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Tony Rome is a Miami based detective who while diving in the ocean finds the body of a young woman. He is hired by Gronsky to find her killer. Tony has to sift through a stack of suspects, plus trying to elude the police. Written by
While playing tag with a pair of sharks Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome discovers the body of a woman with cement overshoes at the bottom of the ocean. As he says it was obvious someone did not want this body to be discovered. Which begins the tale of Sinatra's second Tony Rome film Lady In Cement.
Sinatra as Rome is still living the good life on his boat and betting whatever he does earn on horses. He still has a good in with the Miami Police in the person of Richard Conte as Lieutenant Santini, but the in only goes so far as we see when Sinatra is framed for a murder and Conte has to go after his good friend. Of course in a rather long chase sequence toward the end of the film Frank does get the better of Conte and half the Miami PD.
In order to appreciate Lady In Cement and Tony Rome you have to really dig Sinatra's whole hipster, Rat Pack shtick from the times. If you don't both films will leave you cold. But Lady In Cement was far worse in that Frank attacked the nascent gay liberation movement with a few well chosen imitation lisps mocking the gay characters in the film. After the Stonewall Rebellion a lot of establishment figures even in the entertainment world mocked the movement and Frank Sinatra was no exception. Interesting because in The Detective Sinatra played a detective who got a coerced confession of a gay suspect in the murder of a gay man and then when evidence showed New York had executed the wrong man took it upon himself to get justice applied rightly.
A few in jokes for wannabe swingers abound in Lady In Cement, the strip club where the deceased woman worked was called Jilly's after Sinatra favorite eatery in New York. And at one point Frank remarks to leading lady Raquel Welch that he 'once knew a broad who collected bull fighters' a reference to former Mrs. Sinatra, Ava Gardner. I've got to wonder what Ava must have thought of that.
Even more important how did Richard Deacon who was a closeted gay man and had a small part in the film must have felt about some of Sinatra's lines in the script?
Still the smarmy lisps of mockery really have made Lady In Cement not wear well over the years. Definitely for die-hard Sinatra fans.
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