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Jess Franco
Shirley Eaton, Richard Wyler, George Sanders
Writing Credits:
Harry Alan Towers

Having established Femina, a secret city populated entirely by beautiful women, Sumuru plots to wage a war against all men.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Dolby Vision
English DTS-HD MA 1.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $49.95
Release Date: 9/26/2023

• Audio Commentary with Film Historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth
• “Rifftrax” Edition
• “Rocking in Rio” Featurette
• Additional Scenes & Trims
• Poster & Still Gallery
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Girl from Rio [4K UHD] (1969)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 11, 2023)

Without question, Shirley Eaton remains primarily known to the moviegoing public as Jill Masterston, the beauty coated in gold in 1964’s James Bond classic Goldfinger. Eaton continued to work through the rest of the 1960s, with 1969’s starring role in The Girl from Rio as her feature film swansong.

American Jeff Sutton (Richard Wyler) comes to Brazil with $10 million in stolen cash – and the goons of mobster Sir Macius (George Sanders) on his tail. Jeff attempts to flee with Lesley Manors (Maria Rohm), a manicurist he bedded.

This lands Jeff in Femina, a hidden city led by feminist Sunanda (Eaton). Sunanda desires war against men, and Jeff finds himself stuck in the middle.

If we place ourselves in the culture of 1969, Girl feels like an obvious statement. This was the era of the Women’s Liberation Movement.

Many felt those who sought equal rights for women inherently hated men, an attitude that still seems prevalent in some circles. Girl appears to embrace this POV as enacted via Sunanda and the others in Femina.

No one should expect these themes to play out in a meaningful manner via Girl, however. Basically a cheap exploitation flick, it uses the feminist concepts as reactionary windowdressing and nothing more.

With Eaton in tow, we can’t help but view Girl as a cut-rate riff on the Bond universe. Whether or not the filmmakers explicitly intended to create a Bond wannabe, Girl comes with too many similarities to view as coincidence.

For instance, when Jeff introduces himself at the hotel desk, he utters “Sutton – Jeff Sutton”. Throw in the general Bond-like vibe and the attempts to connect to that franchise feel obvious.

Unfortunately, the dishwater dull Jeff acts as no substitute for 007. The character feels ill-defined and boring.

Wyler fails to add any spark to the proceedings, and no one else compensates. Eaton feels vaguely sassy but not more.

The usually reliable Sanders acts down to the terrible screenplay. Near the end of his life, he camps up a storm but lacks the malicious charm we expect of him.

I can’t blame Sanders too much, though, for the “story” to Girl offers such a mess. My synopsis makes it sound considerably more coherent than the end result delivers.

Granted, I appreciate the fact that Girl leaves some sense of mystery and develops at its own pace. It doesn’t spoonfeed the audience.

However, we find a thin line between “intriguing mystery” and “poor screenplay”. Girl crosses that line, as it fails to develop narrative or characters in an engaging manner.

Really, the banal nature of Girl becomes its biggest problem, though. Even at a brief 94 minutes, the movie plods and lacks the most rudimentary sense of intrigue, passion or excitement.

Heck, the movie never can decide what to call its female lead! Though based on Sax Rohmer’s Sumuru character – and a loose sequel to 1967’s Million Eyes of Sumuru - the film itself refers to her as Sunanda, and the end credits call her “Sumitra”. Clearly the actors said “Sumuru” during the shoot but looped “Sunanda” later.

A little nudity makes parts of the film tolerable, but these feel too infrequent and too tame to overcome the flick’s inherent dragginess. Despite some provocative concepts, Girl from Rio ends up as a slow and bland attempt at a thriller.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

The Girl from Rio appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.66:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. The Dolby Vision presentation worked pretty well.

Overall sharpness felt positive. Occasional minor instances of softness materialized, but they remained rare and usually reflected a gauzy photography used intentionally.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Grain seemed natural, and I saw no print flaws.

Colors leaned natural. Overall, the tones came across in a vivid manner, and HDR added range and impact to the hues.

Blacks were deep and dark, while shadows were decent to good. Some low-light shots felt a bit thick, however, partly due to some dodgy day for night work.

HDR contributed oomph and power to whites and contrast. Expect a solid image here.

Less obvious pleasures come from the pretty average DTS-HD MA 1.0 soundtrack of Girl. With a lot of looping, dialogue remained intelligible but not especially natural.

Music showed acceptable reproduction but lacked much range or clarity. Effects also seemed thin and lackluster, and iffy foley work made these elements awkward at times. Given the track’s age and origins, it felt acceptable.

We get a mix of extras here, and we open with an audio commentary from film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at cast and crew, the source and its adaptation, cinematic techniques, genre domains, and related topics.

Veterans of the commentary format, Thompson and Howarth almost always offer good chats, and this one holds up to that history. They provide a nice mix of notes related to Girl from Rio itself as well as those involved to ensure we get a robust and engaging discussion.

We get additional extras on the included Blu-ray copy, and here we find a RiffTrax Edition of Girl. This features Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy as they watch and mock the movie.

With a running time of 77 minutes, 48 seconds, “RiffTrax” covers an edited cut of the film. I feel thankful for that, as I couldn’t take an extra 17 minutes of this content.

Apparently a lot of people find this kind of stuff amusing. I don’t, as I think the attempts at humor just seem dopey and almost totally devoid of actual cleverness. But hey, if you like this stuff, party on!

Two featurettes appear, and Rocking in Rio runs 40 minutes, 35 seconds. It provides notes from film historian Stephen Thrower.

“Rocking” looks at those involved with Girl, aspects of its production and his thoughts about the movie. Some of this repeats from the commentary, but Thrower brings plenty of fresh remarks.

Rolling in Rio goes for 14 minutes, 26 seconds. It brings remarks from director Jess Franco, producer/writer Harry Alan Towers and actor Shirley Eaton.

They give us some memories and observations related to Girl. We get a nice collection of notes here.

A collection of Additional Scenes & Trims spans a total of 15 minutes, 49 seconds. Of primary interest, “Additional Scenes” brings a prologue that appeared in the German release that allows the story to make much more sense. I guess the filmmakers thought the plot worked better with a more mysterious vibe – it doesn’t.

As for the six minutes, six seconds of trims, they provide audio-free footage that lacks much context and thus seem less than compelling. They do come with some added nudity, though, so I won’t complain.

Finally, a Poster & Still Gallery encompasses 75 images that mix ads, promotional materials, publicity shots and behind the scenes elements. It becomes a decent compilation.

Note that the package includes a new Blu-ray and not the original release from 2016. I didn’t review the 2023 BD because Blue Underground didn’t release it outside of this 4K set.

One might expect a movie about female warriors who want to subjugate men to offer some excitement. In the case of The Girl from Rio, one would expect incorrectly, as it becomes a sluggish and dull tale. The 4K UHD comes with pretty good picture, acceptable audio and a mix of bonus materials. Not much about this dud works.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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