Double Dynamite

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For the Elvis Presley album, see Double Dynamite (album).
Double Dynamite
Double Dynamite 1951 cinema poster.jpg
Original US cinema poster
Directed by Irving Cummings
Produced by Irving Cummings, Jr.
Irwin Allen (uncredited)
Written by Leo Rosten
Mel Shavelson
Mannie Manheim
Harry Crane
Starring Jane Russell
Groucho Marx
Frank Sinatra
Music by Leigh Harline
Cinematography Robert De Grasse
Edited by Harry Marker
Production
company
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures (US)
Release dates
  • December 25, 1951 (1951-12-25) (US)[1]
Running time
80 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Double Dynamite is a 1951 American musical comedy film directed by Irving Cummings and starring Jane Russell, Groucho Marx, and Frank Sinatra. The film was written by Leo Rosten, Mel Shavelson, Mannie Manheim, and Harry Crane.

The film was originally entitled It's Only Money, before RKO owner Howard Hughes changed the title to Double Dynamite as a reference to co-star Jane Russell's famous cleavage.[2]

Filmed prior to From Here to Eternity, the movie involves a bank teller (Sinatra) suspected of embezzling who turns to a sardonic waiter (Groucho Marx) for advice. Although Sinatra has by far the most screen time, he took third billing behind Jane Russell and Groucho Marx. Most of the scenes are devoted to the interactions of Sinatra and Marx, who had just begun televising his radio show You Bet Your Life the year before and was in between his wilder Marx Brothers persona and the more toned-down television Groucho. Both Sinatra and Jane Russell play against type as a shy, timid pair, while Marx portrays a sarcastic waiter who breezily mentors the frightened young couple.

Jane Russell and Groucho Marx each sing a duet with Frank Sinatra written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. Marx and Sinatra sing "It's Only Money", and Russell and Sinatra deliver the romantic "Kisses and Tears."

Filmed in 1948, it was held for several years after production, and released only in 1951. It was not a financial or critical success.[3]

Plot[edit]

Meek California Fidelity Trust teller Johnny Dalton asks his boss J. L. McKissack for a raise so he can marry fellow teller Mildred "Mibs" Goodhue. Though Johnny is turned down, Mibs wants to get married anyway. Emile J. Keck, a friend and waiter at an Italian restaurant they frequent, also urges Johnny to take a chance, even facetiously suggesting he rob the bank where he works. When he insists on waiting, Mibs storms out.

While returning to work, Johnny intervenes when he spots two men beating up a third in an alley. The victim, "Hot Horse" Harris, turns out to be a bookie. To show his gratitude, Harris gives a stunned Johnny $1000, but Johnny refuses to accept it. To make it easier, Harris changes it to a "loan", then promptly bets the entire amount on a sure thing in a fixed race, making sure to place the bet at the bookie joint run by his competitor (the one who had him beaten up). From the winnings, Harris takes back the loan, and Johnny is left with $5000. Harris then makes two more bets for Johnny, both winners. Johnny now has won $60,000. Harris only has $40,000 on hand, so he tells Johnny he will send him the rest later. Johnny rushes off to share the good news with Emile, but Emile believes he took his advice about bank robbery.

As it turns out, the bank's auditors have discovered that there is $75,000 missing. Fearing that he will be suspected of the crime, Johnny enlists Emile's help in hiding the money. When he tells Mibs about his windfall, she does not believe his story either. She finds $20,000, the remainder of what Harris owes Johnny, and goes to see Bob Pulsifer, Jr., the lazy, lecherous son of the bank's founder. She offers it to him on condition that he not inform the police about Johnny, but he telephones them anyway.

Mibs insists on driving Johnny to Mexico, but they are caught. Much to the couple's surprise, the police know that Johnny won the money; instead, they arrest Mibs, as the auditors tracked the $75,000 to her. Fortunately, Johnny discovers by accident that Mibs's adding machine is malfunctioning: according to it, 2+2=5 and 3+3=7. Afterward, Mibs tells a man she thinks is a "reporter" about all the expensive gifts Johnny has given her, only to learn that the man actually works for the IRS.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Bosley Crowther, the critic for The New York Times, dismissed Double Dynamite, writing, "Whatever that sizzling title is supposed to mean, this thin little comedy is strictly a wet firecracker" and that "The three stars are marking time, along with the audience, in a slow, dull and predictable tale".[4]

Home media[edit]

Double Dynamite was released on DVD on May 13, 2008, both individually and as part of a box set of Sinatra movies.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Double Dynamite: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ Darwin Porter, Howard Hughes: Hell's Angel (Blood Moon Productions, 2005), ISBN 978-0974811819, p. 725. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  3. ^ Tom Santopietro, Sinatra in Hollywood (Macmillan, 2009), ISBN 978-1429964746, pp. 115-116. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  4. ^ Bosley Crowther (December 26, 1951). "Distant Drums (1951) THE SCREEN: SIX NEWCOMERS ON HOLIDAY FARE". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]