versions), a series of miscellaneous cuts, a poster and promotional material gallery, and the RiffTrax comedy commentary if one is so inclined.

Pound for pound, The Girl From Rio is a pop-art masterpiece filled to bursting with lurid color, naked flesh, outrageous costumes and fun for miles!


Share This Article

You May Also Like…