Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966)

Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs is an odd film. This 1966 Eurospy parody is at once a sequel to two different movies that have nothing in common: Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine and Two Mafiosi Against Goldginger.

Fulvio Lucisano, the head of Italian International Film, wanted a sequel to his film. American-International Pictures wanted a sequel to theirs. They got their chocolate into one another’s peanut butter and co-financed this movie.

That disparity continues the whole way through the two different versions. In America, the main story is about Vincent Price’s Dr. Goldfoot battling against Fabian. Yet in Italy, the film has a different title (Le Spie Vengono dal Semifreddo, which means The Spies Who Came In from the Cool, a parody of 1965’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. It also concentrates more on the antics of Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia. Together, they appeared in 116 films, usually as the main characters, and are the most famous Italian comedy team of all time.

Despite being blown up real good at the end of the last movie, Dr. Goldfoot is working alongside the Chinese, making exploding female robots — Mike Myers owes this movie money — when he’s not impersonating a NATO general. Our hero is Security Intelligence Command agent Bill Dexter (Fabian!) who is too busy chasing women to save the world most of the time.

One of his conquests, Roseanna, is played by Laura Antonelli, who was Wanda in Venus In Furs. George Wang, who came to Italy by way of Shanghai to star in plenty of spaghetti westerns, is also here, as is former boxer Ennio Antonelli (he’s also in the spy films Danger: DiabolikMatchless and Agent 3S3: Massacre in the Sun.

Amazingly, this movie is directed by Mario Bava. He had no interest in the film, but he had a contract with Lucisano. The script changed nine times, people argued over the right women for each shot and even Price would say, that this movie was “the most dreadful movie I’ve ever been in. Just about everything that could go wrong, did.”

That’s right. The only time Bava would work with Price and we ended up with…this. Oh well. What can you do?

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.

Agent for H.A.R.M. (1966)

Gerd Oswald is known for his TV directing and some of his film noir work, like A Kiss Before Dying and Crime of Passion. He directed this thinking it’d be the pilot for a TV series and then, with the spy craze, it ended up being a theatrical release.

Adam Chance (Peter Mark Richman, Dr. Charles McCulloch from Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan and Chrissie’s religious father on Three’s Company) works for the American spy agency H.A.R.M. (Human Aetiological Relations Machine). That may be the most ridiculous acronym ever. I mean what is aetiology? Research tells us that it’s the British spelling of etiology or the study of the causes and origins of diseases.

In this adventure, Chance has to protect a Russian defector who has created a skin-eating weapon. Complicating matters is a double agent — the defector’s niece Ava Vestok, who is played by one of the first ladies of giallo, Barbara Bouchet. Yes, that’s reason enough to suffer through this silly little spy film!

Martin Kosleck is in this as a villain. He was a German actor that hated the Nazis and Hitler so much that he set out to play them in every film to show how horrible they were. In fact, he played Joseph Goebbels five times. He’s a Russian here, though.

Vincent Price’s least favorite actor — Count Yorga himself — Robert Quarry, is also on hand, as are Rafael Campos (The Astro-Zombies), Robert Donner (Exidor on Mork and Mindy) and Playboy Playmate of the Month for December 1963 and 1964 Playmate of the Year Donna Michelle. She’s also in the two theatrical movies made from episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.One Spy Too Many and The Spy With My Face.

Looking for someone to blame for all this? It was written and created by Blair Robertson, who wrote The Slime People. She’s also Mrs. Castillo in that movie.

Lightning Bolt (1966)

Whether it’s Yor Hunter from the FutureDeath RageCastle of BloodAnd God Said to CainCannibal Apocalypse or the Rick Dalton-starring Operation Dyn-O-Mite, Antonio Margheriti never disappoints.

Originally known as Operation Goldman, this Eurospy feature was bought by the Wooler Brothers — they brought Blood and Black Lace and Hercules In the Haunted World to America — and double-billed with the West German/Italian spy film Red Dragon, which was shot in Hong Kong. Eurospy movies really do bring the world closer together.

Their tagline? This movie “strikes like a ball of thunder.”

Yes, this was released a year after Thunderball.

Harry Sennet, Agent of Department “S” of the Federal Security Investigation Commission, is known as Goldman because he has an unlimited expense account instead of a license to kill. He’s played by former Hawaiian Eye star Anthony Eisley, who also appears in The WitchmakerThe Doll Squad and Al Adamson’s Dracula vs. Frankenstein. Margheriti  — billed here as Anthony Dawson — thought Eisley looked too Italian, so he dyed his hair blonde. It came out reddish. He no longer looked Italian.

Yes — I get the potential joke that Anthony Dawson was in Dr. No and played an early version of Blofeld.

He and his boss, Captain “Agent 36-22-36” Flanagan (Diana Lorys, who is pretty much a Eurospy queen what with appearances in this film, The Devil’s Man and Superargo and the Faceless Giants) are after Rehte. He’s a German beer magnate — Beerfinger, anyone? Dr. Reinheitsgebot? The Man with the Golden Lager? — who is destroying Cape Canaveral’s rockets with lasers on his beer trucks.

Miss Cinema of 1954 Wandisa Guida used the Americanized name Wandisa Leigh for this film. You may remember her from other Eurospy fare like Secret Agent Fireball and the amazingly named Bob Fleming… Mission Casablanca. And you can search for Barta Barri, the Hungarian-born Spanish actor here. You probably don’t remember him playing the crazy old man in Monster Dog, but I do. He was also in tons of Spaghetti Westerns.

You have to love any Italian movie that can’t afford to shoot in Florida, so they recreate the entire area in Rome. By the end of this, there’s an underwater empire, masked cronies, a submarine escape and so much more. It starts slow, but stay with it. And hey — it has a great Riz Ortolani soundtrack!

You can watch this on Amazon Prime and Tubi.

What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)

International Secret Police: Key of Keys is the fourth of five James Bond parody movies in Japan known as Kokusai Hhimitsu Keisatsu. Yet once Woody Allen got hold of it — it’s his directorial debut — the story turned into a battle for the world’s best egg salad recipe.

Originally intended to be just an hour-long made for TV movie, Henry G. Saperstein and American International Pictures took more footage from International Secret Police: A Barrel of Gunpowder, an actor imitating Allen’s voice and music numbers from The Lovin’ Spoonful to pad the running time of the film and get it into theaters. Allen had no control over that, a mistake that he wouldn’t make in any of his future projects.

The voices in the film include Allen’s writing partner Mickey Rose (he’d go on to write and direct Student Bodies), Julie Bennett (Madame Piranha’s voice in King Kong Escapes), Frank Buxton (a story editor on Love, American Style), Len Maxwell (the voice of Punchy, the Hawaiian Punch mascot) and Allen’s wife at the time, Louise Lasser.

After some nonsensical action about the mob and the secret agents vying for the egg salad recipe — intercut with Allen himself speaking about his work on the film — the credits include China Lee, Playboy Playmate of the month for August 1964 (and the then-wife of Allen’s comic idol Mort Sahl) stripping while Allen explains that he promised her a role in the film. She’d go on to appear in an episode of The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and as one of the robot girls in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, while we’re on the subject of spy films.

Speaking of spy women, two of the secret agents in this movie — Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama — would also show up in You Only Live Twice.

Our Man Flint (1966)

I’m going to be real blunt: I love Derek Flint more than I will ever and could ever love James Bond.

When the army tries to arm Flint, they offer him a Walther PPK and an attache case with a concealed throwing knife. He replies that they are both crude. He even fights Agent 0008, who says that Flint is going up against people more evil than SPECTRE.

Everyone talks about how many women Bond has. Derek Flint has at least four girlfriends at all times. In this film, they’re Leslie (Shelby Grant, The Witchmaker), Anna (Sigrid Valdis, Hilda from Hogan’s Heroes and the second wife of Bob Crane), Gina (Gianna Serra, who was Miss Italy for 1963) and Sakito (Helen Funai, who had a twin sister named Keiko; they often appeared as The Ding-a-ling Sisters because the 1970’s were racist and were also members of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers dance troupe).

Nothing is ever all that serious in these films. And in a life that is gray and dark, they’re the perfect balm for what ails you.

Flint was once a member of Z.O.W.I.E. (Zonal Organization for World Intelligence and Espionage), but he retired so he could get more out of life. But Galaxy — a group of scientists led by Doctor Krupov (Rhys Williams, How Green Was My Valley), Doctor Wu (Peter Brocco, who was in Spartacus and went into ceramics for a living while he was blacklisted in the 50s) and Doctor Schneider (Benson Fong, who started the Ah Fong restaurant chain) — have taken the very scientific tact that governments are ill-fit to rule the world and only reason can lead. So they start controlling the climate and blowing up the world real good, all in the hopes of getting every nation to give up all their nukes.

Yeah — that’s not going to end well.

There’s a bad guy named Hans Gruber years before Die Hard, an explosive jar of cold cream, a search for bouillabaisse, Flint faking his death via a yogic suspended animation state, Edward Mulhare from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Knight Rider as a villain, Mr. Whipple, Lee J. Cobb as the put-upon leader of Z.O.W.I.E. named Cramden and The Green Hornet star Van Williams doing a voiceover impression of LBJ.

How much of an influence on Austin Powers is this movie? Well, Cramden’s presidential red phone has a ringtone that shows up in that film, as well as Hudson Hawk, which features Flint himself, James Coburn.

Coburn is the most perfect leading man ever in this film. He’s bemused — as if he’s in on a joke none of us get to hear. Not that he’s above being in this movie; he’s just on a plane beyond it. He trained with Bruce Lee — indeed, he was one of Lee’s pallbearers, saying that the karate star had brought his “physical, spiritual and psychological selves together” in his eulogy. He’s the coolest, smartest and best-looking person in every room; in effect, he is Derek Flint and wholely imbues the role in a way that no other actor could.

How good is he? The scene where Flint relaxes by suspending his body supported by only a chair under his head and another under his feet? That was really something Coburn could do.

The more astute of you — like my friend Mark Rosato — will be able to pick out the USOS Seaview from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea in this movie. Plenty of the props and costumes from Land of the Giants are in this movie as well. But can you find James Brolin in an early role as a villainous technician? Or hear a young Randy Newman create the song “Galaxy a Go-Go?”

This is a perfect movie. If only all of life could be this good.

Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)

Known as War of the Monsters in the U.S. thanks to its English-language dubbing by American International Television, the second Gamera film has twice the budget of the first and realizes what they should have known all along: Gamera isn’t the villain. He’s the good guy and ready to defend children against more dangerous kaiju.

Those dumb scientists and their Z Plan rocket didn’t count on a meteorite letting Gamera escape and come back to Earth. Meanwhile, three ex-soldiers invade a cave — a scorpion kills one and treachery another — before bringing an opal to the surface. And that jewel? It’s an egg. And it’s hatching.

It becomes a lizard called Barugon, who can breathe freezing gas and launch rainbow rays from the seven spines on its back. These are all weapons that can do great damage to our turtle protector.

How do you defeat an undefeatable monster who freezes our hero again? Mirrors and drowning. Yes, Gamera straight up holds Barugon’s head under the waters of Lake Biwa.

In Germany, they screwed up the translation and call Gamera Barugon and Barugon Godzilla. Those versions are titled Godzilla, der Drache aus dem Dschungel (Godzilla, the Dragon from the Jungle), Godzilla, Monster des Grauens (Godzilla, the Monster of Horror) and Gamera vs. Godzilla.

You can watch this on Tubi and Vudu. You can also download it from the Internet Archive.

The Wild World of Batwoman (1966)

In 1966, thanks to the TV show, Bat-Mania was sweeping the country. So Jerry Warren decided to make his own movie, ignorant of things like copyright law and good taste. Soon enough, he’d be sued for copyright infringement and this movie got an even better title: She Was a Hippy Vampire. The funny thing is, Warren won the case and still re-released this movie with a different name.

Jerry reached out to one of his favorite leading ladies for the film, Katherine Victor.

She turned him down.

Yes, even the star of Mesa of Lost Women, Teenage Zombies, Creature of the Walking Dead, House of the Black Death, Frankenstein Island and The Cape Canaveral Monsters knew a turd when she saw one.

In Fred Olen Ray’s book The New Poverty Row: Independent Filmmakers as Distributors, Victor said that Warren promised her “large production values, color photography and her own Bat Boat.”

Of course, none of that came true.

She still played Bat Woman in this, even if she had to make her own costume.

Our heroine has several young and lithe Batgirls helping her battle the forces of Rat Fink over an atomic hearing aid. The weapon of Rat Fink’s choice? Bowls of soup with drugs in them.

That’s it. That’s the movie.

For the monsters, Warren just ripped off footage from The Mole People and the 1959 Swedish film No Time to Kill. No, really.

Bruno Ve Sota, who directed Female Jungle, The Brain Eaters and Invasion of the Star Creatures — he also shows up in around fifteen Roger Corman movies like Attack of the Giant Leeches — is in here. Plus, Bob Arbogast — who wrote the shortest-lived TV show ever, Turn-On, has a cameo.

You can watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of this on Tubi. Trust me, you’re going to need the help.

Kill, Baby, Kill (1966)

I first encountered Mario Bava’s Kill, Baby, Kill — or Operazione Paura (Operation Fear) — as all great movies should be encountered: in the foggy evening at a drive-in after none too few beers and other intoxicants. The only downside of this movie is that I can’t get back the feeling I had when I saw it the first time.

This movie was Bava’s return to gothic horror, yet it had no budget to speak of, reusing music from other films and with the maestro probably not even being paid for his work. In fact, the entire cast and crew worked for free to finish the film. The budget was so tight that instead of using a crane for one shot, Bava had to make due with a seesaw.

In the U.S., it was released as Curse of the Living Dead, which isn’t anywhere near as great of a title.

Dr. Paul Eswai (Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Knives of the Avenger) has been sent to a small village to perform an autopsy on Irene Hollander, who has died of mysterious circumstances. Medical student Monica Schufftan (Erika Blanc, The Night Evelyn Came Out of Her Grave) has been assigned as a witness; she soon sees something horrifying as a silver coin is inside the dead woman’s heart.

There’s also a ghostly little girl who either frightens people or convinces them to kill themselves. She’s Melissa Graps — actually played by the son of Bava’s concierge Valerio Valeri — the daughter of a baroness who is punishing the town. And Monica may be more involved in this strange town and these spectral doings than she can imagine.

As shocking as a child urging people to impale themselves and slash their own throats is today, I can only imagine how shocking it was in 1966. This movie has moments that feel like pieces of a dream, like when Eswai chases himself continually through the same endlessly repeating room.

You can get this movie from Kino Lorber.

New Year’s Eve on Gamma 1 (Or a review of War of the Planets from 1966)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John A. Frazier is absolutely crazy about the movies. In fact, he has been known to go crazy at the movies, too.

It’s New Year’s Eve and on the Gamma 1 space station the party is in full swing. There’s a “Space Spectacular” wherein Commander Michael Halstead’s crew take to the stars in space suits, link their bodies and spell out “Happy New Year.” It is a raucous affair going all night. At one point one officer is found buzzing around outside, drunk as a skunk. The officer who brings him inside says, “He’s drunker than a miner on Mars!”

As the revelers continue celebrating, the Delta 2 space station is attacked by strange lights. When Halstead sends men to investigate, the people they find are frozen stiff.

“Seems like they all died from fright,” reports back one rescue team member. They realize some of the frozen people are still alive.   

The attack is the result of the Diaphanoids, malevolent creatures made of light. 

“You can’t stop them. They’re lights but they have shape. They’re more than light! They’re things! They’re things!”

Then the Delta 2 space station completely disappears, followed by Alpha 1 and Alpha 2 space stations also disappearing.

Back on Gamma 1, when the Diaphanoids attack, Commander Halstead moves everyone into a room fortified with lead titanium walls. It is a move that saves their lives. “They can’t get through. That was my hunch.” A couple blasts of radiation send the Diaphanoids scurrying away. 

Captain Dubois is commandeered by the aliens. His body is used as a vessel to communicate with the humans. He takes Michael Halstead and his crew to their planet. (Connie Gomez has also been taken to the alien’s planet. Connie and Michael constantly bicker like a couple of little kids, but they seem to like one another.)

General Halstead, Michael’s father, gives Michael and his men a small window of time to save as many abducted people from the alien planet before he blows it up.

Halstead and his troops locate Delta 2 personnel tossed away like garbage on the alien’s mining planet. Any living bodies are serving as hosts for the aliens.

Time is ticking away and General Halstead is hot to press the button that will blow the Diaphanoid’s planet out of the cosmos. 

Will Michael Halstead save Connie Gomez and the others from the clutches of the Diaphanoids? Will he survive to live another outer space adventure? Will he keep bickering with Connie Gomez if he gets her to safety?

I won’t spoil the fun this science fiction comic adventure delivers. War of the Planets is a fun Italian space opera that is part of a four chapter series. The other movies in the series include Wild, Wild Planet (1966), War Between the Planets (1966) and The Snow Devils (1967). They are all pulp space tales of heroic men of action and women in peril, told just before man actually walked on the moon.

The miniature effects are pretty fun, the space fashions are shiny, and the interior sets are colorful and mod. Not the entire same cast is in all the movies of the series, as the Gamma 1 space station is the main continuity throughout the series. All of the films were directed by Antonio Margheriti, who used the name Anthony Dawson.

I encourage you to give these films a watch, especially if you are a fan of pulpy 60’s space adventures. War of the Planets, Wild, Wild Planet and The Snow Devils are all available on the Warner Brothers Archive Collection DVD-Rs. War Between the Planets is available on a double feature disc with Creation of the Humanoids by Dark Sky Films. 

(I don’t know how familiar fans are with these movies. From what I could locate, these movies don’t seem to have had much of a Home Video presence. I could only dig up an old Midnight Madness VHS copy of War Between the Planets, which was released under the TV title Planet on the Prowl, from Montgomery Home Video, from the mid 80’s. Before these DVD/DVD-R releases, I could only find that Wild, Wild Planet had been released on Laserdisc by MGM.)

Picture Mommy Dead (1966)

Bert I. Gordon was known as “Mister B.I.G.” which was a reference to both to his initials and to his preference for directing movies with giant-sized monsters and people like The Amazing Colossal Man, War of the Colossal Beast and Attack of the Puppet People.

His daughter Susan Gordon appears in this movie as well. This was her last film role, as she also was in four of Gordon’s other films: the aforementioned Attack of the Puppet People, The Boy and the Pirates and Tormented.

In this film, which originally aired on December 3, 1969 on ABC, Susan plays Susan Shelley, who believes that her father Edward (Don Ameche!) killed her mother Jessica (Zsa Zsa Gabor!). After three years in a convent, she’s reunited with her father and his new wife, her former governess Francene (Martha Hyer, The House of 1,000 Dolls).

Soon, she’s being gaslit by visions of her mother set ablaze and pushed toward insanity, all so that the rest of the family can inherit mommy’s money.

Maxwell Reed is made up with scars to portray Anthony, the caretaker who tried to save Jessica. He was the first wife of Joan Collins in real life and she’d later accuse him of drugging her and taking advantage of it on their very first date.

Wendell Corey (The Astro-Zombies) also shows up as an attorney and Signe Hasso, who was once promoted as the next Garbo, plays a nun.

Hedy Lamarr was originally cast in ty Zsa Zsa Gabor’s role, but she was fired when she was arrested at a Los Angeles department store for shoplifting an $86 pair of slippers. Gene Tierney was originally going to play Francene Shelley but dropped out, as did Merle Oberon.

It was filmed in the legendary Greystone Mansion, which has been host to plenty of films, such as Batman and RobinThe Big LebowskiDeath Becomes HerFlowers in the Attic, Phantom of the Paradise and The Witches of Eastwick. The home was unfurnished, but Gordon was able to get all of the furnishings from newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst’s New York City apartment to fill it.

This is an interesting little TV movie, with no real people to root for, but plenty of great fashions and colors. It’s almost like a little American giallo, except you know, Burt I. Gordon is no Mario Bava. That said, it’s a fun little escape.

You can watch the whole thing on YouTube.