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Strictly Dynamite (1934)

Passed | | Comedy, Music | 11 May 1934 (USA)
A struggling writer finds success writing scripts for a radio comic at the expense of his high-brow ambitions.


Elliott Nugent (uncredited)


Maurine Dallas Watkins (screen play) (as Maureen Watkins), Ralph Spence (screen play) | 4 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jimmy Durante ... Moxie Straight
Lupe Velez ... Vera Mendez
Norman Foster ... Nick Montgomery
William Gargan ... George Ross
Marian Nixon ... Sylvia Montgomery
Eugene Pallette ... Sourwood Sam
Sterling Holloway ... Elmer Fleming
Minna Gombell ... Miss Le Seur
Leila Bennett ... Miss Mary Hoffman
Franklin Pangborn ... Mr. Bailey
Berton Churchill ... Mr. Rivers
Irene Franklin ... Mrs. Figg
Jackie Searl ... Robin Figg (as Jackie Searle)
Stanley Fields ... Pussy
Tom Kennedy ... Junior


A struggling writer finds success writing scripts for a radio comic at the expense of his high-brow ambitions.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He runs the gamut of commotion in a drama that exposes the secret love life of a radio comic. (Print Ad-Rochester Evening Journal, ((Rochester NY)) 9 June 1934) See more »


Comedy | Music


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Jimmy Durante and Lupe Velez were borrowed from MGM and Norman Foster was borrowed from Fox for this film. See more »


When meeting Moxie, Robin replaces his hat on his head twice between shots after getting slapped and kicked by his mother. See more »


Georgie: Oh, get a gag man here by three o'clock. I don't care who it is, just as long as Moxie don't know him.
Miss LaSeur: Oh, are we handling Moxie now?
Georgie: No. But, we will be if I...
Miss LaSeur: If I get a gag writer by three o'clock.
See more »


References Little Women (1933) See more »


Hot Pattata
Written and Sung by Jimmy Durante
See more »

User Reviews

Ha cha cha cha
9 February 2018 | by gbill-74877See all my reviews

This is a small film with a pretty simple plot, but I found it enjoyable because of its stars, Jimmy Durante and Lupe Velez. Durante is a throwback to the vaudeville era, pre-Hollywood, and he cracks so many one-liners and malapropisms that you'll have to pay close attention to pick them all up. It was too bad the broadcast I watched didn't have close captioning! He's larger than life, (and has a shnozz that's certainly larger than life hehe), and it's fun to see perform his whole shtick, including the ha-cha-cha-cha.

I like to see Lupe Velez in films in part because of the diversity she brings, but also because she's so animated and fun to watch. She plays Durante's girlfriend and sidekick on his radio show. The radio show has a couple of very nice moments, starting with a delightful musical performance by The Mills Brothers at the beginning of the film, which was probably my favorite part (and even though Durante and Velez also both sing tunes). In a later scene, we see how the sound effect of a storm are created in a fairly elaborate set to the side of the performers and orchestra.

The movie is not really about that, though. The gist of the story is that Durante hires a new writer (Norman Foster), who takes the job after some nudging from his wife (Marian Nixon). Foster is an aspiring serious author who doesn't know all that much about comedy, but with the help of an agent (William Gargan) promises to deliver lines which are "strictly dynamite." Things get complicated when Foster begins having an affair with Velez.

Most of the film is pretty tame, but there is some pre-code banter and suggestion, and aside from the adultery, little lines like Durante asking the agent, "do you get 10% of her too?", referring to Nixon. Nixon and Velez are a study in contrasts, and nowhere is this more evident than when Nixon begins trying to start an affair of her own with the agent. She encourages him to kiss her in the taxi a few times, and while she's certainly kissable and he's interested, sparks don't fly for her. Cut to Velez in a cab with Foster, bubbly and laughing, asking the driver to take them to Atlantic City, and then pulling Foster over so they can make out. In her first scene with Foster, she tells him she can do a great Mae West impersonation as she caresses his face, hinting at where her intentions are. In another scene, she wears a pretty wild dress, one with ribbed metallic detail that almost make her look like she has robot arms. I just love seeing things like that in these old films.

There are some annoying bits, such as the acts who try to see Foster in his office once he's hit it big. Even with this filler, the story is brief at 71 minutes, and not all that original. There were enough cute little bits to make it interesting and entertaining though.

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Release Date:

11 May 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Strictly Dynamite See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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