Sunday, July 27, 2014

Future Women, Shirley Eaton Conquers the World

If you are still distressed over Shirley Eaton's torturous demise in "Goldfinger," 1969's "Future Women" (aka "Rio 70," aka "The Girl From Rio") is the film for you.  Shot in Spain, set in Rio, Eaton plays man-hating Sumitra, who with an army of beautiful women, plans to conquer the world.  This film overflows with hot damsels in much distress, and is a B Movie fan's ultimate fantasy.
The plot: Undercover (literally) detective Jeff Sutton arrives at an exclusive hotel and Rio and immediately demands a manicurist and hair stylist.  Who says there are no more manly men?  Actually his manicurist is a beauty, Leslye (Maria Rohn).  Together they have lots of premarital sex, and do all sorts of romantic inanities.  Uh oh!  Masius (George Sanders), who heads a huge crime syndicate knows that Jeff has come to Rio because he fled the U.S. having absconded with $10 million.  Also, in a nearby secret compound, Sumitra leads an army of man-hating babes.  In an attempt to conquer the world, the women lure the richest men to the compound and steal their money...the men of course never leave.  Sumitra also knows Jeff has a briefcase with millions in it, and desires to possess it.  On the run from Masius' gang, Leslye helps Jeff escape.  Leslye is actually a secret agent for Sumitra and tricks Jeff to get on a plane which delivers him to Sumitra.  Meanwhile, Masius captures Leslye and beats the stuffing out of her in order to learn her secrets.
Bent on torturing him, Sumitra falls in love with Jeff.  The joke is on Sumitra!  There is no stolen loot.  Jeff wanted to be captured because his real job is to find Ulla (Marta Reves), who is the daughter of a wealthy businessman.  Sumitra captured her and is torturing her to break her will, so she will join the cause.  Sumitra's affection for Jeff makes Yuma jealous.  Yuma is Sumitra's lesbian lover. Seeing that Jeff is now monopolizing Sumitra's affections, Yuma rigs it so Jeff can escape with Ulla.  Meanwhile back in Rio, Leslye is enduring excruciating beatings and torture from Masius' men, and is released when Masius believes he has her loyalty.  Now that Masius knows about Sumitra's treasure, he forms an evil but grand strategy.  With his own air force, and an army of brutish criminals, he will raid the island, kill all the women, and claim the gold and cash.  To do this, he needs Jeff to show him the way in.  This results in an epic war in which so many of Sumitra's beautiful soldiers get mowed down by Masius' helicopter gunships.....very sad!
How will Masius strong-arm Jeff to return to Masius' compound?  In 2014, are we ready for an action hero who demands a hair-stylist and manicurist?  This movie was made in Europe...perhaps its a European thing?  Will Sumitra and her army be able to repel the invasion?  As stunning and menacing as Shirley Eaton is as our femme fatale, Maria Rohm, as Leslye, steals the show.  She shoots lots of guns and goes toe to toe, usually unsuccessfully, with all the villains in this story.  We cheer for her, no matter which side she appears to be on in any particular scene.  Even with the beatings and water torture she is subjected to, this beauty never loses control, and never whimpers.  If she were a stewardess instead of a manicurist, perhaps a movie would have been made about her character battling super-villains.  For campy, and very guilty pleasures, see "Future Women."     

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