Whenever you throw on an American International Picture you've never seen before, it's always a crap shoot. But when a wacky sixties A.I.P. movie opens with a claymation title sequence (animated by the guy who did GUMBY and with a theme song sung by The Supremes) followed by a scene of an indestructible woman wreaking goofy havoc on a few blocks of San Francisco, it gives me enough motivation to keep watching it for a bit longer. Also, if you've got Vincent Price in your movie (and as a mad scientist no less), you've effectively got my attention for at least thirty minutes, give it take. This movie, though silly, isn't even the most ludicrously weird A.I.P. effort I've seen. Sure it has Vincent Price as the creator of a small army of sexy, manipulative robotic girls who he has created for the task of ripping off rich guys. Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman (Dobie Gillis of course) want to stop him. That's basically it. The humor is pretty broad and just the kind of stuff you kind of expect from American International. There's even a gag where Price gets punched in the face by a disembodied fist in a boxing glove from an attaché case. It's just peppy enough and the cast helps keep the movie's head above water till then end when it climaxes with a fun chase scene through San Francisco. It involves the characters switching vehicles multiple times and it's actually a lot of fun. Not quite as good as the delightful chase at the end of WHAT's UP DOC, but a close second. Avalon and Hickman are a solid slapstick buddy duo.
Frankie Avalon had quite the run of films from 1963 to 1966. He did BEACH PARTY in 1963 and it with MUSCLE BEACH PARTY, BIKINI BEACH and PAJAMA PARTY all of which came out in 1964. Then in 1965 he did BEACH BLANKET BINGO, SKI PARTY, SERGEANT DEAD HEAD, HOW TO STUFF A WILD BIKINI and DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE. That's a whole lotta stuff - any youngster who attended the local drive-in with any regularity at all had to know Mr. Avalon quite well back then. And let's talk about director Norman Taurog for a second. You've probably seen one of his films at some point. He directed something like 180 of them in his 48-year career. That's a heck of an average per year. DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE was near the end of Taurog's career (he retired in 1968), but he was still going strong until he called it quits. He made prestigious movies, musicals, Martin and Lewis comedies and lots and lots of Elvis movies. In fact, BIKINI MACHINE is wedged I. Between several Elvis flicks on Taurog's timeline. He was kind if a journeyman for middle of the road comedies (especially the later stuff) that were pretty successful (I would imagine). Don't get me wrong, he made some good movies, but the 1960s was not necessarily his most fertile period. All that said, BIKINI MACHINE is a suitable distraction and would seen a possible influence on the AUSTIN POWERS movies. Transfer looks nice and it includes a cool and lively audio commentary from Film Historian David Del Valle (of sinisterimage.com) and David DeCoteau of RapidHeart.TV.
Also out from Kino Lobber Studio Classics is the sequel DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE GIRL BOMBS which also includes a commentary from Del Valle and DeCoteau. More wackiness in the same vein as BIKINI MACHINE, but I recommend picking up the pair for a double dose of Vincent Price!
You can get GIRL BOMBS here:
You can get GIRL BOMBS here: