15 March 2006 | dougbrode
A beautiful female version of Fu Manchu attempts to take over the world
Just as Prehistoric Women is the ultimate vehicle for Martine Beswick and the favorite film of her cult following, so is this the ultimate for Shirley Eaton - and many of us who are Eaton cultists are also Beswick devotees, as one was a brunette and the other a blonde, but all difference ends there - slinky, sophisticated English lovelies who in the 1960s each had a second female lead in a bond film (Beswick in Thunderball, Eaton in Goldfinger) and each went on to play deliciously decadent bad girls, particularly in their best remembered films. Here's the pity - while Prehistoric Women can easily be picked up on video or DVD, Su Maru remains difficult (to say the least) to find. Even among those semi-secretive distributors of great-bad B movies on the Net. Anyway, the old Sax Rohmer story is updated and given a 60s feel, with George Nader as a flimsy James Bond wannabe and Frankie Avalon (?!), fresh from the Beach movies, as his sidekick. (By the way, about 20 years ago, Avalon swore to me that Eaton was the most beautiful single woman he'd ever seen in his life, and that as incredible as she is on film, cinema doesn't do her justice - looking at her in person, at least back then, made you want to pass out. I believe him!) She's the leader of an all (gorgeous) girl conspiracy to take over the world, and at one point hangs George Nader in a jail cell and whips him. (Leather whip, of course - this may be where 'mainstream kink' all began). Each of her associates is a knockout, all wearing black satin and leather costumes, and they seduce then kill men. This is a decidedly anti-feminist vision, made perhaps in response to the then-recent publication of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, which kicked off the modern woman's movement. Lots of near nudity, as this was made just before the ratings system fell apart and full frontal would be allowed about two years later. A tease, but lots of fun, very campy, and played with tongue firmly in cheek.