Uncharted Cinema #14: Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine


Norman Taurog, USA, 1965, 88 min.

Read about the Uncharted Cinema Project here.

Before: I picture this as a mildly amusing 60’s kooky comedy flick. Nothing more, nothing less.

After: This film is a product of it’s time. A time when the Hayes code was on it’s way out and studios were churning out titillating cheapos to take advantage of audience’s new-found predilections.

It checks all the boxes: humor, sex, name-recognition, and to top it off, Goldfinger had come out the year before. I guess the studio didn’t think much else was needed.

The titular Doctor, a fun and campy performance by Vincent Price, is on a mission to collect wealth and power from all the eligible bachelors around the world. To do that he developed a machine that creates bikini-clad female robots. He trains them in all the skills needed to land these powerful mates, strip them of their financial attributes, and return with the goods back to his lab.

Things go awry when his previously-deceased assistant Igor (Jack Mullaney), sends #11 (Susan Hart) out to nab the wrong guy: a lovable loser played by Frankie Avalon. Shenanigans ensue.

The script is very loose and broad. If you are looking for an interesting story, look elsewhere. The script for this one is a wobbly contraption used to hang jokes on.

While some jokes hit, most of them fall flat. You don’t realize how good the great slapstick performers are until you see the so-so ones in this film trying the same style of humor.

There are some interesting things, though. The in-jokes are fun for nostalgic reasons, and Vincent Price pulls of an interesting performance. Susan Hart is something to see as well. Partly because of the gold bikini, and partly because she shows a lot of range.

Is the film entertaining? Mildly. But it does have quirky historical cache. It’s a film that brings together The Supremes (who do the title song), an AIP horror icon, the star of the Beach Party series, a strange claymation title-sequence, and unabashed sexism. You’ll probably never see something like this again. Oh wait… they made a sequel?!?

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