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Dynamite (1949)

Approved | | Drama | 18 January 1949 (USA)
Gunner Peterson is a veteran dynamite man working for Jake and is romantically interested in Jake's daughter Mary. Johnny Brown, son of Nellie Brown who operates a boarding house, finds ... See full summary »


William H. Pine


Milton Raison (original screenplay)




Complete credited cast:
William Gargan ... 'Gunner' Peterson
Virginia Welles ... Mary
Richard Crane ... Johnny Brown
Irving Bacon ... Jake
Douglass Dumbrille ... Hank Gibbons
Mary Newton Mary Newton ... Nellie Brown
Frank Ferguson ... 'Hard Rock' Mason


Gunner Peterson is a veteran dynamite man working for Jake and is romantically interested in Jake's daughter Mary. Johnny Brown, son of Nellie Brown who operates a boarding house, finds college too tame after his stint with a demolition squad in the army, and decides to quit. Getting a job with Jake, he is soon resented by Gunner when he tries to introduce some new methods and also starts showing an interest in Mary. A truck loaded with dynamite gets away from Hard Rock Mason and the loss of the truck causes Jake to have to borrow money from Nellie to keep his business going. Hard Rock is killed in a blast which Gunner decides was his fault, since he wouldn't listen to Johnny's ideas about how to set the charge, and he leaves. Later, when Johnny is testing charges, there is an unexpected blast and he is trapped in the tunnel. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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RECKLESS POWDER MONKEYS....LAUGHING AT DEATH...FOR A WOMAN'S KISS!(original print ad-all caps) See more »




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Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

User Reviews

Tidy little B-movie about rock demolition crew
24 April 2014 | by BrianDanaCampSee all my reviews

In the 1940s, the Pine-Thomas production unit (releasing through Paramount) specialized in low-budget black-and-white adventures about the military, aviation, and various rugged occupations with titles such as ALASKA HIGHWAY, POWER DIVE, FLYING BLIND, WILDCAT, AERIAL GUNNER, MINESWEEPER, THE NAVY WAY, HIGH EXPLOSIVE, TIMBER QUEEN, HIGH POWERED, SWAMP FIRE and HOT CARGO. Most of these films mixed shots of the actors in cramped studio interiors with stock footage of actual military maneuvers or industrial activity. DYNAMITE (1949), was the last of the industry-themed series and something of a throwback to the early 1940s as the Pine-Thomas team soon moved into medium-budget Technicolor adventures set in the old west or in more exotic climes, as indicated by such titles as EL PASO, HONG KONG, TRIPOLI, JAMAICA RUN, CARIBBEAN, TROPIC ZONE, and SANGAREE.

DYNAMITE focuses on a four-man/one-woman contracting team who lay the groundwork for bridge and tunnel construction by dynamiting through solid rock in advance of the actual construction crews. It follows the standard formula of these films with tensions on the job between an older worker and a younger man and rivalry over a woman between the same. Here, the older, more experienced hand is "Gunner" Peterson, played by William Gargan, and his rival is a smoother, college-educated newcomer, Johnny, played by Richard Crane. Virginia Welles plays Mary, the daughter of the crew supervisor, Jake (Irving Bacon), and it's obvious she thinks of Gunner, whom she's known all her life, as more of a big brother than a potential mate, and is clearly more enamored of the dashing and aggressive Johnny. The remaining crew member is old-timer Hard Rock (Frank Ferguson). Eventually, a dispute on the job between Gunner and Johnny leads to tragedy.

There seems to be less stock footage and more actual location footage involving the cast members than was usual for these films. The caves they film in look a lot bigger than the quarries found in Bronson Canyon in Hollywood's Griffith Park, the usual go-to location when caves were needed for a shot. There's even a bonafide action scene that qualifies as something of a car and truck chase as one vehicle's occupants try to rescue the driver of a truck with loose brakes.

The most significant element of this film for me was the casting of character actors Irving Bacon and Frank Ferguson as crew members. These men normally played much smaller parts, with Bacon usually cast as soda jerks, proprietors or storekeepers or, more famously, in the long-running Blondie series as the mailman on Dagwood's street, and Ferguson often cast as a reporter in a crowd or as various officials or men who sat behind desks and counters. Here they are active participants in the dynamiting work and appear in scenes throughout most or all of the film. For them, these must have been very meaty roles indeed. Also, Douglas Dumbrille plays the construction supervisor who gives them a job and is on site during all their work as well. He often played villains, usually sitting behind a desk, so this was a chance for him to get out into the field and play an active—and sympathetic--role as well. Of the younger cast members, Richard Crane deserves singling out for going on to play TV's Rocky Jones, Space Ranger.

DYNAMITE was the last of five features directed by co-producer William H. Pine himself. (I've seen two of the others, AERIAL GUNNER and SWAMP FIRE.) As Pine and his partner, William C. Thomas, nicknamed the "Dollar Bills," moved into higher-budget features from 1949 on, the directing was most often assigned to Lewis R. Foster or Edward Ludwig, although occasional name directors did one feature apiece for them, including Joseph Losey, Nicholas Ray and Phil Karlson.

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Release Date:

18 January 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Enterrado en vida See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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