Goldface, the Fantastic Superman (1967)

Bitto Albertini may be better known for Black Emanuelle and his two bonkers mondo efforts, Safari Rally and Naked and Cruel or his giallo Human Cobras or his other two Emanuelle films — Black Emanuelle 2 and Yellow Emanuelle. You may also know him for his sequel to Starcrash (Escape from Galaxy 3) or his Shanghai Joe sequel (Return of Shanghai Joe) or his three Three Fantastic Supermen sequels (Three Supermen in Tokyo, Three Supermen in the Jungle and Supermen Against the Orient). Basically, I’m here to tell you that he’s known for everything but this Eurospy/lucha libre effort.

I’m here to change all that.

This movie has everything you want: a villain named the Cobra who has relationship issues. A hero named Goldface who also has 99 problems and Pamela — his girl — is all of them. And tons of Caracas, Venezuela’s finest pro wrestlers, who have lengthy battles that take up much of this movie’s screentime.

This is the kind of movie that I sit on the couch and scream at the TV until my wife tells me that I have to start settling down.

The Cobra is destroying industry all over Venezuela and asks for just $2 million dollars to settle down. That seems like a paltry sum. Maybe that’s why Number 2, who seems like his girlfriend, has so many issues with him. When the good guys attack ala Thunderball at the end, he wants to run away. She basically has to goad him into giving his soldiers a speech to get them fired up. She’s the kind of girlfriend that gets you into fistfights with numerous people at bars because someone disrespected her. Except, you know, these aren’t drunken hijinks, this is an entire army led by a masked wrestler with a cape and a submachine gun.

The Cobra has great clothes, like a long-length kimono that covers part of his face. Maybe he wears that to hide him talking under his breath at Number 2 when she makes him do things that he doesn’t want to. If you were dealing with her — she’s played by Evi Marandi from Bava’s Planet of the Vampires — you’d probably do anything she asks too.

The Cobra only rises every thousand years. He’ll be sure to tell you that many, many times in this movie. But hey — are you surprised that The Cobra ends up being one of the very industrialists that he’s trying to scam? He just isn’t sure of his idealogy, but what bad guy is?

Goldface doesn’t have it so easy either. He’s in love with Pamela — who the Cobra keeps trying to kill — but she doesn’t love his scientist alter ego Doctor Vilar. She’s only into that sweet, sweet Goldface. I mean, scientist or pro wrestler? I know where I stand on this longstanding argument. Well, then again, Goldface is pretty much sleeping with every single woman that he gets close to, so his problems aren’t really problems. Even his assistants in his lab are attractive ladies always down for some…experiments.

Our hero is played by Espartaco Santoni, who was in Lisa and the DevilDeath Will Have Your Eyes and The Feast of Satan. He had a lot in common with Goldface, as he was married eight times — actresses Teresa Velázquez (The Killer Must Kill Again), Marujita Díaz and Carmen Cervera (the Ted Mikels-written Missile X: The Neutron Bomb Incident) were three of his ex’s — and romantically linked to Ursula Andress, Princess Caroline of Monaco and Danger: Diabolik godess Marisa Mell. After his acting career ended, he ran disco pubs in Spain.

Goldface has a sidekick named Kotar — yes, just like Lothar in The Phantom — who dresses like an African tribesman, bugs his eyes out, speaks gibberish and loves peanuts. Yes, it’s as racist as 1967 was. And Albertini would make plenty more movies that define problematic to today’s eyes. Anyways, Kotar is played by Cuban actor Mario Lotario, who was also in a lot of Venezuelan movies and TV shows.

The end of this movie is astounding, because it isn’t Goldface who ends up taking out the bad guy. No, he falls out of a helicopter and the military forces — anonymous men who are unmasked and not trying to be superheroes — are the ones who kill The Cobra, not long after Number 2 is shot by Pamela. It’s kind of depressing.

The true ending is when Pamela does a run-in to Goldface’s big match — his one-footed dropkicks suck — and pins him to win his heart. She also looks way trashier and hotter than she does in the rest of the movie, kind of like when Ms. Elizabeth joined the NWO. Bravo to all concerned.

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