Italian film poster for Lightning Bolt
|Directed by||Antonio Margheriti|
|Music by||Riz Ortolani|
|Edited by||Juan Oliver|
Lightning Bolt (Italian: Operazione Goldman) is a 1966 spy-fi film shot in Techniscope in 1965 that was directed by Antonio Margheriti in his first entry into the Eurospy genre. The film was co-financed and released in the US by the Woolner Brothers who re-titled it Lightning Bolt with the tagline "strikes like a ball of thunder" . It was released as a double feature with Red Dragon in 1967 two years after the film had been shot. The film's star, Anthony Eisley, commented that the film was released too late to take advantage of the James Bond craze.
Department "S" of the Federal Security Investigation Commission sends Harry Sennet, an international secret agent nicknamed "Goldman" due to his unlimited expense account to investigate suspected sabotage of US space program rocket launches. Sennet, who carries a chequebook instead of a weapon and his superior Captain Flanagan discover an Auric Goldfinger type beer baron named Rehte is destroying the rockets through laser beams fired at the rockets from Rehte's beer trucks parked outside the installation. Rehte's lair is a Dr. No type underwater city off the coast of Cape Canaveral where he plans to launch a rocket to the Moon carrying a laser cannon that can target cities on the Earth for destruction.
Sent to Italy by the Woolner Brothers, former Hawaiian Eye actor Anthony Eisley was told by director Antonio Margheriti that he looked "too Italian". Margheriti insisted Eisley's dark hair be dyed blonde; it came out red. Eisley recalled working on the film in Rome and Lazio where the production designer recreated Florida was one of the most fun experiences that he ever had.
To look like an American made film, director Margheriti was billed as "Anthony Dawson" whilst Wandisa Guida was billed as "Wandisa Leigh". Eisley recalled the original negative of the film was lost and for its American release they had to reassemble the film from various prints that gave it a bad quality.
Lightning Bolt was released in Rome in April 1966 as Operazione Goldman with a 96-minute running time and in Spain in 1966 as Operación Goldman with a 100-minute running time.
The Monthly Film Bulletin described the dubbed dialogue as "taut, witty, even idiomatic" and that it camouflages "what were obviously rather wooden performances". The review went on to note that the sets of underwater city are "particularly attractive"Variety stated that the film's plot unfolded was done in a "professional and rapid" manner, but was still "standard spy fare". The review also noted that Margheriti's direction was "adequate" while Riz Ortolani's score was an unusual departure for him, and closer to Morricone's Dollars Trilogy music.
in 1986, Kim Newman wrote about the film in the Monthly Film Bulletin while covering the Eurospy trend in Europe. Newman described the film as "fast, witty and absurd enough to pass muster." In Phil Hardy's book Science Fiction (1984), Lightning Bolt was described as "one of the better pieces of Italian hokum that have their origin in the operatic technology of the James Bond series of films". The review praised the sets particularly the underwater city and the "apocalyptic conflagration at the end" as "wittily engineered."