Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
|Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine|
theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Norman Taurog|
Samuel Z. Arkoff|
James H. Nicholson
|Music by||Les Baxter|
|Box office||$1.9 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine is a 1965 American International Pictures comedy film directed by Norman Taurog and starring Vincent Price, Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman, Susan Hart and Jack Mullaney and featuring Fred Clark. It is a parody of the then-popular spy film trend, particularly the 1964 James Bond hit Goldfinger, utilizing actors from AIP's beach party and Edgar Allan Poe films.
Despite its low production values, the film has achieved a certain cult status for the appearance of Price and other AIP Beach Party film alumni, its in-jokes and over-the-top sexism, the claymation title sequence designed by Art Clokey, and a title song performed by The Supremes.
The movie was retitled Dr G. and the Bikini Machine in England because there were two doctors in the country called Doctor Goldfoot.
Price plays the titular mad scientist who, with the questionable assistance of his resurrected flunky Mullaney, builds a gang of female robots who are then dispatched to seduce and rob wealthy men. (Goldfoot's name reflects his and his robots' choice in footwear.) Avalon and Hickman play the bumbling heroes who attempt to thwart Goldfoot's scheme. The film's climax is an extended chase through the streets of San Francisco.
- One of Goldfoot's bikini-clad female robots is played by Deanna Lund, three years before joining the cast of Irwin Allen's science fiction series Land of the Giants.
- Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman play the same characters they did in the previous year's Ski Party, except that the characters' names were swapped.
- Annette Funicello makes a brief cameo as a girl locked in medieval stocks. Frankie Avalon lifts her face, then looks at the camera and says, "It can't be!"
- Harvey Lembeck also makes a cameo appearance as Goldfoot's assistant, Hugo, in the TV special "The Wild Weird World of Dr. Goldfoot".
- Among the girls who played Dr Goldfoot's robots were China Lee, married to Mort Sahl, and Luree Holmes and Laura Nicholson, the daughters of James H. Nicholson.
Louis M. Heyward, who worked on the script, says the original idea came from James H. Nicholson, who was one of the owners of AIP. Heyward claims Nicholson wanted robots in the film to provide a role for his then-girlfriend Susan Hart, whose acting abilities were limited. Nicholson provided the story and is credited as "James Hartford" and Robert Kaufman wrote the first draft. Heyward later claims he completely rewrote Robert Kaufmann's script. Norman Taurog hired Elwood Ullman to do a rewrite.
Vincent Price stated in a 1987 interview with David Del Valle that the original script was a camp musical, comparing it to Little Shop of Horrors. Price stated, "It could have been fun, but they cut all the music out", though he is not clear whether the footage was actually shot or the idea was abandoned during production According to Susan Hart:
One of the best scenes I've seen on film was Vincent Prince singing about the bikini machine - it was excellent. And I was told it was taken out because Sam Arkoff thought that Vincent Price looked too fey. But his character was fey! By taking that particular scene out, I believe they took the explanation and the meat out of that picture... It was a really unique explanatory scene and Vincent Price was beautiful in it, right on the money.
According to Norman Taurog's biographer:
The original plan had been to follow the AIP formula and have songs integrated throughout the film, but Norman brought in Elwood Ullman to do a rewrite ... and the final script read like a good-natured spoof on the James Bond films with no songs. This apparently disappointed Vincent Price, who had been looking forward to singing.
The film is notable for its scenic photography of San Francisco. The streetcar scene was filmed at the West Portal tunnel. Filming went for over 30 days, taking place on location in San Francisco and on the backlots at the Producers Studio and MGM Studios. The day after the company returned from San Francisco, rioting broke out in Watts in South Los Angeles. On August 30, the unit moved to MGM Studios Lot 2 to shoot on their "New York Street" set for a couple of days before returning to the Producers Studio.
The climactic chase sequence was filmed in the Bay Area. The stuntmen included Carey Loftin, Paul Stader, Troy Melton, Jerry Summers, Ronnie Ron-dell, Bob Harris, Louis Elias, David Sharpe Harvey Parry and Bill Hickman.
When designing Goldfoot's lair, Daniel Haller re-used some of his designs from 1961's The Pit and the Pendulum. Stock footage of battleships from another AIP release, Godziilla vs. The Thing appears during the climax.
During filming in Los Angeles, the city was gripped by a heatwave. Sometimes temperatures on one of the sound stages reached over one hundred degrees by mid-afternoon. On the afternoon of August 15, 1965, the company was returning from lunch when one of the electricians, Roy Hicks, passed out from the heat and fell to his death from a catwalk.
The film had its premiere at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco, where Nicholson had been a manager. The key cast members embarked on a 30 day tour of 18 cities in 13 countries to promote the film.
According to Norman Taurog's biographer the film "was a moderate success in the United States, but did quite well in Europe, particularly in Italy."
The Los Angeles Times said the film "has enough fresh, amusing gags to make it entertaining... Price is splendid."
An AIP Television special that appeared on Shindig! in November 1965 called The Wild Weird World of Dr. Goldfoot hosted by Tommy Kirk featured many songs that may have been cut from the cinema release. The title of the television show may have been inspired by the November 1965 The Incredible World of James Bond designed to give publicity to the upcoming release of Thunderball.
In July 1965 it was announced a sequel would be made the following year called Dr Goldfoot for President, to begin filming May 14, 1966 for a September 14 release. Vincent Price returned for the 1966 sequel, Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, directed by Mario Bava.
- Chris Noel Seeks Break In Jack Jones Musical Dorothy Kilgallen:. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) [Washington, D.C] 08 Nov 1965: C9.
- "Big Rental Pictures of 1966", Variety, 4 January 1967 p 8
- Three Little Girls From Cool Are We, Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 27 Sep 1965: C18.
- Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas, John Brunas, "Louis M. Heyward", Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers and Writers of the 1940s through 1960s, McFarland 1991 p 157-158, 166
- Michael A. Hoey, Elvis' Favorite Director: The Amazing 52-Film Career of Norman Taurog, Bear Manor Media 2013
- MOVIE CALL SHEET: SPIEGEL TO FILM 'SWIMMER' Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 19 Mar 1965: D13.
- Weaver, Tom. "Susan Hart", Double Feature Creature Attack: A Monster Merger of Two More Volumes of Classic Interviews, McFarland, 2003. p.138
- pp. 138-139 Weaver
- Ribowsky, M. (2009), The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success, and Betrayal, De Capo Press, ISBN 978-0-306-81586-7, p.417
- Irene Can't Wait for 'Heaven Train' Los Angeles Times (September 20, 1965)
- Harford, Margaret. "'Goldfoot' Sparkling Comedy" Los Angeles Times (November 13, 1965)
- "AIP to Discontinue Second Features", Box Ofice (July 5, 1965)
- Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine at the Internet Movie Database
- Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine at the TCM Movie Database
- Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine at AllMovie
- The Wild Weird World of Dr. Goldfoot at the Internet Movie Database
- Dr Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine at Brian's Drive in Theatre