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DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE starring VINCENT PRICE
FRANKIE AVALON * SUSAN HART * Directed by NORMAN TAUROG
The Master Plan, I believe, is to marry off rich bachelors to female robots and get rich. Of all the films attempting to capture the absurdity and success of the James Bond craze of the sixties, this one may be the most ridiculous. This one combines the weird plots of the James Bond films with some elements of the stupid beach movies and campy horror of the decade, complete with dungeons and threat of torture (genuinely if mildly amusing). It's an odd mix, to be sure. Then-popular teen idol Avalon, most famous for his beach blanket bingo pics, is an agent (number 00 & 1/2) of S.I.C. (Secret Intelligence Command), based out of my old hometown of San Francisco.
This does have nice location long shots and a focus on the winding Lombard Street. Avalon plays a hapless dope who becomes involved with a femme fatale robot (Hart) accidentally. She's one of several creations originating from the warped brain of Goldfoot (Price), the mad doctor of the title. He's somewhat typical of a Bondian villain wannabe, but Price is best known for his mad scientist roles in typical horror films of that time, so he's kind of a combination of both. Though a mad genius in the comical sense, his goal involves nothing more than making some bucks off his robots; therefore, he's actually a futuristic pimp, running a wild & crazy con artist/prostitution ring.
The plot is pretty amusing and Price hams it up shamelessly, mugging for the camera and even indulging in that cliché - the sinister mad chuckle. His assistant, Igor, is a complete idiot, a further parody of the mad scientist's aid from the "Frankenstein" movies, existing solely as an ego-boost for the mad scientist, to make him look even smarter - presumably why Goldfoot 'returned' him to life (see also the Luthor / Otis relationship from the "Superman" movies).
How much a viewer likes any of this depends on how much patience one has for all the slapstick stunts and silly overplaying by the actors. Igor is the most extreme example, but everyone else also behaves like an idiot. The one surprise is actress Hart, who, besides being easy on the eye, proves to be quite talented, required to act with several different accents, besides other things. She virtually disappeared from the movie business soon after this, unfortunately. The entire premise of robotic babes, a commentary on male attitudes of that period, was repeated in later similar fare - Some Girls Do (1969) for example, not to mention the obvious The Stepford Wives in the seventies. BoG's Score: 5
Also, if you watch this, take note of the use of musical sound FX in one scene (in the restaurant, I think, around the middle of the film) from a couple of famous sci-fi pics of the fifties, "War of the Worlds" and "Forbidden Planet." Goldfoot and S.I.C. would return in the Italian Dr.Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs the following year. Fun Facts: The title song is sung by The Supremes. The opening claymation sequence was done by Art Clokey, producer of the 'Gumby' TV series.
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