Beware! This band of bikini-clad cuties are licensed to kill... with comedy! Featuring screen icon Vincent Price (The Oblong Box) in his most unusual and amusing role of his career and Frankie Avalon (The Million Eyes of Su-Muru), with cameo appearances by Annette Funicello and Harvey Lembeck, this sex-ational spy spoof is thrill-packed fun. 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! Norman Taurog (Blue Hawaii) directs the fun-filled sci-fi comedy co-starring Susan Hart (War-Gods of the Deep), Dwayne Hickman (Cat Ballou) and Fred Clark (Sunset Blvd.).
American International Pictures was a low-budget production company founded by James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff in 1954. They were much more interested in the "business" portion of show business and focused on making movies for the teenage market, which was then underserved but now is the focal point for Hollywood studios. AIP released movies that covered a wide range of genres, including horror, juvenile delinquents, and beach parties. Roger Corman was one of their major producers.
With James Bond and spies all the rage in the mid-'60s, they made the spoof 'Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine'. The story came from by Nicholson in an effort to feature actress Susan Hart, who was under contract to AIP. Unfortunately, the script, is so lacking in laughs or even an interesting plot, that sitting through the film's 88-minute runtime is more torturous than anything the evil Dr. Goldfoot (Vincent Price) can come up with.
Right from the beginning the film demonstrates it was made by not the most talented folks. It opens with an odd POV shot driving down Lombard Street, San Francisco's crookedest street, before "crashing" into a tunnel. It's later revealed during the climatic chase what crashed but it does little to clarify why it was chosen to start the film. On-screen graphics reveal the film is set "The Day After Tomorrow" and the comedy offers little more humor than that.
Dr. Goldfoot, named after his slippers, along with Igor (Jack Mullaney), who looks remarkably well considering Goldfoot resurrected him, build robots that look like beautiful women in order to send them out into the world to seduce and rob rich men. The robots are rather durable as evidenced by Diane/Robot #11 who is not harmed when shot by a bank robber's bullets. Although they do have an effect as shown when she drinks, which might have been the best gag in movie.
On the case to stop Goldfoot is Craig Gamble (Frankie Avalon), an agent of Secret Intelligent Command, Western Division because he works for his uncle, and Craig's pal, Todd Armstrong (Dwayne Hickman), who was a victim of one of Goldfoot's robots. Even though this is the pair's third AIP film together, their chemistry as a comedy team is lacking. In a decision that signals what little creativity was happening behind the scenes, in their previous outing, 'Ski Party', a beach party film set in the mountains, Avalon played a character named Todd Armstrong and Hickman played a character named Craig Gamble.
Even with the claymation opening credits by Gumby creator Art Clokey, a theme song by The Supremes, and the use of material from Corman's 'The Pit and the Pendulum', 'Bikini Machine' is rather forgettable. It's not as funny or sexy as it wants to be. Price is wasted. And the ending is nonsensical. Unless someone has a sentimental attachment to it, I don't see its appeal.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine' from Kino Lorber comes on a 25 GB Region A Blu-ray disc in a standard blue case. The discs boot up directly to the menu screen without any promotional advertisements.
The video has been given a 1080p/AVC-MPEG-4 encoded transfer displayed at 2.35:1 and the video is about the only thing this disc has going for it. While the credits are dirty with white streaks and black specks, they don't appear during the film. There is a noticeable film grain throughout but no artifacting or edge enhancement.
The establishing shots around San Francisco that start the film are good examples of what the image offers over the duration. There is great depth and detail. Bright whites are on display at the marina and the colors throughout appear in strong hues, including the golds later seen on the ladies' bikinis. Blacks are inky, and do exhibit some crush when the story has moved into Goldfoot's dungeon area.
The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio English 2.0. The dialogue is clear and the music has satisfying fidelity, but the effects are terrible, sounding flat and phony. The crash in the tunnel is weak and lacks power. Other times, some effects are too loud, like Diane sweeping. This issue also can be heard with the opening of suitcase clasps by way of Igor’s invention and Goldfoot shuffling through cash. It comes across like the editor gave some effects too much echo. This results in an unbalanced mix. The bass and dynamic range are both limited, and imaging didn't occur.
Because I found 'Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine' to be unfunny, I can only recommend to those who are already fans, and even then it is with some trepidation because the soundtrack's flaws are amplified in high definition and the supplementals are minimal.