American International in the mid ’60s were the kings of the exploitation film if it was horror films like the great Roger Corman adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe films or the beach party films which made tons of money. Dr. Goldfoot is an attempt to do a spy spoof due to the astonishing success of the Sean Connery James Bond films at the time but without any of the charm of the Flint films. However they both have some unique charms especially the first film.
Vincent Price in one of his most devilishly camp performances stars in both films as the super villain Dr. Goldfoot. Originally according to Price it was supposed to be a musical but they cut all the music out except a stomping almost garagy theme from the Supremes. Dr. Goldfoot builds a gang of bikini clad girls who seduce rich men so they turn their financial assets over to them. Pop singer Frankie Avalon plays a bumbling secret agent who tries to foil Goldfoot’s plot.
The film is beyond stupid but it’s an enormously enjoyable film even if over the top sexism is problematic. The humour is a mixture of ’60s sexism and few films have as many gags of people falling into each other, however even the sexism is so ludicrous it becomes comical. Vincent Price is also playing upon his own persona so much that the filmmakers even decided to reuse designs of The Pit and the Pendulum even though that was most likely to cut costs. The film also have quite a few laughs due to the poor rear projection.
Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine was surprise hit so naturally AIP wanted a sequel immediately. They hired horror maestro Mario Bava but he didn’t want the job but was under contract to Italian producer Fulvio Lucisano. The film naturally lacks all the hallmarks of Bava’s work and the script was rewritten at least 9 times before production even started.
Vincent Price said it was the worst film he ever made and that may be a over-statement but it’s certainly up there. It’s a complete mess from the get go, Frankie Avalon had to drop out so they replaced him with Fabian Forte who is a now forgotten singer. The film was edited different from the Italian and US Markets and the US version was taken away from Bava so who knows what the Italian version is like, the disc is the US cut.
It lacks all the goofy charm of the first film but Vincent Price tried his best as he did with even the worst material. The discs are barebones and are available separately on Blu-Ray from 101 films. It’s also alternatively available in a Vincent Price set with the ok Jules Verne inspired Master of the World which is on DVD.
Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine ★★★1/2
comedy, sci-fi |PG |USA, 1965 | Dir. Norman Taurog | Vincent Price, Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman
Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs [rating=2]
comedy, sci-fi |PG |USA, 1966 | Dir. Mario Bava | Vincent Price, Fabian, Franco Franchi