Monday, 17 March 2014

The Doll Squad (1973)

Before CHARLIE’S ANGELS there was... THE DOLL SQUAD. Or at least producing-directing-castle owning-accordion playing Ted V Mikels would like you to think that was the case. To be honest, anyone expecting even a barely competent forerunner of Spelling-Goldberg’s 1970s ‘look but don’t touch jiggle show’ (as it was referred to by the industry at the time) is probably going to be disappointed.
A stock footage rocket takes off and explodes in a flash of scratched negative. It’s all the fault of crime boss and James Bond villain wannabe (and want is all he’s going to be able to do here) Eamon O’Reilly (the not at all Irish sounding / looking Michael Ansara - what is he doing in this anyway?). Eamon wants to hold the US government to ransom by infecting the world with a deadly plague carried by three white mice he has in a cage that make noises that sound suspiciously like guinea pigs. 
      Perhaps they’re the real secret agents, because big-haired awful outfit-wearing Sabrina Kincaid (Francine York) and her gang of grabbed-off-the-streets-and-paid-a-dollar-to-be-in-this followers certainly aren’t. They wince when they fire a gun and get themselves captured far too easily by Eamon’s gang, but they do have nice matching jumpsuits and they never seem to run out of hairspray. This is just as well, because otherwise they would never be able to see where they were going through their vast disarranged locks. In fact, now I come to think of it, perhaps that’s where they conceal the weapons they seem to keep producing from nowhere.
The deadly plague has been created by twin mad German scientists, one of whom is incapable of removing his hands from his hips, which makes one wonder how his monocle got where it is. Eamon has his vast secret base (ie small ranch) on an island that looks more like a fairly unpleasant stretch of Californian beach where I dread to think what other low budget film-makers might have got up to before Ted and the gang got there. Sabrina and the rest of the Doll Squad shoot the same five stuntmen, playing about fifty guards, over and over, and then blow everything up. Cue glitzy luxurious ending (well, they’re on a boat wearing bikinis) and roll the credits.
If all the above makes you think I didn’t enjoy THE DOLL SQUAD, nothing could be further from the truth, but it’s only fair I warn you that this really is a load of old rubbish, and only the most hardened fan of crappy secret agent movies will get a kick out of it. The music score will either have you tapping your toes (me) or will drive you mad (most other reviews I’ve come across).
88 Films’ presentation of THE DOLL SQUAD is a very fine looking print indeed, and far better than this film deserves. There’s also a commentary track and a making of, as well as the usual trailers. CHARLIE’S ANGELS it most certainly isn’t, but for that alone we should be grateful. THE DOLL SQUAD exudes a certain tatty, thrown-together charm that makes it deserving of trash fans’ attention.

88 Films are releasing Ted V Mikels' THE DOLL SQUAD on DVD on 17th March 2014

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