Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine

Synopsis: Beware – this band of bikini-clad cuties is licensed to kill… with comedy! Featuring Vincent Price in “the most unusual and amusing role of his career” (Los Angeles Herald-Examiner) and Frankie Avalon, with cameo appearances by Annette Funicello and Harvey Lembeck, this sex-ational spy spoof is “thrill-packed fun” (Boxoffice).

Deranged Dr. Goldfoot (Price) has a dream… of taking over the universe! So the mad scientist invents a machine that builds sultry, bikini-clad sex sirens, whom he programs to seduce the world’s wealthiest men into signing over their fortunes. But when Secret Agent Craig Gamble (Avalon) learns of Goldfoot’s evil plot, he knows he must destroy these gorgeous gold diggers before losing his heart – and quite possibly his life – to the hottest assassins ever built!

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Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine 6.75

eyelights: Vincent Price. its manicured goofiness.
eyesores: its duration.

“Oh, that Number 11. I wish I had 12 of her!”

I know, I know… it’s called ‘Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine’.

Like, WTF, right?

Frankly, the only reason I ever picked it up is because I was looking for Vincent Price films at the local library and this title came up. I hadn’t really explored his filmography in depth then and was flummoxed to find this… uh… thing… coming up.

But I got it anyway.

I sort of half-expected it to be a silly movie but, when I first saw it, I think I was blindsided by it anyway. I had no idea that it was a spy movie spoof and that it would be as campy as it is. I didn’t quite hate it, but also didn’t quite love it either.

This time, however, I had a blast.

(It’s surely a case of adjusted expectations!)

The rating that I gave it wouldn’t suggest this, but it’s actually fairly funny and entertaining throughout. It’s just that its style of goofy fun doesn’t quite sustain a full 90-minute film; it would have played been much better in 30-minute episodes.

‘Dr. Goldfoot’ revolves around its eccentric namesake’s attempts at swindling wealthy men by pairing them up with his evil-doing agents, sexy robot women who seduce men into compliance. Unfortunately for Goldfoot, he catches the attention of an American spy.

A battle of (nit)wits is a(gold)foot!

The picture, which was released in 1965, stars Vincent Price as the titular villain and Frankie Avalon as Agent 00½, who is so incompetent that his boss (and uncle) brands him 00¼. They’re joined by Jack Mullaney as Igor and Dwayne Hickman as Todd Armstrong.

And then there’s Susan Hart as Diane, or No. 11.

Wow. The buxom babe, who was married to American International Pictures’ James H. Nicholson, turned in her most memorable performance as the robot who is out to seduce Todd, but winds up with 00½ instead. Va-va-va-voom! No wonder these men turn to jelly!

All of Goldfoot’s robot women are a sight to behold, but he’s most proud of his 11th creation, gleefully wishing that he had a dozen of them. So he makes use of her the most, leaving the others to gather around him while he explains his dastardly plans.

Boy, I pity the poor guy.

Price probably rarely had as much fun chewing the scenery as he does here – and he’s not just a total hoot here, but his comic timing is actually quite excellent. Thankfully, here it’s suited to the tenor of the material and it’s used to great effect.

The humour is really silly, the kind that likely would make kids squeal with delight. For instance, when Goldfoot radio controls Todd’s car and backs it up past Diane, he then crashes it up a lamp post and Todd and Diane stay propped up in it to make out.

Or, after being shot at by bank robbers, Diane leaks streams of the milk she’s drinking. Or Agent 00½ tries to get up from his chair and it’s temporarily stuck to his seat. It’s the least subtle brand of humour, but it’s carefully-crafted and exercised.

It’s a movie that is purposely silly, and expertly so.

Part of the joy of the piece are the one-liners that Goldfoot fires off as he berates Igor for being an incompetent henchman; they’re nasty, but funny and creative. Price is given the best material, while Avalon is given more corny and/or physical fodder.

He, unfortunately, isn’t as sharp as Price in his delivery.

The picture is probably fairly predictable given the genre, with Agent 00½ and Todd pairing up to foil Goldfoot’s plans. And when they infiltrate his lair (hidden below a cemetery named the “Goldfoot Memorial Park”) they get caught and are given a tour.

But it always has a few fun surprises to keep the audience amused and/or laughing, such as the use of a “Pit and the Pendulum” set for Goldfoot’s torture chamber, brief cameos (including Annette Funicello, Avalon’s former costar), and many other treats.

The whole thing culminates with a goofy chase as Goldfoot and Igor try to catch 00½ and Todd, barreling through the picturesque (and sometimes dangerous!) streets of San Francisco on a multitude of vehicles, as they keep changing from one to the next.

I had a lot of fun with ‘Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine’. I really did. But it’s far too much wackiness for a whole 90-minute movie. That being said, nothing stops me from watching it in short installments on lazy Sunday mornings in the future.

The kid in me will undoubtedly dig that.

Date of viewing: May 7, 2017

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