Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs: A Review (Review #780)


Lo, how the mighty have fallen. 

Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, the sequel to the highly successful Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, should be studied by every person who thinks about making a sequel under the chapter "Don't Let This Happen to You".  'Bomb' is right, for Girl Bombs is a hideous film that smears the name of the good Dr. Goldfoot.  Even by the campy standards of its predecessor, Girl Bombs fails to deliver on every level, and you just feel sorry for everyone involved, even Fabian, who despite not being as successful as other 1960s teen heartthrobs like Bobby Darin or Frankie Avalon, was clearly so much better than the material.

The mad scientist Doctor Goldfoot (Vincent Price) is at it again, unleashing his batch of bikini-clad babes onto NATO military generals as part of a joint Goldfoot-Chinese plan to take over the world.  One of those NATO generals just happens to look like Goldfoot, a fortuitous coincidence he plans on taking advantage of.  Hot on his trail is Secret Intelligence Command agent Bill Dexter (Fabian), who is aware of Goldfoot's nefarious scheme.  Somehow in all this enter two Italian secret agents, Franco and Ciccio (played by Italy's answer to Laurel & Hardy, Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia).  For reasons no one appears to know or understand, Franco & Ciccio are also tracking Goldfoot, and they appear to join forces with Dexter to stop Goldfoot.

At this point, I don't think even the film or its director, Mario Bava, know what's going on, and the film just collapses into a pileup of sheer horror and cringe-inducing moments.

Watching Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs is a pretty sad affair.  If it had been shown to those at Guantanamo Bay, I would have constituted that as torture.  The reasons for why Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs failed are many, but they all add up to one indisputable fact: it's simply one of the worst films ever made.  We're talking Plan 9 From Outer Space/Battlefield Earth/Catwoman/The Hangover Part II bad. 

On second thought, I think I'd rather sit through ANY of those films rather than suffer the sheer monstrosity that is Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs

The first, biggest, and primary problem with the film is that it has no idea what it is.  What I mean by that is that essentially you have two versions of it.  There's this version, made for the American market, and then you have the Italian version, called Le Spie Vengono Dal Semifreddo (The Spies Who Came in From the Semicold, an obvious spoof of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold in the same way Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs was I figure meant as a spoof of the Bond film Goldfinger).  As a result, at least the American version makes no sense (even in its own insanity). 

Why so much time was spent on the 'comic' exploits of Franco & Ciccio (whose 'comedy' obviously was untranslatable) is perhaps the worst decision the film made (one of many, many, MANY bad decisions).  They are not funny in any way, and every scene with them is just eye-rolling in how awful it all is.  I understand why they were featured (as a co-production, Franco & Ciccio were comedic superstars in Italy...which goes to explain why Italians could elect bunga-bunga loving Silvio Berlusconi to Prime Minister on more than one occasion).  At its lowest point, Franco & Ciccio pair up with Dexter to chase Goldfoot around an amusement park for no rational reason. 

I got the sense that they were told, 'have a scene at an amusement park and worry about the logic of it all later'. 

The cheap production shows through in bad sets and even worse dubbing to where one suspects even the American Fabian ended up dubbed by someone for whom English was a foreign language.  The dubbing is so obvious that it would actually have been cheaper and more logical to subtitle the whole thing.  In fact, for reasons known to no one, by the end we ended up dropping dubbing altogether, with the balloon chase in the style of a silent film. 

Maybe it was a cost-cutting decision.  Maybe it was the fact that by this point everyone knew there was no point in trying to make the dubbing look real when it never was to begin with.  Whatever the reason, it was just another low point in the whole fiasco of a film.

Is a-not a-OK...

Again, a lot of the technical flaws could have been forgiven if any of it had ended up being funny.  The fact that Italy's version of Martin & Lewis aren't (and I imagine they weren't funny in Italian either, which makes their popularity all the more incomprehensible) makes all their scenes all the more painful.  It's sad to see that the thoroughly moronic Dexter ends up the smartest person in the film. 

However, Fabian has absolutely nothing to work with and looks just as confused as everyone else (audience included).  Audiences would have been more confused by Price's opening voice-over narration detailing the events of the first film since the whole opening goes out of its way to hide the Avalon character altogether.  It's as if Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs is suggesting that Dexter was there all the time when anyone who saw Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine would have known this was not the case.  As we have no idea who Dexter was, we can't really make a connection.  Even worse, the film expects us to know who he is merely because he is a SIC man.

Price I think tried to make it work, but he looks embarrassed to be in this disaster, expressing no joy in the lunacy of it all.  The first film was camp and gleefully so, but the sequel was a shambles where motives, characters, and ideas were thoroughly disorganized and opaque.

Another in the 'worst decisions' the film made was in actually showing the generals biting it.  Granted, it was not graphic but if we go back to Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, the whole  'killing' thing was merely suggested.  We saw other girls go to their various assignments but never saw what they actually did (or if they used those blade-programmed opera glasses to blind their love rivals).  In fact, we pretty much forgot about them, and this might have been a good bouncing-off point for the sequel, with the crazed Dr. Goldfoot and his henchman Igor following up on one of their rogue machines. 

Instead, we got this.

Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs should have been retitled Fabian...And a Bunch of Italians.
Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs is one of the Worst Films Ever Made. 





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