Double Dynamite (1951) Poster

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theowinthrop1 August 2006
The post - Marx Brothers films of Groucho are somewhat astounding because of their mediocrity or worse. Groucho appeared in the late 1940s in four films: COPACABANA, DOUBLE DYNAMITE, A GIRL IN EVERY PORT, MR. MUSIC. He would subsequently appear alone in WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER, and finally made SKIDOO. None of these have the values of the best Marx Brother films, and yet they had pretty good casts in most of them: Carmen Miranda, Frank Sinatra and Jane Russell, William Bendix, Bing Crosby, Tony Randall and Jayne Mansfield, Jackie Gleason and Carol Channing. Some of the directors were interesting: Frank Tashlin in ROCK HUNTER and Otto Preminger in SKIDOO (even Richard Haydn in MR. MUSIC). But the films rarely have much going for them. Not that the two Marx Brother films of this period (LOVE HAPPY and THE STORY OF MANKIND) were anything to write home about.

I tend to think that Groucho, wealthy and middle aged, was no longer really interested in proving anything in movies. His energies concentrated wonderfully on the radio and then television quiz show YOU BET YOUR LIFE. And he was right - his stardom remained high as a result. For that matter neither Harpo or Chico really needed to prove anything about their talents either. LOVE HAPPY was shot because (like A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA) Chico had some money troubles tied to his gambling. But Harpo and Groucho forced Chico to curtail some of his spending habits. From the point of making movies to impress none of them needed it.

So I suspect Groucho was less than really choosy in picking his films. He definitely lucked out in DOUBLE DYNAMITE by having a film with Frank Sinatra and Jane Russell. Both had followings (Sinatra's first following peaking in 1948; Russell being notorious for THE OUTLAW). But the story is a rather weak one. Sinatra is a clerk in a business owned by Howard Freeman. He manages to save Nestor Paiva's life, and the grateful bookie puts money down for Sinatra on a sure-thing horse that wins big. Now Sinatra has money to burn, but just then there is an audit of the books, and Freeman discovers a huge discrepancy. So Sinatra becomes his chief suspect for embezzlement.

Sinatra's problems are that he can't prove Paiva has repaid like this, and even if he could Freeman tends not to believe him. His only allies are his girlfriend and fellow worker Russell, and his closest friend Groucho (as Emil J. Ketch, a philosophical waiter with some biting wit). In the plot of the film, Groucho tries to help Sinatra by trying to get information from Freeman that may lead to the actual embezzler. This leads to the best portions of the film.

I have commented on Howard Freeman elsewhere on this board. A gifted character actor, he is unjustly forgotten today. He was capable of dramatic performances (he was a memorable Himmler in HITLER'S MADMAN, and he was the crooked landlord of the fleabag hotel that Alan Ladd used in THE BLUE DAHLIA), and he was equally good in comedy (he is the wealthy sausage manufacturer who is convinced by an intruding Stewart Grainger not to marry the devious Eleanor Parker in SCARAMOUCHE). He was also one of the few character actors who ever had a chance to reverse a dramatic performance into a comic gem, when he took his self-centered, fatuous Himmler and used it as a nice guy mistaken for a Himmler in a CAR 54 WHERE ARE YOU? episode. With his abilities he was a first rate foil for Groucho.

Freeman's Mr. Pulsifer is not fully prepared to prosecute Sinatra, but he certainly makes Sinatra aware of his peril. So Emil decides that he has to get to know Pulsifer and pry out of him various information about other potential suspects (such as Pulsifer's son). How to do this? Well Pulsifer has not met Emil as a waiter, so Emil dresses up as a wealthy potential business investor. Sinatra is footing the bill for Emil's luxury rooms at a hotel, and his wining and dining Freeman. Of course, the fatuous Freeman does fall for it. Here's the type of man he wants to associate with: a real man of the world. While Groucho spins the most outlandish lies, Freeman readily, greedily swallows them. The scenes between them are quite good.

Groucho does recite "Gather ye rosebuds" at one point, and he has a nice duet with Sinatra. So there are positive points in the film. Ms Russell does the best she can but her lines are not memorable (the title's double entendre is the limit of wit regarding her role). It is a pleasant film, at times almost rising with Groucho and Freeman, but it is not up to the best work Groucho ever did.
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Nothing special, but worth watching for its three stars
gridoon10 September 2007
There is a scene somewhere in the middle of "Double Dynamite" where Frank Sinatra and Jane Russel are lying on their beds in two rooms separated only by a thin wall and start singing to each other; the camera lingers on Jane's face and smile, and it's a delightful moment. The rest of the movie is not quite on that level, but the three stars make it worth watching anyway: Sinatra is likable, Russell is dazzling, and Groucho Marx has some laugh-out-loud zingers ("You're getting married? Where is the ceremony taking place, Alkatraz?"), and does some of his trademarked eyebrow-raising as well. In fact, I would say that this is a better showcase for him than the Marx Brothers' last film "Love Happy", in which he was essentially just a guest star. "Double Dynamite" is a minor film, but it passes the time very easily. (**1/2)
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Sinatra's Last Schnook Role
bkoganbing8 September 2007
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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A lot of fun!
Ziggy-351 October 2003
I don't know why this kooky little film hasn't received better notices. As a huge fan of both Groucho Marx and The Voice, "Double Dynamite" was a dream come true. Groucho hasn't been this funny since "Duck Soup," and Ol' Blue Eyes plays off him beautifully. If there's a complaint here, it's that there aren't enough musical numbers. "It's Only Money" (a duet between Frank and Groucho) is a show-stopper.
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Of Sinatra, Jane, and Groucho.
mkilmer12 June 2007
This move is set some time in the 1940s, so plug that in and go along for the ride. Sinatra stars as an honest man, eking out a living as a bank teller but not enough for marriage. By chance, he's captured by the underworld and makes a mint. He can marry Jane Russell, something the wisecracking waiter, Groucho Marx, seems to want. But there has been an apparent embezzlement at the bank where Sinatra works, and its discovery is timed exactly with Sinatra's underworld winnings. He did not embezzle the money, but he can't rightly say he did come by it. But Groucho is there to help him, and we all know what that means.

This is a nifty film with a few good twists and its share of laughs.

There is a scene where "Johnny Dalton" is lying in his bed in his apartment and Mibs Goodhue in her bed in hers, separated by wall. Dalton starts to sing.

"You know," I teased to my wife, "that guy sounds a lot like Sinatra." "It is," she deadpanned in reply.

"Looks too young to be Sinatra." Yeah, 't was 1951. If you want to go back for a spell, this one will take you there.
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Frank Sinatra, Jane Russell, and especially Groucho Marx provide some fun in Double Dynamite
tavm5 October 2013
Just watched this on a Netflix disc. It's the only teaming of Frank Sinatra, Jane Russell, and Groucho Marx. It's largely because of the last name that I had in interest in seeing this and I wasn't disappointed as he's as funny as you expect him to be with all those wisecracks that cracks me up the way he does them. Sinatra shows his vocal chops to good effect when he duets with both Marx and Ms. Russell on their numbers. The supporting cast is also good of which one of them, William Edmonds, is one of the players from my favorite movie, It's a Wonderful Life-he played Mr. Martini there. Here, he has a much bigger role of a restaurateur who's Groucho's boss as Groucho is a waiter here. The plot-about an embezzlement-gambling mixup-gets partially confusing but the way it's performed here, at least it wasn't boring, that's for sure! So on that note, I say Double Dynamite is worth a look.
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If you like Frank, Jane or Groucho
dgz787 August 2006
then you should check this movie out. First, it might be the best movie Groucho did without his brothers. I know that's not saying much, but he really does a good job without Chico or Harpo. I thought he would be able to get off more double entendres with Jane Russell. I mean the movie is named Double Dynamite because of her.

Sinatra seems out of place playing a meek bank cashier that can't make a commitment to Russell. He's not a guy that would ever be invited to join the Rat Pack. Heck, Jerry Lewis could take on this Sinatra. And Russell probably would want to marry Lewis instead of Frank. How could he have taken this role? Russell does a pretty good job of playing off Sinatra and Groucho. She had a nice comic side that she didn't get to show often enough.

This was the last movie directed by Irving Cummings. Cummings, who started out as an actor in the silent era, doe a good job of keeping the story moving along. He's no Hitchcock or Ford, but he does a pretty good job with a pretty thin story.

I give it 7 out of 10 stars - a passing grade but not enough to make the honor roll.
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What a movie this could've been.
Lawson27 May 2009
Groucho Marx and Jane Russell (and Frank Sinatra)... ah what a movie this could've been. But it wasn't. I'm a huge Groucho fan and I thought Jane Russell sassed as good as Barbara Stanwyck could in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, so I had high hopes for a comedy with the two, but no, it wasn't to be. Instead, the two are featured tag-alongs in what appears to be a Frank Sinatra B-vehicle that he was probably contracted to do while still at the nadir of his career (right before his reinvigoration with his Oscar win for From Here to Eternity).

So, harpooned by a poor script, the stars never really got a chance to shine, though Groucho managed a couple of good one-liners and as always, it's a joy to watch him on screen.
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Sadly Disappointing
lzf024 November 2001
Think about it. Sinatra, Groucho, and Jane Russell starring in a movie written by Harry Crane and with songs by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. Sound great. Well, it's not. Sinatra is a bank clerk who is wrongly accused of stealing money from his bank. His singing is great; it's probably never been better. However, instead of the flip Sinatra character of the 1950s, director Cummings asks Sinatra to play a timid young man, a role that never really suited him well. (Think about "The Kissing Bandit"! Compare that to "Meet Danny Wilson", Sinatra's next film where he gets to play that cocky guy!) Groucho is as funny as usual, but the script is contrived, there are too few sight gags, and the direction is slow. We are even cheated on the musical numbers. The two songs, "It's Only Money" (sung by Frank and Groucho) and "Kisses and Tears" (sung by Frank and Jane, accompanied by the jazzy Phil Moore Four) are good, but I wish there were more. Groucho did better with his brothers and Sinatra did better with Nelson Riddle!
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Double. Jane Russell. Get It? Get It?
Ms. Russell, contradicting expectations from this leering title, plays a prim young woman given to high necklines. (OK, she does take a shower that looks identical to the one she takes in "The Las Vegas Story.") The dynamite? That seems to have nothing to do with the plot.

Like Russell, Frank Sinatra is cast against type as meek bank teller -- who pretty much stays meek. He is likable.

The only possible reason to watch this is Groucho Marx. He is a waiter in an Italian restaurant who masquerades as a millionaire. (Oi, don't ask.) My favorite of his jokes is this: Russell says to him, "You would choose the bridal suite. What are you going to do with three bedrooms?" "I don't know, Groucho replies. "What would a bride do with them?"
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"You Bet Your Life"
lugonian27 August 2007
DOUBLE DYNAMITE (RKO Radio, 1951), directed by Irving Cummings, teams popular crooner Frank Sinatra with "double dynamite" co-star Jane Russell for the only time. Playing the romantic leads, they are supported by the wisecracking cigar smoking Groucho Marx, formerly of the Marx Brothers comedy team, in his second solo effort following COPACABANA (United Artists, 1947), and his first as a supporting player.

Set in California during the Christmas season, Johnny Dalton (Frank Sinatra) a young bank clerk working for California Confidity Trust making $42.50 a week, finds he's unable to marry Mildred "Mibs" Goodhug (Jane Russell) because of lack of suitable earnings to support her. Johnny has stiff competition with Bob Pulsifer Jr. (Don McGuire), the bank president's lazy son, who can't keep his eyes off Mibs (and who could blame him?). While Johnny asks J.L. McKissack (Harry Hayden) for a raise, he is refused and later advised in jest by his close friend, Emile J. Keck (Groucho Marx), a waiter at Mr. Baganucci's (William Edmunds), restaurant, to go rob the bank, but Johnny hopes to come up with a better solution without using Emil's other method, gambling. After Johnny saves a bookie (Nestor Paiva), later identified as "Hot Horse" Harris, from a severe beating by rival mobsters in an alley, he takes the young man over to the Style Best Shirt Shop, actually a front for his off track betting establishment set in a secret back room, with a Santa Claus standing outside as a lookout. Showing his appreciation, the bookie offers Johnny $1,000 in cash, which he refuses. Instead, the bookie invests the money on a sure bet for Heavenly Queen, a racehorse, to win, and does. More bets follow before Danny wins take home money of $60,000. Returning to the bank from his lunch hour to break the news to Mibs, he holds back after being told that the bank has a shortage of $75,000, and all employees are placed under suspicion. With Mibs accused of embezzlement, and Danny unable to prove his good fortune now that the bookie and his establishment have disappeared and the shirt shop now run by elderly women, his next problem is what to do with the money? A straight comedy with brief musical interludes composed by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn features: "It's Only Money" (sung by Groucho and Frank Sinatra); "Kisses and Tears" (sung by Sinatra and Jane Russell); and "It's Only Money" (Sinatra, Russell and Groucho).

DOUBLE DYNAMITE might have been a great comedy had it been produced during the the heyday of screwball comedies of the 1930s, for that's where the material would have worked best, with possibilities of Groucho retaining his Emile role, Chico as Baganucci, Harpo as another bank employee; Zeppo or Frank Albertson as Johnny, and Marie Wilson as Mibs. Reportedly filmed in 1948 under the title of "It's Only Money," and withheld release for another three years. By the time DOUBLE DYNAMITE, it's new title, played in theaters, Sinatra's career was declining (with a comeback only two years away), which explains why his name is credited third, following Russell and Marx, instead of first since much of the plot is devoted to his character from start to finish. While Sinatra gets by playing a timid bank clerk, having played shy-types before, it's Jane Russell who seems miscast with her "comic strip" sounding name "Mibs" performing in the Judy Holliday (of "Born Yesterday" fame) manner. Even if Russell changed her hair-color from brunette to blonde, she wouldn't have been as believable as she was convincing playing Calamity Jane in THE PALEFACE (1948) opposite Bob Hope. Russell does have one duet with Frankie from separate beds in separate apartments divided by a wall, but the best moment musically goes to Frankie and Groucho walking happily down the street together singing the catchy tune of "It's Only Money," even with the obvious rear projection backdrop.

In true fashion, Groucho gathers the most attention with his funny lines while Sinatra and Russell carry on the plot with their fair quota of laughs. The screenplay also allows an amusing in-joke worth mentioning where a policeman on a hand radio giving his description report of Johnny Dalton "resembling Frank Sinatra." There are also character types, namely Frank Orth (Mr. Kofer, the Landlord); Howard Freeman (R.B. Pulsifer); Ida Moore (The Sewing Room Supervisor); and Harry Hayden, who all help provide DOUBLE DYNAMITE with some amusing moments during its 81 minutes of screen time.

Formerly presented on American Movie Classics prior to 2000, DOUBLE DYNAMITE can be seen on Turner Classic Movies, or obtained through an out of print VHS purchase on E-bay at a higher amount over its normal price. Why not? It's only money!. (**1/2)
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I've seen his recommendations and their excellent! He probably wrote them himself!
kapelusznik1825 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS**** The film "Double Dynamite" was released just before Frank Sinatra's break-out movie "From here to Insanity-Eternity" that eventually saved his fledgling both singing and acting career and made him the entertainment icon that he was to become. In the film Sinatra plays a $42.50 a week bank teller Johnny Dalton who can barley make ends meet who's girlfriend fellow bank teller the well endowed, in the bra department, Mildred "Mibs" Goodhue-played by Jand Russell-who's getting a bit sick and tired of waiting for him to ask her to marry her and plans to get involved with the boss' son stuck up and full of himself Bob Puilser Jr.,Don McGuire.

It's when Johnny saves big time bookie "Hot Horse" Harris,Nestor Palva, from being beaten to a pulp by a couple of hoods working for his competition he invites Johhny to his gambling den and placed a couple of bets for him that ended up with Johnny winning some $60,000.00 on the ponies. It just happens that back at the bank where Johnny and "Mibs" work the same amount of cash is missing with Johnny possibly being the #1 suspect in the crime. It's here where Johnny's good friend singing waiter and all around BS artist Emile J. Keck, played by Groucho Marks taking time off from his TV show "You Bet your Life", steps in and things are never the same again.

***SPOILERS**** It soon turns out that it was "Mibs" not Johnny who's short $75,000.00 in her bank stock and is arrested for bank fraud. That's until Emile has her adding machine checked out finding out that it over-counted what she handed out to her customers and under counted what she had left. this settled the matter and had Johnny soon tie the knot with "Mibs" and have Emile invited to the wedding as the best man. It was really Groucho Marks who was the star of the movie sealing every scene, even those with Miss Russell and her two bazooka's, that he was in. As for Frank Sinatra he did in fact get a chance to sing a number of songs, one a duet with Jane Russell, in the movie but his voice wasn't the same as it was back in his "Bobbie Sox" glory days in the 1940's. It wasn't until his next movie as Maggio in "From Here to Insanity-Eternity" that restarted his career and got him his one and only Academy Award as well as the fame the was soon to follow.
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Double Dynamite
dukeakasmudge23 June 2016
Groucho Marx & Frank Sinatra together in a movie? Why have I not heard of Double Dynamite before?! When I saw this movie come on TV today, I had to see it & it did not disappoint.From start to finish, I enjoyed every moment of it.Jane Russell, Groucho Marx & Frank Sinatra had chemistry & you could feel it.This is the 1st movie I've ever seen The Marx Brothers not together & the only thing missing from this movie was Harpo & Chico.How perfect would it have been if The Marx Brothers & Frank Sinatra were in Double Dynamite together?! I think this movie would've been WAY more known than what it is.Double Dynamite is a seriously underrated movie & should be well known.It's a shame it's not.If you ever come across Double Dynamite then I'd tell you to give it a watch.It's certainly worth it
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"The girl, caucasian, brown hair and eyes. Height 5 -7, weight 135 pounds... extremely well distributed."
bensonmum25 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Johnny (Frank Sinatra) and Mibs (Jane Russell) are bank tellers who would like to marry, but money gets in the way. Quite by chance, Johnny saves a mysterious big-time gambler and is rewarded with $60,000. As luck would have it, at the exact same moment, a large bank outage is discovered. How can Johnny prove the money is really his and stay out of jail when he doesn't even know the name of the mane who gave it to him?

I'd call Double Dynamite harmless enough with a couple of moments of comedy that rise to a level that makes the whole thing slightly above average. The comedy bits come from Groucho Marx. I've never really cared much for the post-Marx Bros' Grouch (and I'm including You Bet Your Life). Most of Groucho's later work is a shadow of what he did early in his career. But here, he has a few moments that are very nearly laugh-out-loud funny. The scenes where he poses as a millionaire and entertains the bank president are nicely written and staged.

Other than Groucho, the rest of the movie is pretty routine. Sinatra is too milk-toast and Russell can't act. The musical numbers aren't overly memorable and are so infrequent they don't really fit with the rest of the film. Double Dynamite does feature a strong supporting cast including a favorite of mine, Nestor Paiva. The ending is reasonably entertaining. The discovery of the missing bank money is actually clever.

Overall, a 6/10 from me.
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A Light-hearted Comedy That Could Have Used More Music
atlasmb3 December 2015
Released by Howard Hughes three years after its filming, "Double Dynamite" is a pleasing comedy starring Jane Russell as Mibs Goodhue, Groucho Marx as Emile J. Keck, and Frank Sinatra as Johnny Dalton.

The crux of the story is a coincidence--the disappearance of $60,000 from a bank and Dalton winning $60,000 at the track. He can't spend his winnings without alerting the suspicions of the authorities.

The film features a couple of very enjoyable tunes by Jule Stine and Sammy Cahn that leave the viewer wanting more.

Except for Russell's portrayal of her character being tipsy, she does a fine job. Groucho is his usual incorrigible self and Sinatra is charming. The three of them make the most of this small film.
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Frankie Meets The Boys
Bill Slocum17 October 2014
It's quite a pairing, though not the one the producers had in mind with their title: Icons Frank Sinatra and Groucho Marx, together in a get-rich-quick farce that is rather amusing despite a plot thinner than Groucho's forelock.

Actually, the title "Double Dynamite" was a single entendre meant to highlight the presence of busty co-star Jane Russell. She's Mibs, a bank teller put off at her co-worker boyfriend Johnny (Sinatra) always crying poor when she wants to talk marriage. Alas, when Johnny falls into bigtime mobster money, she thinks he's stolen it from the bank. Groucho is a waiter who offers to help the lovebirds find a safe nest – across the border.

"You are in a barrel of rice with your mouth sewn up," says the waiter.

From the Sinatra books I've read, I came to watch "Double Dynamite" with low expectations. It was made right in the middle of his commercial nadir, when he joked that only process servers wanted his autograph. "Double D" is sometimes described as the "Mama Will Bark" of his acting career, so it was a pleasant surprise for me to be so entertained by the result.

Sinatra is amiably clueless as the straight-living beau, unwittingly turned into a high-stakes roller after helping out a grateful gangster who forces Johnny to accept his gratitude – or else: "What's the matter, don't you like money?" The only thing funnier than Sinatra made uncomfortable by his close proximity to gangsters is one made uncomfortable by booze and gambling, but Frank pulls off this atypical character rather well.

Director Irving Cummings and his creative team invest the film with a high-spirited, anything-goes quality that helps make for a fun 80 minutes. Groucho's slumming – heck, I guess even Jane was here – but the results are pleasant and sometimes cleverly subversive, as when we meet the CEO of Johnny and Miggs' bank, a guy so important he knows nothing of what goes on there.

Groucho even has fun with one of Sinatra's signature songs, when Johnny takes him to see where the gamblers hang out only to discover instead a shirt store staffed by middle-aged women. "It's witchcraft!" he cries.

There are only three musical numbers in the film, the third being a reprise of "It's Only Money," which tells us "The nicest people we know/Are the people who get their faces on dough." Sinatra and Russell also duet on a number that suits both of them well, the lightly croony "Kisses And Tears." Russell plays mousy so well here it seems a shame God made her such a vixen.

There is a nifty plot twist near the end of the film, and a lot of moments throughout for Groucho to show off his impeccable comic timing – "I've got a horse going in the third so fast that he'll win the second" is the kind of okay line he turns to gold. The script isn't Preston Sturges, but I laughed more here than I did watching "Sullivan's Travels."

All in all, "Double Dynamite" may be a case of rewarding low expectations. I had them, and enjoyed myself. But I think it'll prove solid entertainment even if you've been warned it's pretty good.
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Very tough viewing.
MartinHafer10 October 2009
I tried watching this film with my wife and oldest daughter, but after a while they get pretty nasty--insisting I turn off "that stupid film". Since I have a much higher tolerance for bad, I decided to finish watching it a few days later. Well, after slogging through the film, I could see why this film sat on the shelf for three years before it was ultimately released--it just wasn't funny and occasionally it grated on you. Truly this was a bad film--even with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Groucho Marx in the film.

The movie begins with Sinatra walking down the street and seeing some guys beating up another guy. He intervenes and to show his appreciation, the victim tells him to "come with me". They enter an innocent enough looking place...that ends up being a front for a gambling operation. His appreciation then entailed putting $1000 on a "sure thing" horse--which won. So far, so good. But, when the gambler puts the winnings on the next two races (two more "sure things") and the money is now $60,000, Sinatra is pretty happy--even though up until then he insisted he hated gambling and just wanted to be let go back to work (it was his lunch hour). When he does go back to work eventually, he hears that the bank is missing $75,000 and he's afraid to tell anyone that he's won--lest they think his new-found wealth was stolen by him since he is a teller.

After this interesting but impossible to believe beginning, the film starts to bog down. Most of this is because Sinatra and Jane Russell aren't really well cast--they aren't especially good at comedy. And, by pairing them with Groucho (who is really wild and funny), the whole mixture just doesn't work. It seems fake and very, very forced. And for the next hour, lots of kookiness occurs until finally, thankfully, the whole thing is over and everyone lives happily ever after.

Overall, a huge misfire. I was almost tempted to give the film a 2, but at least Groucho is watchable in a rather obnoxious role. Dull and stupid--not a great formula for success.
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Double Dynamite **1/2 Just Doesn't Add Up
edwagreen3 August 2006
Silly Sinatra, Jane Russell and Groucho Marx 1951 vehicle.

Groucho's brothers were really missing here.

Jane Russell talks in such a churlish way. She is really annoying to listen to. Her one drunken scene is funny.

By the way, was it the bank owner's son who was the embezzler or was it just a wayward machine? This is never really answered.

Sinatra needed to do more singing in this film.

It's just too coincidental that as he wins all the money, he and Russell will obviously come under suspicion when the money from the bank is stolen. Whatever happened to those bookies who gave him the favorable tip? What happened to the mugs who tried to beat up the head mobster? These questions really should have been answered.
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Three Stars Wasted in Tepid Comedy: Musical Comedy Without Either
museumofdave10 March 2013
Deadly. Jane Russell, Frank Sinatra and Groucho: how anybody could assemble three such talented people and do almost nothing of value with them singly or together boggles the mind; they look as if they are waiting in a Motel 6 lobby for paychecks.

Although he didn't direct this film, Howard Hughes was a force behind much of it, hence the title, which refers mainly to his lady friend Russell's well-advertised physical attributes--that's about the level of humor here, given the year 1951. The great Groucho looks tired, worn-out and put upon, and Frank sings his big number to a blank wall while lying in bed; he and Groucho have a weird musical number together that is completely forgettable, as is the tepid plot--it isn't a real stinker, but for early Frank, rent the zippy STEP LIVELY, which is really a delight, a farce full of charm and fun, and for Jane Russell at her best, rent GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES or one of the crime noir she made with Robert Mitchum.

Groucho Marx is better in almost anything you can find, and was just waiting around for his quiz show "You Bet Your Life;" any five minutes of of that is better than all of this. I am usually not such a curmudgeon with early films, but this one never achieves lift-off.
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Triple Fizzle
wes-connors7 August 2007
The three stars - Frank Sinatra, Jane Russell, and Groucho Marx - make the film interesting and enjoyable (if you like them). Everything else is routine. At one point, when Mr. Marx is discovered smoking a cigar in Mr. Sinatra's bathtub, the movie threatens to become surreal. This scene could not have happened in this movie; it violates the structure of the film up to that point... but, if the film had stayed with that "possible-only-in-a-Marx-Brothers" situation, it might have become something other than routine. And, of course, I can't pass up a "Merry XMas, Groucho!" (...which I didn't catch Ms. Russell or Mr. Sinatra wishing!) Hey, it would have made me laugh.

***** Double Dynamite (12/25/51) Irving Cummings ~ Frank Sinatra, Jane Russell, Groucho Marx
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B Movie - Criminal Misuse of Talent
Man9920427 June 2016
What were they thinking?

Groucho, Frank Sinatra and Jane Russell had some of the most distinctive personalities in Hollywood. All three of these performers are plonked into a generic B movie which makes little to no use of their distinctive talents. Any generic "Hollywood types" could have handled these roles.

Imagine Sinatra playing a meek bank teller with no hope for the future, and no sex appeal. Imagine Jane Russell playing a demure, yes demure, old maid. Imagine Groucho playing a millionaire/Italian Waiter who apparently does not notice Jane Russell's two ...greatest assets.

The plot is bland, incredibly bland, and totally preposterous. By the time the mystery of the missing bank funds is discovered you really no longer care.

The fact that this movie was filmed in 1948 and not even released for three years, until 1951, shows what the Studio thought of the film.

There is really only one reason to see this film. If you are a fan of the three lead actors it is worth seeing. Folks who are not fans of the cast... well, there are far better B movies to watch...
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Cinematic Amnesia
dalehoustman21 May 2016
I watched this film with a close friend who is also very interested in the history and art of film, and even given the usually beneficial aspect of a shared viewing, this is a film which one forgets even as they are watching it. Basically nothing of interest happens, Jane Russell is wasted, Frank Sinatra is no help, and only Groucho manages to get off a meager handful of scenes worth noting, even though the writing is sub-par at best. Jane is a particularly interesting case: a woman whose best roles are sexy and tough as nails is here reduced to a rather prim and mundane character. And even the expectation of a few good songs is not met, even though both Frank and Jane (and even Groucho) are known to deliver in this area. A film only worth watching if you're a completionist of some sort. Very lackluster
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Provocative title more to do with female lead than with plot.
mark.waltz24 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The double dynamite of the title obviously has to do more with the ample figure of Jane Russell than the triple dynamic stars. This isn't helped by the fact that Old Blue Eyes himself was on a career slump as far as film was concerned after the failure of "The Kissing Bandit" and his listing as box office poison even after several hit films with Gene Kelly. Toss in Groucho Marxx as a wise cracking waiter who motivates the plot more than the younger stars do.

Nestor Paiva adds amusement as the comical gangster Frankie Boy befriends in a get rich quick scheme. A few pleasant songs are tossed in, most memorably "It's Only Money", sung by the stars on a realistic big city set. The result of this film is innocuous fun, but its like a salad for lunch It leaves you craving more. Sinatra has a nice drunk scene, and Russell's attempts to be alluring yet innocent are made more noticeable by the femme fatale roles she was playing the same year this came out, making it obvious that this had been held up from release for several years.
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