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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:

Doube Fun! Double Joy! Double Everything! (original lobby card) 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

Final film of director Irving Cummings. See more »

Quotes

Johnny Dalton: Emile, you what they've done here, they've changed the whole place around. Honest, they did. Just three hours ago, this was a horse room and these ladies were men.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inside the Marx Brothers (2003) 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

 
What to Look For
1 August 2006 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

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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