Friday, May 27, 2011

Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (AND Vincent Price!)

Don’t expect to see Jody McCrea as Bonehead, fake surfing scenes, or the girl in the fringed dress shaking her … fringe. Don’t even expect to see more than a short glimpse of a beach! However, Dr. Goldfoot and Bikini Machine (hereafter, Dr. Goldfoot) is a spin-off of the beach party movies, and there are plenty of bikinis. It was produced in 1965 by American International, same filmmakers and writers, with claymation opening by Art Clokey. You will see funny cameos of Annette Funicello, Harvey Lembeck as Erich von Zipper, and Deborah Walley (the Gidget who went Hawaiian).
"The eyes of Goldfoot are upon you!"

Fred Clark
The best of Dr. Goldfoot is the amazing Vincent Price as the mad scientist with the golden shoes that resemble the footwear of Santa’s elves, complete with curled up toes. Price is obviously having a ball with his character, and thank heaven he is in almost all of the scenes. Without him, the movie would have been …well, pretty bad. Beach party alumnus Frankie Avalon plays Craig Gamble, a bumbling, clueless doofus who works for SIC, Secret Intelligence Command. Even though Craig is assistant to SIC director his Uncle Don (played by Fred Clark, droll and curmudgeonly), Craig has never moved up the ladder in the spy game – his code name is 00 ½. After Craig does something particularly stupid, Uncle Don demotes him to 00 ¼ , reminding him that he must remember he is a SIC man! So true.

Susan Hart
Dr. Goldfoot has created a 12-robot army, all gorgeous girls dressed in golden bikinis. He has programmed each one to seduce and marry 12 particular rich men and get their assets signed over, all of course to be given to Dr. Goldfoot. His assistant, Igor (Jack Mullaney) is not a hunchbacked dwarf. He has a greater handicap – he is really stupid! The exchanges between Price and Mullaney are hilarious. Poor Dr. Goldfoot regrets that he ever resurrected Igor from the dead, and is constantly berating him for being a blithering idiot, moron, etc. etc. Poor Igor just can’t win: (“Igor, you idiot! Why must you listen to me when I’m WRONG?!”).  Price often shouts to Igor “Shaddup!” -- a funny departure from Price’s otherwise perfect grammar and diction. One of the rich targets is Todd Armstrong (Dwayne Hickman), who isn’t much brighter than Craig Gamble. Robot #11, Diane (lovely Susan Hart) is assigned to entice Todd . The two men are involved in a mix-up of identity for Diane. (This was an inside joke for AIP studio – in Ski Party, Hickman had played a character named Craig Gamble, and Avalon was Todd Armstrong – there are some references to this name switch throughout Dr. Goldfoot.) The slapstick unfolding of the plot holds no surprises, as in most of the beach party movies. In this one, it’s all about the good comedy script and really well-done comic delivery by Price, Avalon, Hickman and Mullaney.

Frankie Avalon
Dwayne Hickman
Some amusing aspects of Dr. Goldfoot include Dr. Goldfoot’s castle-like abode. It features not only a modern robot laboratory, but also an inquisition-type dungeon (complete with pit and pendulum, many shots of which are actual scenes from Price’s The Pit and the Pendulum.) His inventions include two “gifts” which the robots can give to possible female rivals – opera glasses which shoot out poisoned darts when help up to the eyes, and lipstick that fires laser beams when applied. There are, of course, many sex-referenced jokes:  (Robot Diane bends over a flat tire, pulling up her trench coat to reveal her bikini-topped leg, and opening her coat to reveal the whole package. She says to Todd “I’m completely flat!”, to which Todd naturally replies “Oh, I wouldn’t say that.”). Dr. Goldfoot features only one song, and it is a completely forgettable, really bad number done by “Sam and the Apemen.” I bet you've never heard of them. Neither has anyone else. Price said later that the movie was supposed to have more numbers, and he was disappointed that it did not. It did, however, have The Supremes singing the title song. One very entertaining musical feature is heard when the robots are confused about their missions – sound effects include bits and pieces of those used in War of the Worlds and Forbidden Planet. AIP also released a sequel called Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs. Apparently, both Dr. Goldfoot movies were the inspiration for Mike Myers’ Austin Powers “fembots”.

Dr. Goldfoot is really funny, and I didn’t expect it to be that good. Price is the glue that holds it together, and spoofs himself beautifully. Avalon and Hickman also have real comic flair as the dimwitted duo. Here are a few stills from the movie (courtesy of bmoviescentral), to which I attached quotes from the movie:

"Creating a lovely creature like that to
waste her ... ammunition ... on a pauper?!"
No quote here. One might wonder about Avalon's
expression ... but this is a G-rated movie!
"Why me?  Why is it always me?"
"It can't be!"


  1. This is a fabulous review, Becky! Add some catchy songs and (more of) Annette and DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE could BE a BEACH PARTY movie. But, as you say, Mr. Price makes it highly amusing in his own unique way. It's also fun to see Frankie do more comedy (his BP character masked his funnier side, except for BIKINI BEACH). Plus, GOLDFOOT provides another opportunity to see Susan Hart (sigh!), who I think gives an incredible performance as a robot! I own both GOLDFOOT movies, as well as all the BEACH PARTY movies (plus FIREBALL 500 and THUNDER ALLEY, two other AIP movies from the same period with Annette). There's a wonderful nostalgic charm to all these films, which I credit to the highly likable stars--both the "yoots" and the veteran stars like Vincent Price and Peter Lorre. This was a lot of fun...and you picked the best of the two GOLDFOOT movies, too.

  2. I love this movie sooo much! Since I don't have Netflix (and should totally get it), I had to order it from an out-of-state library, which took FOREVER! When I finally got the movie, I was a bit disappointed at first, because it was so corny...I was expecting "better" from Vincent Price. However, once you get into the spirit of the movie, it's a hilarious, side-splitting good time :)

    ***** Five Stars!

  3. Becky, DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE has long been a Team Bartilucci favorite. I mean, come on, Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman, Vincent Price, gorgeous girl robots -- what's not to like? :-) Nice job of guest-hosting, girl!

  4. In an interview, Price revealed that Dr. Goldfoot was originally supposed to be more of a musical. Nobody's too sure of when things changed but a full episode of Shindig was dedicated to it, with Harvey Lembeck playing Hugo, had a lot more music. It's possible that he was recalling the Shindig footage and got the two mixed up.

    Why look, some pleasant person has posted on the electric-type YouTube -

    The opening credits were by Art Clokey of Gumby fame.

    The sequel, Girl Bombs, was directed by Mario Bava. You heard me. It starrs Fabian, and was filmed Italian Method, features Italian comedy superstars Franco and Ciccio, prime whacking material Laura Antonelli and gives Price more of a chance to do broad comedy than even this film did.

    The Beach party films are a particular favorite of mine, and I watch them wenever I come across them. Hm, now that I think of it, since summer is just around the corner, I might just have to pull out my Frankie and Annette box set and have a marathon.

    I think the biggest mistake they made in Back to the Beach is they didn't make Zedd the son of Eric Von Zipper. But I digress.

  5. Becky, I loved your review of this priceless comedy! Vincent is so much fun and the plot suits him to a V (for Victory)! I couldn't help but notice how cleverly you arranged the photos. The expressions of Frankie and Dwayne are almost identical, both in the individual stills and in the photos at the bottom with Annette. It was really fun to read about the inside joke reference to the name changes from "Ski Party." Great job, Becky!

  6. Love the movie, love the cast even more and love this post the most!

  7. Becky,
    What a bizarre title and an even more bizarre movie plot. I couldn't stop laughing as I read through it.
    Obviously I haven't seen it but with Price and your word that it's funny I'll definitely check it out.

    A nice write up. And good for you Vincent for being able to carry this one off with such good humor.
    Enjoy your holiday weekend everyone.

  8. For crying out loud -- Blogger just won't let me sign in with google -- is it just me?! Anyway, ClassicBecky here.

    To Rick, Emmy, Dorian, Vinnie, Toto, FlickChick and Page: Thanks so much to all of you for your interesting and lovely comments. Emmy, you are new, to me anyway, and I'm glad you stopped by! Vinnie, as part of Team Bartilucci, I'm tickled that you came over, and thanks for the link! I had a lot of fun doing this one -- beach party movie theme this month was a great idea -- puts us in the mood for summer!

  9. Hi, Becky. Sorry this comment is so late. I, too, have had trouble logging in on Blogger. Are you using Firefox? If you are, it's evidently working now! Anyway, I enjoyed your review of a very strange but undeniably memorable comedy! I've always liked seeing Vincent Price in something not quite as serious as his other films. He was a talented performer, as well as versatile, and he should have done more comedies! Great write-up, Becky, and here's hoping that Blogger stops toying with us and starts letting us offer our comments!