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Double Dynamite! (1951)

Approved | | Adventure, Comedy, Music | 25 December 1951 (USA)
An innocent bank teller, suspected of embezzlement, is aided by an eccentric, wisecracking waiter.

Director:

Irving Cummings

Writers:

Melville Shavelson (screenplay), Leo Rosten (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jane Russell ... Mildred 'Mibs' Goodhue
Groucho Marx ... Emile J. Keck
Frank Sinatra ... Johnny Dalton
Don McGuire ... R.B. 'Bob' Pulsifer Jr.
Howard Freeman ... R.B. Pulsifer Sr.
Nestor Paiva ... 'Hot Horse' Harris, the Bookie
Frank Orth ... Mr. Kofer
Harry Hayden ... J.L. McKissack
William Edmunds William Edmunds ... Mr. Baganucci
Russell Thorson ... Internal Revenue Service Tailman (as Russ Thorson)
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Storyline

Bank teller Johnny Dalton, too poor to marry his sweetheart 'Mibs' Goodhug, saves a big-time bookie from a beating and receives a munificent reward...which just happens to match a mysterious shortage at the bank! Will Johnny's pal, eccentric waiter Emile, get him out of trouble...or in so deep he'll never get out? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Place Is Exploding With Laughter ! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

It's Only Money See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frank Sinatra was originally supposed to receive top billing in the film, but was reduced to third at the insistence of producer Howard Hughes. See more »

Goofs

Near the beginning of the film, Emile leaves the water pitcher on the table with Mildred and Johnny and walks away. After a couple shots back and forth, the water pitcher disappears from the table and apparently has moved to a side table behind the couple. See more »

Quotes

Emile J. Keck: You are in a barrel of rice with your mouth sown up. Old Chinese proverb.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Lenny Bruce Without Tears (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Stone Walls
(uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Richard Lovelace
Sung (one line) by Groucho Marx
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sinatra's Last Schnook Role
8 September 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Frank Sinatra's last role under his contract with RKO was this slight comedy Double Dynamite. It was also the last time he played a milquetoast schnook.

Double Dynamite was started in 1948 but Howard Hughes in his infinite wisdom kept under under wraps for three years, not releasing it until Christmas of 1951. In a backhanded way he may have helped Sinatra because in 1951 the film offers were not coming and at least his name was kept before the public eye.

Hughes could read the trade papers though and the Sinatra who had box office clout in 1948 had little in 1951. Probably Frank was going to be billed below Jane Russell in a Hughes production in any event, but he was third billed below Groucho Marx in this one.

If this had been done at Paramount you would have seen Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton in the roles Sinatra and Russell have. They're both bank tellers at Howard Freeman's bank, but Freeman's in retirement and it's run by his playboy son Don McGuire and manager Harry Hayden.

Frank and Jane make $42.50 a week, not a princely sum even back in 1951 and poor Frank goes and asks for a raise from Hayden. Personally I thought it was his best moment in the film. The way Hayden just jawbones him out of the raise reminded me of Branch Rickey negotiating salaries with baseball players. Right around the time this film was being made, there was a campaign against Rickey being orchestrated by New York Daily News sports columnist Jimmy Powers. One of the tags Powers hung on Rickey was El Cheapo. Based on the stories that Powers and others told about Rickey beating down every dollar a player might ask for, I have no doubt Rickey was the model for Hayden's character.

Anyway Frank lucks into a windfall when he saves a notorious bookmaker, Nestor Paiva, from a beating being dished out by a rival mob. In gratitude Paiva 'lends' Frankie a thousand dollars and he bets on several 'sure things' with Paiva and he walks away with $60,000.00.

But as Frank returns triumphantly from Paiva's betting parlor, he discovers Hayden making a speech to the staff about someone embezzling a lot of money. Not even Russell believes him. His only ally is their good friend, a waiter at a one arm spaghetti joint, Groucho Marx.

At this point Groucho really takes over the film. He gives Sinatra and Russell all kinds of advice, romantic and financial, about how to deal with this perplexing situation. One of them being put all the money in his name. They do that and Groucho does live it up in grand style.

Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn wrote two of their most forgettable songs. With the release held up for three years, Sinatra never even bothered to record them for Columbia Records where he was at the time. Kisses and Tears is a duet with Jane Russell and there's a comedy patter number, It's Only Money for Groucho and Frank. Sinatra was usually given some great songs by Styne and Cahn in the forties, but they definitely failed him here.

If it wasn't for Groucho Marx, Double Dynamite might very well be several notches lower in my estimation. When he's not on the screen you just wait for him to come back. I have a funny feeling that Groucho stole the film from Jane Russell who Hughes was trying to build up and that that was the reason it was held up for three years.

I marvel that Jane Russell had any career at all considering Howard Hughes's obsession with her two weapons of mass destruction. Double Dynamite is the third film that I know of that he held for years before releasing that starred her, The Outlaw and the noir classic His Kind of Woman were the other two. Good thing she did The Paleface with Bob Hope over at Paramount and out of his reach.

Besides those mentioned look for a nice performance by William Edmunds as Groucho's suffering employer, Mr. Baganucci. And Don McGuire is really quite the wolf in wolf's clothing as he keeps sexually harassing Jane.

It's not a great film, it might have been better had it been in the hands of someone like Preston Sturges at Paramount.


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