It shouldn’t be possible to be disappointed when you expect a movie to be bad. I knew after watching Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine that the sequel would no doubt be just as bad, and I decided to watch it out of the same morbid curiosity that drove me to watch the first. But Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs actually succeeds in being worse than than its predecessor, partly because it’s possible to see how it could have been better, but largely because it’s just put together with a much lower degree of competence.
Really, if it weren’t for Vincent Price and for hordes of scantily-clad women, there’d be no redeeming qualities to these films at all.
There’s still nothing exploitative about this. Honest.
Frankie Avalon is gone as the heroic lead of the film, which would be a marked improvement if the director hadn’t chosen to replace him with Fabian. Though Fabian is playing a new character, Bill Dexter, he’s pretty much indistinguishable from Avalon’s Craig Gamble, to the point that the film’s opening narration attempts to convince the viewer that it was Dexter who stopped Dr. Goldfoot in the earlier work. It’s a little insulting. Sure, the first film was largely forgettable, and both Frankie Avalon and Fabian are bland, untalented actors who inexplicably became teen heartthrobs for a few microseconds in the 1960s, but… oh, what the hell. I’ll give them this one.
What I won’t pardon is the inclusion of Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrasia. Franco and Ciccio are apparently a comedic duo that were heavily used in Italian cinema at the time (while the original was filmed in the U.S., Girl Bombs was shot in Italy.) They are obnoxious, irritating, and basically serve no purpose other than a weak attempt at comic relief (in a film that’s already a comedy) by a couple of guys who appear to be trying to be Abbott and Costello, if Abbott couldn’t act and Costello was replaced by Jerry Lewis. I don’t know if these guys were really popular in Italy or not, but personally, I hated them every minute they were on the screen.
If panting like a dog while gagging someone with toilet paper is your idea of comedy… no, this is so stupid I can’t even come up with a way to skewer it properly. The idiocy is killing my brain, people!
Dr. Goldfoot has improved upon his android girls from the first film, and is now able to create exact duplicates of already-existing women, without even having the women on-hand when he creates the doubles. Rather than go make a fortune in the red light districts of Nevada (where “creepy” is just a quaint way of saying “profit”), he’s rigged them with proximity bombs, and set them on the generals of NATO. By eliminating the generals and impersonating one of them, Dr. Goldfoot and his Chinese allies Fong and Hardjob (George Wang and Moa Tahi) hope to drop a super-hydrogen bomb on Moscow, starting a war between the U.S. and Russia that will allow Dr. Goldfoot and China to pick up the pieces and take over the world. Opposing him are ex-SIC agent Bill Dexter, SIC head Col. Benson (Francesco Mulé), Franco & Ciccio, and Col. Benson’s secretary Rosanna (Laura Antonelli). It’s not a complicated plot, but it could have been a pretty solid one had it not been regularly broken up by the antics of Franco & Ciccio. It could even have been funny; Price hams it up a bit more than in the first film, and the director wisely opted to give the title character more screen time. But unfortunately, when you only have one real actor in the bunch, the rest can really weigh the film down, particularly when it’s thin on plot and characterization.
Of course, deep characterization may have interfered with the Rosanna/Hardjob cat-fight.
As with a lot of Italian films of the 1960s, Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs was dubbed in post-production. Poorly. Many characters are out of synch, especially those (Franco & Ciccio most prominently) for whom English isn’t their primary language. It starts off bad, and gets worse. At one point, either because the dubbers just plain gave up, or because their sense of humor is really that bizarre, the name of the intelligence agency Franco & Ciccio have found themselves inducted into is replaced by random honking. And then, for no clear reason at all, in a balloon chase towards the end of the film (following a chase through an amusement park during which the characters apparently forgot that merry-go-rounds and Ferris wheels don’t actually go anywhere), the voices are left out completely and the movie is given title cards, as with a silent movie.
This film is an utter mess. It’s filled with directing decisions that can only be explained by assuming that they were meant to be funny… except that they aren’t even remotely funny. I’m only guessing they were meant to be because I am bereft of other possible explanations. The film is meant to be a comedy, it’s otherwise seriously lacking in comedic elements, therefore these idiocies and non sequiturs must have been intended as comedy. But it’s a failure as a comedy, and a failure as a film.