Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Eyes Of Goldfoot Are Upon You

AIP must have figured beach movies were out and spy movies were in back in 1965, so it created a silly spy spoof for its contract star Vincent Price, best known then for the studio’s Edgar Allan Poe horror films he made with director Roger Corman.

In DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE (!), Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman (THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS) return from SKI PARTY, strangely enough playing characters with the same names, even though the script by Robert Kaufman and Elwood Ullman makes no attempt to tie the films together and, heck, the actors have switched characters anyway!

Price is great as Dr. Goldfoot (he wears golden genie shoes), but Norman Taurog’s trite direction lets him down. Goldfoot and his inept assistant Igor (the painfully unfunny Jack Mullaney of MY LIVING DOLL) shepherd a plot to create gorgeous bikini-clad robots and send them into the world to seduce wealthy men into signing over their fortunes to them. Bumbling secret agent Craig Gamble (Avalon) falls for one, Diane (played well by the delectable Susan Hart), who swindles playboy Todd Armstrong (Hickman).

Though not technically a Beach Party movie, most of GOLDFOOT’s cast will look familiar to fans. Regulars Salli Sachse, Patti Chandler, Sue Williams, Mary Hughes, Marianne Gaba, Luree and Laura Nicholson make up a good portion of Goldfoot’s robot army, as well as Deanna Lund (LAND OF THE GIANTS) and—believe it or not—a black woman (Issa Arnal) and an Asian (China Lee). Audiences probably also cheered the cheeky cameos by Annette Funicello, Harvey Lembeck, Aron Kincaid, and Deborah Walley. Goldfoot’s lair appears to be recycled sets from AIP’s horror films, adding another layer of fun for fans.

GOLDFOOT isn’t great, though it looks brilliant next to its execrable Italian-produced sequel, DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE GIRL BOMBS, which teamed Price with a leadfooted Italian comedy duo. Outside of Price, who is a joy, BIKINI MACHINE doesn’t catch fire until Frankie and Dwayne invade Goldfoot’s lair in the third act. The closing credits (and a theater marquee) promise THE GIRL IN THE GLASS BIKINI, which came out as THE GHOST IN THE INVISIBLE BIKINI.

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