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Jean de Limur
Wealthy Cynthia is in love with not-so-wealthy Roger, who is married to Marcia. The threesome is terribly modern about the situation, and Marcia will gladly divorce Roger if Cynthia agrees to a financial settlement. But Cynthia's wealth is in jeopardy because her trust fund will expire if she is not married by a certain date. To satisfy that condition, Cynthia arranges to marry Hagon Derk, who is condemned to die for a crime he didn't commit. She pays him so he can provide for his little sister. But at the last minute, Derk is freed when the true criminal is discovered. Expecting to be a rich widow, Cynthia finds herself married to a man she doesn't know and doesn't want to. Written by
An heiress plays with DYNAMITE when she marries a Death Row prisoner in order to inherit a large fortune.
In 1929 Cecil B. De Mille, perhaps Hollywood's most flamboyant director, went to work for the biggest Studio in town--giant MGM. During his brief sojourn there, De Mille would create three films--MADAM Satan (1930) & THE SQUAW MAN (1931) were the others. None could be considered financial successes, but each would be fine pieces of entertainment, unblemished by the mawkish acting or unnatural staging which often marred other very early sound pictures.
In DYNAMITE, De Mille mixes together the worlds of the indolent rich and the hard working poor, a combination capable of producing an explosion as powerful as any stick of nitroglycerin.
Kay Johnson turns in a wonderful performance as a very conflicted young woman who must decide between the two very different men in her life--with unavoidably tragic results. Her big scenes, as a sorrowful bride, a humiliated hostess, a ditsy cook, an accident witness and the victim of a natural calamity, are all played with great skill & complete command of the new, noisy medium.
Charles Bickford is very effective as the plainspoken, rough mannered coal miner whom fate suddenly thrusts into Johnson's world. His anti-hero stance plays very nicely against Conrad Nagel's portrayal of a fun loving playboy who adores Johnson, and who is given, in the movie's final moments, the chance to give his life some meaning during the suspenseful underground cave-in with which De Mille traps his three protagonists.
Julia Faye, a favorite actress of De Mille's who would have small roles in his films for decades, plays Nagel's extravagant, mercenary wife. A very young Joel McCrea appears as her boyish lover.
Movie mavens will recognize Russ Columbo as the singing inmate during the wedding scene; he would become one of America's favorite crooners before his tragic & mysterious death in 1934. That's also dear Mary Gordon, also unbilled, as Bickford's mining town neighbor.
De Mille turns his artistic wildness loose a bit during the party scenes of wealthy dissipation, showing how Johnson's idle friends spend their worthless lives.
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