Tag Archives: Frank Sinatra

Double Dynamite

1951

directed by: Irving Cummings

The longest hiatus. But we’re back with a whimper! It’ll be fun to get back into the writing game and watching old movies in the Warner Archive with my review hat.  So, after all this time, here goes:

Double Dynamite(!) is a 1951 cash-grab sort, made for unknown reasons, starring a 3rd-billed actor movie with some guy named Frank Sinatra.  Also, old-man Groucho is in this and Jane Russell.  Interestingly enough, this was filmed in 1948.  Which makes the following true: Russell was massively famous as more of a pin-up type with no real acting chops, Groucho is 58 and phoning in the phone-in, which brings us to Frank. Now 1950-1952 would be the valley, nadir, anti-climax of Frank’s reign in both music and movies.   And oooooh-boy does it show here.

So, in summary, you should expect a movie that sat on the shelf for years with no actors and/or people of demand to be poor. And it was. And it was.  When we were watching this, I was trying to think of a modern day casting with similar career trajectories. And this is it: Imagine a movie with Drake as the leading man, Blake Lively as the one-dimensional love interest and Tim Allen as a waiter. That movie would be bad! But it would probably make $50 million at the box office with terrible reviews. Such is life I suppose.

Double Dynamite(!) [an awful title] tells the story of 2 bank tellers, tellering at a bank and struggling to get by. Thing is though, none of the economics or math of this movie makes any sense.  It seemed like both Russell and Sinatra were doing okay at the bank, getting by, working to someday move up and on to bigger and brighter things. Hell, they could afford to eat out at the Italian Restaurant where Groucho knew them on a first name basis. Couldn’t be that destitute.  Anyways, literally the rest of the movie can be summed up in an elevator pitch.  Sinatra saves this guy from being beat up in an alley for some reason and the guy turns out to be a big bookie for horse races.  As a thank you, the bookie gives Frank a reward which he forces him for some reason to use on fixed races, making his earnings the equivalent of $600,000 in 2017!  For saving a guy being harassed in the street! Man.  There’s a few Frank songs. That’s literally the movie.  Oh and there’s a malfunction on one of the calculators at the bank, so they think some money is missing for a while, but then discover the glitch. So … there’s no problem.  Groucho is in this movie as a waiter for no reason.  The punchline at the end is about taxes! It’s like being sad that a briefcase of money fell out of the sky and the only reason you knew it was a briefcase of money is because some of it flew away as it was falling. “Well, I could have had more of that money if it didn’t fly away 😦 ”

Oh and the bank owner’s son goes out on a date with Jane Russell even though she’s engaged to Frank.  Which is totally normal.

Underrated actors: No one.

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The Tender Trap

1955

directed by: Charles Walters

Debbie movie #14 of 37

Oh boy Frank Sinatra! Meh. He was 40 when this movie came out and Debbie was 23.  Not cool MGM. Debbie plays Julie Gillis (not to be confused with Dobie Gillis, another Max Shulman written piece, but that’s another post).  Julie plays an up and coming theater actress, who is dead set on getting married and having babies.  She’s got a timeline.  Very 1950’s.  But then again, very 21st century.  Meanwhile Frank is an unabashed playboy theater agent, living in a gigantic NYC penthouse.  A real stretch on the acting chops Frank.  So these women are coming and going from the place all day, which becomes the running gag the entire movie.  His family-man best friend, Joe, from back home (Indianapolis) comes out to visit, sort of a Hall Pass (but that’s another post).  Joe (David Wayne) gets caught up in the lifestyle and falls for one of Frank’s ‘ho’s’ , who happens to be sophisticated and play Violin on NBC (brilliantly played by Celeste Holm).  So you (and I) might be wondering where Debbie…err. Julie fits into all this?  Well its pretty obvious if you’ve been reading thusfar.  Frank falls for Julie, but freaks out at the thought of commitment, so he jumps on Celeste Holm because she’s getting attached to Joe.  Hijinks ensue, and Frank and Julie end up together at the end (after a hiatus of a year where Joe goes back home, and Celeste Holm marries some dude she meets in an elevator).   However, all the warning signs are there that they’re not supposed to be together.  When there’s a dull moment between them, they both freeze up and constantly need to have excitement or it seems like they’re resenting each other.  It was better than Bundle of Joy, but not by much, and not because of Frank.

Underrated Actors: David Wayne as disillusioned Joe; Celeste Holm as Sylvia