Before Mike Myers dawns the shagadelic cravat of Austin Powers and became the archetypical Bond spoof there was another. In 1965 we met a very SIC man by the name of Craig Gamble, alias 00¼ played by the ’50s teen idol, Frankie Avalon. The product on nepotism Craig is an inept agent for the Secret Intelligence Command who’s as astute as he is good with the ladies. He is everything Bond is not, which is nothing. But even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut. While on a failed date Mr Gamble tries to console his bruised ego with the company of an interesting woman leaking milk named Diane who seems to be infatuated with him, or at least a man named Todd Armstrong that has a passing resemblance. This strange interaction leads Craig to stumble upon the wild plan of Dr Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.
Even as I type the film’s name I can hear the theme performed by the Supremes drawing out the name of our titular villain, followed by the rhythmic pattern of his mechanism of sexual perfection. Dr. Goldfoot, being portrayed by the legendary Vincent Price, left me astounded that there was any scene left for him to chew, with his debonair charm and snide remarks. It’s clear Price was having the time of his life with this one. The plot is convoluted and shaky. The dastardly Dr. Goldfoot produces robotic women to seduce and marry the richest men in the world to transfer their wealth to the Doc. No dreams of world domination, or political power, it’s just what I suppose was Vincent’s personal fantasy; to be surrounded by all the riches in the world and an army of beautiful women.
This is not a movie to walk in with modern sensibilities, but even so it can still be a fun watch so long as you do as the film does and do not take it seriously. There is no graphic nudity or violence, and what violence there is-is cartoonish or implied, i.e. Price giving a demonstration of his latest wife disposal unit (in case the mark is already married) a pair of Galilean binoculars rigged to stab and poison the user, which is on par for the time. As to why Dr. Goldfoot had to give a demonstration instead of programming the information into the androids the world may never know. What is known is that if you can sit still while it gets going and laugh at the cheap effect, the overt sexism that I’m not entirely sure whether or not it was intended to be a commentary on the early years of the Bond franchise, you’re probably going to have a few chuckles seeing Price play through his Hammer Horror past in very unsubtle nods as he yells at his dimwitted assistant Igor in the middle of this slapstick spy comedy.