Nick Montgomery (Norman Foster) is a sophisticated poet living in New York City with his wife, Sylvia (Marian Nixon). Sophisticated and intelligent though he is, it’s been hard for Nick to make a living off of his writing.
He was reviewing books to make ends meet, but he lost that job. Luckily, a new opportunity may be on the horizon when radio comic Moxie Slaight (Jimmy Durante) decides to hire a new writer.
Though he’s no fan of Moxie’s style of comedy, Nick manages to land the gig. His new job complicates his life as he catches the eye of Moxie’s partner Vera (Lupe Velez), and gives up his academic airs in the interest of making a buck.
Strictly Dynamite was directed by Elliott Nugent. The screenplay was written by Maurine Watkins and Ralph Spence, with additional dialogue by Milton Raison and Jack Harvey, from a story by Robert T. Colwell and Robert A. Simon.
Simply put, if you don’t like Jimmy Durante, you won’t like this film. Much of it relies on his raspy-voiced, fairly cheesy jokes. I usually find him kind of endearing and have happily watched many of his films, but even I was a little worn out on him by the end of this one!
Less exhausting to watch is the thoroughly underrated Marian Nixon. She’s sweet in her role. Her on-screen husband, Norman Foster, can also be amusing in his journey from nose-in-the-air intellectual to “it” boy of the NYC comedy scene.
No serious drama comes from the couple’s conflict, as he “sells out” and catches the attention of another woman, upsetting his wife. None of the jokes are really laugh-out-loud either, so despite the efforts of the cast, the film can be no more than decent at best.
There are some fun musical performances to tune in for. The Mills Brothers provide several fun songs (including “Swing It, Sister”). Lupe Velez also gets some time behind the mic, singing a romantic song to Foster.
Strictly Dynamite held my attention okay and had some bright spots in the form of Nixon and its musical performances, but it became a tiresome watch by the end, and just didn’t have much to offer in laughs or plot. Not recommended.