Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine Reviews
Well worth a rental.
I'm not making this up, folks!
I've been holding this movie on my instant queue for some time now, waiting until I was in exactly the right mood. Frankly, I was expecting that mood to require at least ten degrees higher temperature; when it's hot, I have a hard time thinking. It's been pleasantly warm the last few days, but not hot. However, I expected this to be a movie I watched while consuming enormous quantities of ice water and trying not to let any part of my skin touch any other part. That sort of thing. As it is, I was just feeling mildly spacy, which is different. I had started and stopped two different movies already this evening, and I was running out of time. And all other considerations aside, this movie is short. So I started it, assuming that I'd have the entertainment of watching a truly scathing review of it and all its ilk. However, I am instead just going to have to figure out how to justify a marginally positive rating and the fact that I'll watch the sequel.
Craig Gamble (Frankie Avalon) is a really crappy secret agent for It Doesn't Matter What Agency. Crappy enough, in fact, that he declares his status as an agent to pretty much anyone who will listen. Notably Diane (Susan Hart), who turns out to be a robot built by the mysterious Dr. Goldfoot (Vincent Price). Only it turns out the mad doctor has built her, along with a whole slew of other gold-bikinied girls, as part of a plan in which they will marry rich men and get them to sign over all their assets to their new and secretly robot wives. Diane is intended for Todd Armstrong (Dwayne Hickman), a wealthy young man of not much higher intelligence than Craig. Through a ridiculous series of events, Craig works out Diane's secret. First, he tries to tell his uncle and superior at work, Donald J. Pevney (Fred Clark). Then, he enlists Todd and they go after Dr. Goldfoot and his assistant, Igor (Jack Mullaney), themselves.
Don't get me wrong. This is not a good movie. On the other hand, it isn't actually a bad one. At least not quite. Yes, it climaxes with the world's dumbest, longest chase scene--no chase which involves cable cars as anything other than obstacles makes even a little sense. Then again, it isn't supposed to make sense. It's just supposed to be amusing. It kind of even is. Now, of course, this movie was made to be shown at drive-ins to teenagers who were only paying the smallest bit of attention to the movie. I'm not its target audience and really never was. However, I am still more amused by this than I am by a lot of comedies made for people who are actually paying more attention. Okay, that's in part because none of the humour has anything to do with bodily functions, and less of it than you'd think has anything to do with sex. There's even a sly Annette Funicello cameo at one point, and there are many references to Vincent Price's previous cheesy movies.
Yeah, okay, it's completely ludicrous. I can dress it up how I like, but it's still an extremely dumb movie. I have a hard time explaining my preference for one ridiculous comedy over another sometimes, but I really do think I can justify this one. While it's padded, one of the things it's padded with is clips from movies Vincent Price was in that were more intended to be taken seriously. The paintings of his "ancestors" are characters from those same movies, in fact. There were places in the movie where I just wanted to roll my eyes, such as the running gag that Craig keeps knocking his uncle over whenever he opens the door in his uncle's tiny office. It is also casually sexist; yes, it's sexist in both directions, but still. There is the implicit assumption that men will marry a sexy woman the second she threatens to withhold sex, but there's also the fact that the only woman in the whole picture who isn't a sexy, bikini-clad robot is imprisoned Annette.
No, I probably won't ever watch this again. Certainly it's not like certain movies which have become summer staples in my life. However, I'm still rather glad to have gotten around to it, and I do plan to watch the sequel for all that. Though I probably won't bother to review it. After all, I barely have anything to say about the first one, much less a second. Though I am given to understand that the second had Tommy Kirk, and I like him quite a lot. Largely because he's in the kind of movies which do make my summer staple list. And it's interesting to contemplate the career of Vincent Price. In 1939, he was in [i]The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex[/i], his second film. He was in the noir classic [i]Laura[/i]. His last film was [i]Edward Scissorhands[/i]. And he was in this, and all those ridiculous Poe pictures. And somewhere around here, I have a cookbook he wrote; it turns out he was such a gourmet that everything in it is too high-class to appeal to my palate. A man of contradictions--and if thinking about that gets your mind off the movie, that's no bad thing.
These films and so many beach party ones like it were not ever intended to be serious cinema. They targeted the huge teen market that just wanted to see their teen idols. Odd that Vincent Price, as old as he was, would get the nod to be the lead character Dr. Goldfoot, but there was always a teen idle like Avalon or Fabian to be the good guy.
Duane Hickman also stars as a millionaire sought after by Dr. Goldfoot. Hickman in real life had his own TV show called Dobie Gillis, out of which came an even more poplular sitcom called Gilligans Island with Gilligan getting his start on the Dobie Gillis show.
Anyway, the lame plot hardly makes a difference as its all about Dr. Goldfoot making bikini clad beauties marrying wealthy men. Watch this for the hot girls, Vincent Price is priceless. Frankie Avalon is the agent after Price.
Fans of these teen pictures flocked to see their screen idols no matter what happened in the film.
Vincent Price as Dr. Goldfoot
Director: Norman Taurog
Producer: Samuel Z. Arkoff
Producer: James H. Nicholson
Producer: Anthony Carras
Screenplay: Robert Kaufman
Guest Star: Annette Funicello
Screenplay: Elwood Ullman