Girl in Gold Boots is a 1969 crime/drama film about the seedy underworld of Go-Go dancing, directed by Ted V. Mikels, who also directed The Astro-Zombies, The Corpse Grinders, and Blood Orgy of the She-Devils. It can easily be described as "the PG-rated version of Showgirls,"note with everything that description would imply.
Michele, a young woman who works at a dead-end job at a diner in the middle of nowhere, meets an obviously untrustworthy man named Buz who tries to convince her to go with him to Los Angeles. He claims to have connections that can land her a job as a Go-Go dancer where his sister works. While Michele initially distrusts him, a spat with her abusive alcoholic father leads her to take Buz up on his offer of a roadtrip. The two head to L.A., eventually picking up a handsome hitchhiker called Critter, who also writes songs and plays on his guitar in his spare time. While Michele initially shows attraction to Buz, she rapidly develops feelings for Critter, causing friction between the violent Buz and the peaceful Critter. Once in Los Angeles, the trio arrive at a Go-Go club called the Haunted House where Buz's sister Joan is the leading act. Joan initially takes Michele in as a protege, while her beau/boss Leo brings Critter on as a janitor and Buz on as a drug dealer. After Michele begins to steal Joan's spotlight and becomes a greater and greater attraction, the glittery world of the Go-Go club takes its toll on the lead characters.
Nearly half of the songs in this music-laden movie, including the title song, were written by singer-songwriter and sound engineer Chris Howard, who appears as himself and is backed by a band called "The Third World" in the credits (not to be confused with the famous reggae band Third World). One scene features bongo player Preston Epps, who had achieved some fame a decade earlier with his 1959 pop hit, "Bongo Rock." In fact, Epps is listed in the opening credits as "that Bongo Rock man." Another notable band member at the club in L.A. is Donald "Duck" Dunn, later of The Blues Brothers, on bass guitar.
Girl in Gold Boots was featured as a Season 10 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Thanks to the more lenient approach of the network to the show's movie selections in the final season, it was one of the few Sci-Fi era episodes to not feature any elements of science fiction, fantasy, or horror.
Apparent skips in the print used in the television program led to some amusing continuity problems, including a scene in a diner in which Buz suddenly appears in his seat next to Michele and Critter as if he teleports in during their conversation. One DVD release (from MMI Image Entertainment, using a print from Geneni Film Distributing Company), shows the scene without the "teleport" skip but has its own continuity breaks, suggesting two different prints from the original film were used.
This movie contains examples of:
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Buz runs into some on his drive through the southwest. He pours a beer on their bikes to pick a fight, then shoots out their tires and leaves them in the desert when they chase him. Michele has no reaction. To drive this home, after Buz leaves, one of the bikers slaps the other in an instant rage.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees:
- The diner Michele works at in the beginning has a sign that only says "EAT", a fact which was mocked by Mystery Science Theater 3000. People who've never driven cross-country wouldn't be aware, but big "EAT" signs are actually common among roadside diners like that.
- The Haunted House club and discotheque did actually exist on Hollywood Blvd. in the mid-60's — given the movie's cheap production values, they could hardly afford to outfit an entire set with Halloween dressing. (Ironically, reflecting the rather seedy nature of the film, it was later converted into a porno theater in the 70's, and exists today as a strip club.)
- Betty and Veronica: The male version, with Critter (nice boy next door) and Buz (exciting jerk) .
- Brainless Beauty: It's debatable whether Michele is pretty, but she's definitely stupid.
- Broken Bird: Joanie, Buz's sister and the lead dancer at the Haunted House (the titular "Girl in Gold Boots").
- The Caper: Buz and Harry Blatz's plan to steal the confiscated drugs from the prison.
- Chewing the Scenery: Joanie, during her nervous breakdown in front of Michele.Joanie: I had a pretty MIIIIIIIIND!!! Oh God... I wish I had that pretty mind back...
- Chronic Villainy: Buz is positively itching to mug someone. Beating in Harry Blatz's skull to avoid paying him his share, while the heist is going off without a hitch and right after Harry mentioned why that would be a bad idea, is outright Stupid Evil and escalates the situation to the point where Leo is forced to take Critter and Michele hostage, which leads to their quick defeat. He gets extra points for going to work for his sister's pimp and continuing to serve the man loyally even after his sister's OD!
- Dull Surprise. Michele. Her idea of terror and worry is an expression of mild concern. Meanwhile, Leo's face has exactly one expression. His Dragon Marty has even fewer. She also looks bored while dealing with her dad. And after.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Critter. The source of his nickname is even stupider. Michele is delighted by his nickname, but she's easily delighted.
- Establishing Character Moment: When Buz stops at "EAT" and chats up Michele, it's apparent he's planning to rob the place; only the arrival of Critter and the establishing of a nearby speed trap deter him.
- Fanservice: Much of the film features padding of women in gold or silver bikinis dancing around while the cameras caress their every curve. Even more obvious in the scene in the dressing room with Joan and Michele in their underwear for no apparent reason.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Critter treats his Draft Dodging as an unspeakable crime that will make Michele never want to speak to him again, when that's really minor compared to what ever other male member of the cast gets up to. He also expects to be the victim of an FBI manhunt for this, even though after he calls the cops on Leo and the others, there's no sign that the police noticed or cared, as he's still free in the final scene.
- Get Out!: Joanie after being revived from passing out in her dressing room, suddenly gets enraged and screams at everyone to get out of her room. This prompts Leo to slap her and is the point where Michele finally realizes what a scumbag he is.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: One prisoner takes the garbage out. He comes back accompanied by Buz, who has never set foot in the jail before. The guard at the desk doesn't even raise an eyebrow when two prisoners enter the prison.
- I Gave My Word: Buz thinks Michele cleaned out the register, but she informs him she only took the $14 she was owed in salary. (That's a little over a hundred bucks in 2020 money).
- Identical Stranger: Leo and his bodyguard Marty are eerily similar in appearance. Black stache, black suit, and greasy.
- Informed Ability: Michele's dancing abilities are somewhat inflated, to say the least. On the other hand, dancing is clearly a secondary consideration to shaking your ass in a cheap titty bar, so...
- Invisible Backup Band: Critter sings and plays the guitar, yet a harmonica can be heard out of nowhere. Or as MST3K puts it: "Honey, way to play the harmonica with your ass!" Interestingly, the harmonica sound seems to come from the actual band's Vox Continental stage organ (as it is heard in a couple songs). At no time does any band member hold a harmonica. As for how it winds up in songs where the band isn't present, though...
- Martial Pacifist: Critter may be a soft-spoken Nice Guy, but when his dander's up he thrashes multiple career criminals at once.
- Model Scam: Buz claims he can get Michele a career as a dancer. The fact that Michele wants to get away from her father is what ultimately convinces her to go with Buz. Surprisingly, Buz is being completely honest with Michele about this, but she eventually finds out that her new employers are mobsters. Though it takes a while, and he took her with him to L.A. mainly because he wanted to wiggle his way into her gold pantaloons. And her cash from the Diner's register.
- Neutral Female: Michele doesn't help at all in the final fight between Critter, Buz, Leo, and Leo's doppelganger henchman.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: It's basically All About Eve WITH BAD ACTING, DIALOG AND PLOT! Or, if you want to be more accurate, it's Showgirls WITH ROUGHLY THE SAME QUALITY ACTING, DIALOG AND PLOT!
- Ridiculous Exchange Rates: Critter jokes about having "fifties and hundreds" in his wallet (which gets Buz's attention) — of course, the bills are all foreign currency left over from Critter's time with the Peace Corps. Incidentally, Critter mentions having Nepalese currency — a rupee is worth 0.0086 a US dollar. Good thing he has some regular US bills too, or he'd never afford any Hershey bars.
- Sarcasm Mode: Joanie when she responds to Michele's request to audition for what she doesn't seem to realize is a glorified strip club. She puts across the sarcasm so well you can almost feel the quotes. It might just be the best acting in this bad acting epic.Joanie: Uh, yeah... we'll... "audition"... you later.
- Tempting Fate: Harry Blatts with his last words to Buz.
- Too Dumb to Live: Harry Blatts, who even gives some parting words about there being only "one way" his plan could fail him.Harry: I won't mind seein' you go, because I know that there's now only one way to keep me from having my share.
[Buz attacks Harry]
Mike: [as Harry] Yep, that's the way, you figured out how to do it! Beatin' me in my skull with a tire iron! Oop, there's my brains on the floor!
- Trouser Space: Buz pulls a gun out of his pants that clearly couldn't have fit there, something picked up on by the MST3K version.Mike: [as Buz] Wha- oh, a gun. So that was the loud report and burning sensation in my groin.
- Worst News Judgment Ever: On the road to L.A. Buz robs a convenience store. Nobody is hurt and he stole only $40. That's about $300 in today's money, but this still somehow made the front page of the L.A. Times (according to Buz, although a quick glimpse at the top of the page shows no masthead).
- You Keep Using That Word: The bikers near the beginning, who intend to "snub" Buz. From the context one assumes they meant to say "snuff."
"Oh, God, I wish I had that pretty mind back."