Tony Rome, a tough Miami PI living on a houseboat, is hired by a local millionaire to find jewelry stolen from his daughter, and in the process has several encounters with local hoods as well as the Miami Beach PD.
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Tony Rome is an ex-cop turned private eye in Miami Beach. For $200 he returns a young woman to her father's house after she passes out in a seedy hotel, and he keeps the hotel's name out of it. Trouble is, she's missing a diamond pin, and tough guys show up at Tony's boat looking for it. When the pin does turn up, it's fake, so the girl's father, a wealthy builder, hires Tony to find out what happened to the real stones. Bodies pile up, Tony suspects the builder's trophy wife, and he's also looking for a mysterious guy named Nimmo who used to date Ann Archer, a stunning redhead Tony meets at the builder's. Can Tony sort it out before too many die, and what about Ann? Written by
"Tony Rome" is a 1960's update of the classic 1940's private eye / film noir formula, which works out rather well. It is largely a plot and dialogue driven film, and luckily both elements deliver: the plot is appropriately convoluted and twisted but still followable, and the dialogue is sharp, snappy and sometimes very funny ("Oh, I get it. She's the mother and you're the grandmother" or ""First Diana hires me, then her father hires me, and now you wanna hire me. If you had a bigger family I could retire!"). Sinatra plays the private detective role with a well-judged mixture of seriousness and humor, cynicism and ethics, toughness and fatigue. Jill St. John begins as an independent, smart character, just like her more famous role in the Bond outing "Diamonds Are Forever"; the (welcome) difference is that in "Tony Rome" she stays that way to the end. The rest of the cast is solid. The Miami locations are well-used; they're not just background, they give the film its own character. Even if it's not the most exciting thriller of its decade or anything, I would still recommend "Tony Rome" to any Frank Sinatra / mystery fans. (**1/2)
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