|Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Norman Taurog|
|Produced by||James H. Nicholson|
Samuel Z. Arkoff
|Screenplay by||Elwood Ullman|
|Story by||James Hartford|
|Music by||Les Baxter|
|Edited by||Ronald Sinclair|
Fred R. Feitshans Jr.
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|Box office||$1.9 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine is a 1965 American International Pictures comedy film, made in Pathécolor, directed by Norman Taurog. It stars Vincent Price, Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman, Susan Hart and Jack Mullaney, and features Fred Clark. It is a parody of the then-popular spy film trend (the title is a spoof of two James Bond films: the 1962 film Dr. No and the 1964 hit Goldfinger), made using 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 horror legend Vincent Price and AIP's Beach Party film alumni, its in-jokes and over-the-top sexuality, 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: urban legend has it that this was because there were two doctors in the country called Doctor Goldfoot, but it was more likely due to a threatened lawsuit from Eon, holder of the rights to the James Bond movies.
The success of the film on its 1965 release led to a sequel, made the following year, entitled Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs.
Price plays the titular mad scientist who, with the questionable assistance of his resurrected flunky Igor, 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.
The original idea for this motion picture came from James H. Nicholson, the President of American International Pictures, who wanted to showcase the versatile talents of AIP contract player Susan Hart. Nicholson provided the story, and is credited as "James Hartford." He hired Robert Kaufman to write the first draft. Director Norman Taurog hired Elwood Ullman to do a rewrite, and Taurog remained intimately involved with the content. Deke Heyward later claimed, without substantiation, that he completely rewrote Robert Kaufman's script.
The original title was announced as Dr Goldfoot and the Sex Machine, and the film was to be directed by William Asher. Taurog shortly thereafter assumed the helm as director, and Dwayne Hickman joined the cast. Filming began in late summer 1965, with one of AIP's largest-ever budgets. It was the first AIP movie to cost over a million dollars.
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 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 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, Godzilla 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 100 °F (38 °C) 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."
AIP Television produced a musical TV special episode promoting Doctor Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine that appeared for one night in temporary place of the ABC scheduled show Shindig! This show, called The Wild Weird World of Dr. Goldfoot, starred Vincent Price, Tommy Kirk and Susan Hart, and featured many songs that may have been cut from the cinema release.Louis M. Heyward and Stanley Ross wrote the 30-minute short comedy musical TV special which aired Nov 18, 1965 on the ABC network.
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.