Saturday, November 03, 2007

Lady in Cement

Back in the 1960s Frank Sinatra did a pair a movies where he played a hard-boiled private eye named Tony Rome. I bought both movies on DVD a year or two ago when they were on sale. Today I watched 1968's Lady in Cement, the second of the films. following up the eponymous Tony Rome. I remember seeing this movie on TV a couple of times when I was a kid.
The plot is a bit murky. While scuba diving on a treasure hunting trip off the coast of Miami, Tony finds a the nude body of a recently murdered woman on the ocean floor, her feet encased in a block of cement. Backtracking the dead girl involves Tony with a local mob boss, a very large smalltime hood (Dan Blocker of Bonanza) and a rich society dame with a drinking problem. (Raquel Welch) There are fistfights and gun battles and a car chase or two. Near the end Frank stands around a lot and explains the plot.
The films biggest flaw is probably that Frank can't stop being Frank. Anyone who's seen Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate or From Here to Eternity knows that the man could act. But in this film he just can't stop mugging for the camera and delivering his lines like he's on stage at the Sands with Dean and Sammy. It makes it tough to take the plot seriously. The previous film was played a bit more seriously and is considerably better.
On another note, I had forgotten just how stunning Raquel Welch was early in her career. She can't act to save her life, but she was an amazingly beautiful young woman.
The weirdest thing was just looking at Miami in 1968. I remember when Florida looked like that. I remember that world. The buildings and the cars. All those massive Fords and Chevrolets. The men in their suits and the women in their bright dresses. The guys with their slick backed hair (a little dab will do ya) and the women with their hair teased to heights undreamed of and held in place with copious amounts of hairspray. It looked like the budget was blown on Raquel's false eyelashes alone. Ah, the sixties.
Anyway, I had fun with the movie. I'm including the poster for Tony Rome with this post because it's a lot more cool than the one for Lady in Cement.

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