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Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine

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    Mark Tolch
    Senior Member

  • Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine



    Released By: Kino Lorber
    Released On: November 10, 2015
    Director: Norman Taurog
    Cast: Vincent Price, Frankie Avalon, Susan Hart, Dwayne Hickman, Fred Clark
    Year: 1965
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    It may be a product of the legendary American International Pictures, and it may boast the legendary name of Vincent Price, but from the opening, happily animated credits and the upbeat theme song by The Supremes, it's quickly apparent that Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine is going to be something quite different than tales of ravens and the torment of dead lovers. With the colourful, sprawling cityscape of San Francisco providing the backdrop to a lovely young lady strutting confidently down the street, the film becomes even more of a head-scratcher as she first collides with a car, causing damage to the front bumper but continuing her sassy gait, and then collides with a bank robbery in progress, carrying on with a smile despite catching a salvo of lead, right on into a local diner where Secret Intelligence Command Agent Craig Gamble (Frankie Avalon) has just been dumped by his lady friend. Craig is immediately taken with the gorgeous young lady, despite the fact that the huge glass of milk she downs comes spouting out of her numerous bullet holes.

    Unfortunately for Craig, "Diane" is in his life quite unintentionally. You see, "Diane" is just one of many gold bikini-clad beautiful buxom robots created by mad scientist Dr. Goldfoot (Vincent Price) and his inept henchman, Igor. Their purpose: to assign each of their voluptuous creations to a man of affluence and influence, obtain power of attorney through seductive charm, and pass the wealth on to the bad Doctor. Despite Craig's desperate attempts to impress her with his occupation as an agent for Secret Intelligence Command (SIC), Diane is overcome by Dr. Goldfoot recalling her to his lair where she is punished and sent to pursue her original target, a rich bachelor by the name of Todd Armstrong.

    But in a motif that will echo through the ages, Craig just can't quit that girl. A further scuffle with Diane and a severed hand, however, uncovers her mechanical origins. It's up to Craig to convince the newly married Armstrong that his bride isn't quite what she seems; and a trip to Goldfoot's secret underground lab will hopefully provide the proof that he needs to get Armstrong on his side, and prove to the top brass at SIC (Craig's Uncle Donald) that he's got what it takes to help save the world. In a battle of bumbling secret agents and drunk playboys versus bombastic bikinied sexbots, who will emerge victorious?

    To get the brutally obvious out front and into the light, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine is not going to appeal to everyone. Though it does have its fans, it is, quite simply, regarded as a BAD movie. It's not difficult to imagine such a movie being made (and being quite successful, in fact) in 1965; combining the upbeat comedic charm of the Beach Party Films and Avalon's star power with nods to the incredibly successful James Bond franchise entry Goldfinger almost seems like a no-brainer. Goldfoot, however, strays so far into Beach Party territory with slapstick comedy sight gags that it heads straight into idiotic territory. The wonderful Vincent Price, whose presence should be enough to save such a film, is given precious little to do aside from slap his henchman for bumbling, and mock his previous roles as a horror icon...though the latter does provide a chuckle here and there. For the most part, though, one can mainly expect to see the shenanigans that followed Annette and Frankie through the sand; including a brief, surprising cameo from one of their former co-stars.

    It's American International, and it's Vincent Price; but it's definitely not what you expected.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Kino brings Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine to blu-ray in a 2.35:1 transfer that definitely needs to be discussed. First off, though it does vary from scene to scene (the soundstage material, for example, seems to be sharper and more steady than the opening street sequences) the detail and colour on Goldfoot looks great, perfectly capturing the swingin' look of the modern films of the 60's. It's a KL transfer, so you can expect to see little to no cleanup done, but the transfer is quite clean with minimal dirt and no damage.

    However, there is a vertical stretch going on here that lends a surreal thinning of the elements onscreen, and in my case, anyway, it's incredibly distracting. I've read other reviews from a number of sites, viewers who claim everything from not being able to see it, to very slight, to not visible in motion but visible in caps, to being unwatchable....so obviously, your mileage may vary on this one. I can only speak from my own perspective and call this a major ball dropped on the part of Kino and their quality control. For me, this vertical affliction renders the film almost unwatchable, and ruins an otherwise fine transfer.

    As per usual, the disc sports a DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo track that would be on par with the video transfer excepting the stretching. Dialogue is pretty clear and well-balanced for the most part, there are a few wrinkles in the track here and there, but nothing to distract from the film. Curiously, some effects seem to pop out in the forefront, but again, it's not too much of a distraction.

    Kino has provided a number of extras for the disc as well. First up as an Animated Montage of Images (1:18) that is essentially a slideshow of posters, production stills, and other shots.

    Three Trailers are also included; Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, Dr. Goldfoot and the Girlbombs, and House of the Long Shadows.

    The most interesting extra on the disc comes in the form of a feature-length commentary with Sinister Urge's (and pretty knowledgable guy) David DelValle and filmmaker David DeCoteau that includes so much information about the film, American International, the stars, the filmmakers, and just about everything else that it's impossible to describe without only scratching the surface. If you're like me and the film itself didn't do much for you, the commentary is most definitely still worth a listen for being both entertaining and informative.

    The Final Word:

    The film, love it or hate it, is obviously a title that appeals to people in different ways, though the vertical stretching of the transfer is definitely going to be a deal breaker for most.



    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!






















    • Mark Tolch
      #2
      Mark Tolch
      Senior Member
      Mark Tolch commented
      Editing a comment
      For me, it completely ruined the film....which wasn't great, anyway. Didn't realize it was an issue on the Dvd....shame they didn't take care of it. The commentary is fantastic.

    • Fundi
      #3
      Fundi commented
      Editing a comment
      in these screenshots the stretching looks horrible, I would not buy this now after seeing this, I have the old MGM DVD, which didn't seem to have this.

    • Mark Tolch
      #4
      Mark Tolch
      Senior Member
      Mark Tolch commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by Fundi
      in these screenshots the stretching looks horrible, I would not buy this now after seeing this, I have the old MGM DVD, which didn't seem to have this.
      Like I said, some reviewers weren't bothered by it...personally, I don't know how. I found it absolutely brutal and had no idea why it would've been released like that. Being that Kino seems to release clean transfers with no cleanup, it makes sense it the problem existed on another transfer...if nobody from Kino watched it.
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