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Monday, July 15, 2024

The Girl from Rio (4K UHD Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements


A female warrior rules over a group of scantily clad warrior women, launches a plan for world domination and subjugating men to her rule, kidnaps an international playboy, and comes into conflict with an underground crime boss.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

If you are familiar with European B-grade exploitation films, then you are probably familiar with the works of Jess Franco. His dizzying film The Girl from Rio is one of is best works visually. Set in Brazil, the film stars bond girl Shirley Eaton who plays an uber-sexy bisexual dominatrix-type warlord named Sumuru who rules over an all-female community called Femina. She looks to take over the world and bring all men into servitude. A crime boss named Masius (George Sanders) stands in the way of Sumuru’s coming war and hapless fugitive American rapscallion Jeff Sutton (Richard Stapley) ends up in the middle of the battle between Sumuru and Masius after he is kidnapped and “suffers” some S&M torture sessions at the hands of Sumuru and her sexy warrior minions.

One cannot look too far into a Jess Franco film for story or subtext – it is all surface level, eye candy erotica. The Girl from Rio is a carnival of half-clad female warriors, vaguely written plot devices, and beautiful locales. Franco, working on a shoestring budget, makes the film look quite acceptable, even reusing some footage from other films, inserting footage from the Rio Carnivale that is out of place, but adds to the atmosphere. There are also some dreamlike erotic sequences that feel disconnected but push the erotica into overdrive.  The film is convoluted, but fun, titillating, and gorgeous to watch.

  • The Girl from Rio (1969)
  • The Girl from Rio (1969)
  • The Girl from Rio (1969)
  • The Girl from Rio (1969)
  • The Girl from Rio (1969)
  • The Girl from Rio (1969)
  • The Girl from Rio (1969)
  • The Girl from Rio (1969)
  • The Girl from Rio (1969)
  • The Girl from Rio (1969)
  • The Girl from Rio (1969)
  • The Girl From Rio [4K UHD + Blu-ray] (Blue Underground)

The Video

Blue Underground provides a world premiere, brand-new 4K restoration from the uncensored original camera negative for The Girl from Rio in a 1.66:1 HEVC 2160p (4UHD) Dolby Vision encodement. The HDR10 metadata shows a MaxLL of 1000 nits and MaxFALL of 480 nits.

Once again Blue Underground have performed miracles making this low-budget Euro-exploitation flick look absolutely fantastic. There are some unavoidable production issues that make the picture a little uneven with some softness and excessive grain or haziness in some scenes, but it always looks natural, free from noise, and with very little source damage. The Dolby Vision grading adds lots of ‘pop’ to specular highlights like the sheen on the red satin capes on the women in Femina, or the light reflections on their black latex. It also helps with the vibrancy of the colors, the color gradations, bringing more color to skylines at sundown, for instance, or applying intense blue to the daytime sky. There are some scenes in the dark where detail collapses into some murkiness and crush, butit does not take away from the overall strength and detail, and scenes in the dark where there are light sources have incredible dynamic separation.

The Audio

The lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 mix is the sole track available, and it cannot overcome the limitations of the source, suffering from some sibilance on dialogue. Nevertheless, it still manages to present a warm and punchy sound.

The Supplements

4K Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Film Historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth (4K & Blu-ray) (NEW)

Blu-ray Bonus Features:

  • Rocking in Rio – Interview with Stephen Thrower, Author of “Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco” (1080p; 00:40:35) (NEW)
  • Rolling in Rio – Interviews with Director Jess Franco, Producer Harry Alan Towers, and Star Shirley Eaton (1080p; 00:14:26)
  • Additional Scenes & Trims:
    • Additional Scenes from German Version (1080p; 00:09:43) (NEW)
    • Trim Reel (1080p; 00:06:06)
  • Poster & Still Gallery (1080p)
  • RiffTrax Edition – The Girl from Rio Riffed by Mike Nelson, Bill Corbet, and Kevin Murphy (1080p; 01:17:48) (NEW)

The Final Assessment

Another almost surreal Jess Franco piece of Euro-exploitation filled with eye candy – of both the female and location kind – that Blue Underground as masterfully restored for this 4K Ultra HD disc release. Recommend for any genre fan.

The Girl from Rio is out on 4K Ultra HD Combo September 26, 2023, from Blue Underground.

  • Rating Certificate: R
  • Studios & Distributors: Udastex Films | Ada Films | Terra-Filmkunst | Blue Underground
  • Director: Jess Franco
  • Written By: Harry Alan Towers | Sax Rohmer | Franz Eichhorn
  • Run Time: 94 Mins.
  • Street Date: 26 September 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • HDR10 Metadata:
    • MaxLL: 1000 nits
    • MaxFALL: 480 nits
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 1.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH | French | Spanish

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A female warrior rules over a group of scantily clad warrior women, launches a plan for world domination and subjugating men to her rule, kidnaps an international playboy, and comes into conflict with an underground crime boss. The Girl from Rio (4K UHD Review)