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Film / Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine

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Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine is a 1965 spy spoof produced by American International Pictures and directed by Norman Taurog, in which the eponymous, gold-slippered villain (Vincent Price), with the "help" of his resurrected flunky Igor (Jack Mullaney), constructs a gang of programmable female sexbots, which are then assigned to seduce and rob various wealthy men. Opposing Goldfoot, sort of, are the (very) low-level government agent Craig Gamble (Frankie Avalon) and one of Goldfoot's targets, Todd Armstrong (Dwayne Hickman). After various comic shenanigans involving Robot #11, aka Diane (Susan Hart), being romantically sicced on our hapless heroes, the film culminates in an extended slapstick Chase Scene through the streets of San Francisco.

This is where things get sort of weird, at least behind the scenes. Somebody decided this movie needed a sequel, and so the next year a bizarre hybrid vehicle was Frankensteined into existence in Italy (where evidently the first film was quite popular), combining the character of Goldfoot, again played by the ever-game Price, with the low-rent (but again, popular) stylings of an Italian comedy duo, Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia. Fabian meanwhile replaces Avalon and Hickman as the erstwhile hero Bill Dexter, when he can spare a moment or two from his chasing after Laura Antonelli's character Rosanna. The plot this time around involves Goldfoot being hired by the Chinese government to mass-produce exploding female robots in an effort to disrupt a NATO war-games exercise, and then Goldfoot attempting to nuke Moscow and start World War III.

And the man assigned, very much against his will, to direct all this? Mario Bava. Yes, that Mario Bava. The end result was edited into two different films, the English-language Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (which focuses more on Price and Fabian) and the Italian-language Le Spie Vengono Dal Semifreddonote  (which features more of the Italian duo). Whichever version you're talking about, it's unsurprisingly a strong contender for the dubious honor of being Bava's worst movie, with Price and Fabian both firmly on record as to how awful it was.

Oh, and there was also The Wild Weird World of Dr. Goldfoot, a 1965 musical TV remake-sequel-promo... thing that aired as an episode of Shindig! on ABC, again starring Price and Hart, with Tommy Kirk and Aron Kincaid taking their turn as the protagonists, and Harvey Lembeck playing Goldfoot's cheerfully sycophantic assistant Hugo.

These films provide examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Avalon's Beach Party franchise co-stars Annette Funicello and Harvey Lembeck (as Eric von Zipper) turn up as prisoners in Goldfoot's dungeon. (American International produced said franchise along with Bikini Machine.)
    • Avalon and Hickman swapped and reused their character names from Ski Party, a movie they had recently appeared in. Their characters are even confused with each other in the movie.
  • And Starring: Fred Clark as Pevney rates a "Special Guest Star" credit in Bikini Machine.
  • Animated Credits Opening: Bikini Machine features claymation credits, done by Art Clokey of Gumby fame, paired with a title song performed by The Supremes, of all groups.
  • Antagonist Title: The title of the film is taken from Dr. Goldfoot and his eponymous Bikini Machine.
  • Ascended Extra: Aron Kincaid and Harvey Lembeck appear briefly in Bikini Machine, before getting more prominent roles in the TV special.
  • Bad Boss: Goldfoot, especially towards Igor.
    Goldfoot: Igor, you idiot, why must you listen to me when I'm wrong!?
    • Craig's uncle counts as this, too. He mocks his nephew's status in SIC, but refuses to take his claims seriously. At the end of the film he's seen as Diane's next target.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Girl Bombs, Goldfoot addresses the audience directly at more than one point.
  • Bungling Inventor: Igor tries to follow Goldfoot's example, with very mixed results.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Goldfoot is quite gleeful in boasting about his villainy.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: Twice!
  • Chase Scene: Both film end with one, ground vehicles and aircraft respectively.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Goldfoot straps Diane into an electrocution cabinet after the robot fails at one of her assigned missions.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: The robot gals in Bikini Machine usually wear these over their gold bikinis when out and about in public, paired with pretty snazzy fedoras.
  • Creator Cameo: Bava briefly appears in the second film as an angel, of all things.
  • Creator In-Joke: Along with the stuff listed above under Actor Allusion, Bikini Machine reuses the character name "Pevney" from Ski Party.
  • Cute Mute: Hardjob, Goldfoot's assistant in Girl Bombs.
  • Da Chief: Gamble's boss (and uncle) D.J. Pevney.
  • Deadly Dodging: The heroes do this at the end of Bikini Machine, causing Goldfoot and Igor to suffer their Disney Villain Death moment listed below.
  • Disney Villain Death: Goldfoot and Igor seem to suffer this and more, going over a sea-cliff in their Jeep and then getting hit by a missile from a warship. (Due to said cliff being on a military testing range.) But they somehow survive and reappear unscathed at the very end of the film.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Diane turns quite a few heads just strolling down the street in her Conspicuous Trenchcoat; Goldfoot then uses this trope deliberately to lure in her assigned target.
  • Driving a Desk: Rather painfully used during the final chase scene in Bikini Machine, though as always Price gives it his all in the acting department.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Bikini Machine adds a question mark to "The End."
  • Energy Weapon: Another Goldfoot invention is a tube of "lipstick" which shoots these.
  • Eye Scream: One of Goldfoot's inventions is a pair of rigged opera glasses which ejects a pair of poisoned spikes when used. Mercifully we never see them in action.
  • Fanservice: Both films feature a completely gratuitous scene where the fembots end up dancing in their skimpy gold costumes.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Gamble is a S.I.C. man!
  • The Gulag: Where Franco and Ciccio end up.
  • Handsome Lech: The hero in both films is a skirtchaser.
  • Harmless Freezing: Rosanna in Girl Bombs get subjected to this after being kidnapped by Goldfoot. (Though she appears to be actually suffering more than is usually the case with this trope.)
  • Honey Trap: The whole scheme in Bikini Machine.
  • Identical Grandson: Combined with an Actor Allusion- Goldfoot's family portrait gallery features depictions of Price in various previous roles.
  • Identical Stranger: Goldfoot is the double of one of the targeted NATO generals in Girl Bombs.
  • Idiot Hero: Franco and Ciccio, in spades. The various other protagonists aren't a whole lot better. Kincaid's character in the TV special is the only one who actually comes across as competent, focused and professional.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: In Girl Bombs, it's hinted that Hardjob is one of these towards Goldfoot.
  • The Igor: Igor is mentally an example of this trope, but he looks pretty normal.
  • Ignorant Minion: Igor is not the brightest bulb in the bush. "Igor you idiot!" practically becomes Goldfoot's catchphrase.
  • Instant Costume Change: Diane does this at one point, switching back and forth between horse-riding togs and Something More Comfortable.
  • Insufferable Genius: Goldfoot, naturally.
  • Invisible Holes: Diane sprouts these after getting shot at by some trigger-happy bank robbers and then drinking milk.
  • Invisible President: One of these speaks over a Hotline in Girl Bombs.
  • Karma Houdini: Goldfoot escapes in the end in both movies.
  • Large Ham. It's Vincent Price, what do you expect? Franco Franchi leaves molar marks all over the set in the sequel. And then there's Susan Hart's portrayal of Number 11/Diane, with all those accents...
  • The Load: Kirk's idiot-savant character in the TV special pretty much exists to be a pain for Kincaid's.
  • Made of Iron: Maybe literally; Diane gets hit by a car and the vehicle suffers far more damage than she does.
  • Mad Scientist: Guess who.
  • Makeup Weapon: Dr. Goldfoot's 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.
  • Mirror Routine: Price and Ingrassia do this bit when the latter's character is trying to hide inside Goldfoot's lair.
  • Murphy's Bed: Gamble is the victim of one of these.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: A title at the start of Bikini Machine says the film is happening in San Francisco "The Day after Tomorrow".
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Done intentionally, with Diane sporting a different accent in each of her appearances.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • Goldfoot dresses up as a very unconvincing (as in, bearded) nun.
    • And Franchi dresses as one of the bikini-clad sexbots in Girl Bombs.
      Goldfoot: That was the day I forgot to oil the machine.
  • Pendulum of Death: Goldfoot has one of these in his headquarters in Bikini Machine.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Gamble is constantly broke; early in Bikini Machine, his enraged date ditches him when he "treats" her to cheese sandwiches in a cafeteria.
  • Pet the Dog: Goldfoot makes a snarky comment, but allows Hardjob to safely bail out of the Moscow-bound bomber with him near the end of Girl Bombs.
  • Plot Hole: The choppy editing in Girl Bombs leads to these, in both versions. (To offer one example, in the English version, the fembots' dance routine comes out of nowhere, while the Italian version shows that Franco gleefully triggered it.)
  • Pretty in Mink: Diane shows up wearing a white fur coat when she's selling stocks and bonds for Goldfoot.
  • Riding the Bomb: Franco and Ciccio at the end of Girl Bombs.
  • Robot Girl: They look entirely human.
  • Rotten Robotic Replacement: A couple of the heroes in Girl Bombs get duplicated/replaced; one of them is even male.
  • Running Gag: Pretty much every character in Bikini Machine gets hit in the head at some point (yes, even Goldfoot.) Also people having a boggled reaction on seeing Diane's disconnected hand.
  • Scenery Porn: Bikini Machine gives the viewer a pretty good tour of mid-sixties San Francisco.
  • Sexy Stewardess: Diane reappears pretending to be one of these at the end of Bikini Machine.
  • Shark Pool: In Girl Bombs Goldfoot has the piranha variety, complete with the tossed-in side of beef being turned into a picked-clean collection of bones. In the Italian-language version a Mook falls in due to some Deadly Dodging and gets similarly stripped.
  • Shout-Out: In Bikini Machine, Goldfoot does a Señor Wences bit with a skeleton in an upright coffin.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Goldfoot engages in this, watching as his robots carry out their various missions.
  • Sleeping Single: Diane insists on this arrangement, complete with a screen between the beds, after marrying Armstrong.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Goldfoot's default (and rather justified) mode in both movies.
  • Token Minority: Goldfoot's gang in Bikini Machine features one Asian and one black robogal.
  • "Will Return" Caption: A somewhat strange one in Bikini Machine, which instead of saying Goldfoot will return, plugs the next installment in the American International "Beach Party" series. And while another Beach film did get made, it ended up with a different title.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Goldfoot extracts a strip of data from Hardjob's.
  • What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?: "What's a rotten girl like you doing in a nice place like this?"
  • World of Ham: As noted above, Price and Franchi lead the pack, but pretty much everybody pitches in at some point.