AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Double Dynamite
Alternate Title: It's Only Money
Director: Irving Cummings (Dir)
Release Date:   Dec 1951
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 25 Dec 1951
Production Date:   22 Nov--mid-Dec 1948
Duration (in mins):   80
Duration (in feet):   7,241
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Cast:   Jane Russell (Mildred Goodhew)  
    Groucho Marx (Emil Keck)  
    Frank Sinatra (Johnny Dalton)  
    Don McGuire (Bob Pulsifer)  
    Howard Freeman (R. B. Pulsifer, Sr.)  
    Nestor Paiva (Hot Horse Harris)  
    Frank Orth (Mr. Kofer)  
    Harry Hayden (J. L. McKissack)  
    William Edmunds (Baganucci)  
    Russ Thorson (Tailman)  
    Joe Devlin (Frankie Boy)  
    Lou Nova (Max)  
    Benny Burt (Waiter)  
    Al Murphy (Waiter)  
    Bill Snyder (Wire service man)  
    Claire Du Brey (Hatchet-faced lady)  
    Kermit Kegley (Goon)  
    Harry Kingston (Goon)  
    Charles Coleman (Santa Claus)  
    Virgil Johansen (Santa Claus)  
    Ida Moore (Little old lady)  
    William Bailey (Bank guard)  
    George Chandler (Messenger)  
    Hal K. Dawson (Mr. Hartman)  
    Jean De Briac (Maitre d')  
    Jack Chefe (Chef)  
    Jim Nolan (Detective)  
    Lee Phelps (Detective)  
    Lillian West (Hotel maid)  
    Dickie Derrel (Boy)  
    Charles Sullivan (Sergeant)  
    Harold Goodwin (Lieutenant)  
    Bill Erwin    
    Charles Regan    
    Dick Gordon    
    Mike Lally    
    Jack Jahries    
    Gil Perkins    
    Jack Gargan    

Summary: Two days before Christmas, after his boss, J. L. McKissack, refuses his request for a raise, Fidelity Trust bank teller Johnny Dalton argues over lunch with his longtime girl friend, Mildred Goodhew, about their marriage plans. Mildred, who is also a teller, is tired of waiting, but Johnny insists he cannot marry until he is making more money. When waiter Emil Keck urges the conservative Johnny to "live dangerously," a frustrated Mildred applauds the advice and storms out of the restaurant. Moments later, as Johnny is returning to the bank, he sees two thugs beating up a third man and comes to the rescue. The beating victim, Hot Horse Harris, is so grateful to Johnny that he takes him to his betting parlor in the back of a shirt store and gives him a $1,000 bill. Johnny protests the gift, but before he can reject the money, Hot Horse bets it on a horse race. Johnny wins $5,000, then impulsively allows Hot Horse to bet the whole amount on another race. That bet also pays off, and before long, Johnny has accumulated $60,000 in winnings, $40,000 of which Hot Horse pays him immediately. The now-flush Johnny rushes to see Emil, who assumes that Johnny took his advice and turned to crime. Emil nevertheless helps Johnny buy a car and mink coat for Mildred. At the bank, meanwhile, a still angry Mildred accepts a date from Bob Pulsifer, the bank president's playboy son. When Johnny finally returns to work, he finds McKissack informing the bank staff about a $75,000 embezzlement, which bond detectives are already investigating. Fearing that he will be implicated, Johnny leaves in a panic and takes Emil to the shirt shop to collect his remaining $20,000. To his dismay, the bookmaking operation has disappeared, adding to Emil's doubts. The two then go to Johnny's apartment, which is separated from Mildred's by a thin wall. Overhearing the delivery of Mildred's mink coat, Johnny and Emil dismantle a door that connects the two apartments, and as Mildred is showering, Johnny slips in and removes the coat from its Christmas box. He and Emil then try to stuff the money into Johnny's shower head, but succeed only in flooding the apartment. After the apartment manager informs Johnny that a detective has been asking questions about him, Emil offers to deposit the money under his name in an out-of-the-way bank. Mildred, meanwhile, has gotten drunk during her date with Bob, and while he is dropping her off, he finds the discarded fur coat tag on her floor and becomes suspicious. The next day, Emil arrives at Fidelity Trust posing as a wealthy prospective depositer. As part of his ploy, Emil insists on speaking with Bob's semi-retired father R. B. and the banker is so impressed that he later requests to meet Emil in order to solicit a charitable donation. While Emil rushes to the posh hotel where he is supposed to be residing, one of Hot Horse's men, dressed as Santa Claus, leaves $20,000 on Johnny's doorstep. Mildred finds it first, however, and after someone from the fur store calls her about the returned coat, she concludes that Johnny is the embezzler. Mildred tracks Johnny to Emil's hotel suite and demands an explanation. Johnny reveals all, but Mildred refuses to believe his story, and Johnny stomps off. Emil, however, convinces Mildred that Johnny embezzled only to please her. Guilt-ridden, Mildred takes the $20,000 to Bob and offers to "do anything," including marrying him, if he does not press charges against Johnny. Horrified by the thought of marriage, Bob instead calls the police as Mildred drives off in his car. Mildred then picks up Johnny and, having forgiven each other, they decide to marry that night. The police stop them first, however, and, to Johnny's astonishment, arrest Mildred for the embezzling. R. B. later explains to Johnny that while the police deduced the source of his cash, an audit of the bank books showed that the missing money came from Mildred's account. Still posing as a millionaire, Emil insists that they search the bank on Mildred's behalf, and they soon discover that Mildred's adding machine is defective. R. B. then accidentally sets off the alarm, summoning the police, who refuse to believe that R. B. owns the bank and try to arrest him. After Bob shows up, R. B. finally proves his identity, and Mildred and Johnny are cleared of all suspicion. Later, a just-married Johnny and Mildred pose for pictures at Emil's restaurant while declaring to a man with a notepad their plans to spend their winnings buying an orange ranch, which Emil is to help them run. After the man reveals he is from the Internal Revenue Service, the trio dashes off in their new car. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Irving Cummings (Dir)
  James Lane (Asst dir)
Producer: Irving Cummings Jr. (Prod)
Writer: Melville Shavelson (Scr)
  Harry Crane (Addl dial)
  Leo Rosten (Story)
  Mannie Manheim (Based on a character created by)
Photography: Robert de Grasse (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino (Art dir)
  Feild M. Gray (Art dir)
Film Editor: Harry Marker (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Darrell Silvera (Set dec)
  Harley Miller (Set dec)
Music: Leigh Harline (Mus score)
  C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
Sound: Phil Brigandi (Sd)
  Clem Portman (Sd)
Make Up: Gordon Bau (Makeup supv)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "It's Only Money" and "Kisses and Tears," words and music by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn.
Composer: Sammy Cahn
  Jule Styne

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 21/12/1951 dd/mm/yyyy LP1433

PCA NO: 13541
Physical Properties: Sd: RCA Sound System
  b&w:

 
Genre: Comedy
Sub-Genre: with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Bank tellers
  Embezzlement
  Engagements
  False accusations
  Money
  Waiters
 
Subjects (Minor): Apartments
  Bank presidents
  Bookies
  Christmas
  Detectives
  Drunkenness
  Fathers and sons
  Fights
  Fur
  Gratitude
  Hotels
  Impersonation and imposture
  Los Angeles (CA)
  Mistaken identity
  Playboys
  Police
  Restaurants
  Romantic rivalry
  Santa Claus
  United States. Internal Revenue Service
  Wagers

Note: The working title of this film was It's Only Money . It was made in late 1948, shortly after Howard Hughes took over as head of RKO. According to modern sources, Hughes was displeased with the picture and shelved it until late 1951, when he came up with an advertising campaign that emphasized the participation of his protégée, Jane Russell. Modern sources also note that Frank Sinatra originally was to receive top billing in the onscreen credits, but because Hughes did not like Sinatra, whose career was in a down-turn at the time, his billing was bumped to third place. In the film, Sinatra sings duets with both Marx and Russell. Mannie Manheim, who is credited with creating the character on which the picture's story was based, was one of Marx's gag writers. Although an Aug 1946 HR news item reported that Twentieth Century-Fox had purchased a story by Quentin Reynolds entitled "It's Only Money," that story bears no relation to this film. Modern sources credit Stanley Donen as choreographer. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   17 Nov 1951.   
Daily Variety   7 Nov 51   p. 3.
Film Daily   13 Nov 51   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Nov 48   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Nov 48   p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Dec 48   p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Dec 48   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Nov 51   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   10 Nov 51   p. 1101.
New York Times   26 Dec 51   p. 19.
Variety   7 Nov 51   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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