|Lady in Cement|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gordon Douglas|
|Produced by||Aaron Rosenberg|
|Screenplay by||Marvin H. Albert|
and Jack Guss
|Based on||the novel by Marvin H. Albert|
and Dan Blocker
|Music by||Hugo Montenegro|
|Cinematography||Joseph Biroc, A.S.C.|
|Edited by||Robert Simpson, A.C.E.|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
Lady in Cement is a 1968 American neo-noir detective film, directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Frank Sinatra, Raquel Welch, Richard Conte, Martin Gabel, Lainie Kazan, Pat Henry, and Dan Blocker.
While diving off the Miami coast seeking one of the 11 fabled Spanish galleons sunk in 1591, private investigator Tony Rome (Sinatra) discovers a dead woman, her feet encased in cement (concrete), at the bottom of the ocean.
Rome reports this to Lieutenant Dave Santini (Conte) and thinks nothing more of the incident, until Waldo Gronski (Blocker) hires him to find a missing woman, Sandra Lomax. Gronski has little money, so he allows Rome to pawn his watch to retain his services.
After investigating the local hotspots and picking up on a few names, Rome soon comes across Kit Forrest (Raquel Welch), whose party Sandra Lomax was supposed to have attended. Rome's talking to Forrest raises the ire of racketeer Al Mungar (Gabel), a supposedly reformed gangster who looks after Kit's interests.
Thinking a connection may exist between Lomax, Forrest, and Mungar, Rome starts probing into their backgrounds and begins a romantic relationship with Kit. With both cops and crooks chasing him and the omnipresent Gronski breathing down his neck, Rome finds himself deep in a case that provides few answers.
- Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome
- Raquel Welch as Kit Forrest
- Richard Conte as Lt. Santini
- Martin Gabel as Al Mungar
- Lainie Kazan as Maria Baretto
- Pat Henry as Rubin
- Steve Peck as Paul Mungar
- Virginia Wood as Audrey
- Richard Deacon as Arnie Sherwin
- Frank Raiter as Danny Yale
- Peter Hock as Frenchy
- Alex Stevens as Shev
- Christine Todd as Sandra Lomax
- Mac Robbins as Sidney, the Organizer
- Tommy Uhlar as the Kid – Tighe Santini
- Ray Baumel as Paco
- Pauly Dash as McComb
- Andy Jarrell as the Pool Boy
- Dan Blocker as Gronsky
The film was based on a novel published in 1961, which the New York Times called "ingenuous".
Sammy Davis Jr was to have appeared in the film as the charter-boat captain. Sinatra fell ill, though, and filming was postponed for four weeks. Davis was replaced by Pat Henry in the final film.
Dan Blocker was given time away from Bonanza to play his part. The movie gave an early role to Lainie Kazan.
Welch later said she did not realize her character was an alcoholic until after filming wrapped. "I'm watching this movie and I'm thinking, 'What the hell has she got on?' At one point, I had this epiphany: 'Oh, she's an alcoholic!' I didn't know that. How could I miss that?... I think I was just so enamored with Frank Sinatra, you know. He's hypnotic."
Filming started in March 1968. Before and during filming, Sinatra was performing at the Fontainebleau in Miami over a six-week period. Welch went to watch him, and found the experience so inspiring, she determined to continue to perform to live audiences in her career.
According to Fox records, the film required $7,150,000 in rentals to break even, and by 11 December 1970, had made $6,825,000, which made a loss for the studio.
Opening to mixed reviews, Lady in Cement is generally considered to be a middling sequel to Tony Rome. Critic Roger Ebert gave faint praise in a generally scathing review by commenting: "In the movie's few good scenes, Sinatra once again painfully reminds us what a controlled, effective actor he is." Variety noted that "Dan Blocker is excellent as a sympathetic heavy", while John Maloney liked the "fresher script" and "sharp direction."
Lady In Cement was released on DVD on May 24, 2005, as part of a boxed set along with Tony Rome and The Detective, both also directed by Douglas. No bonus features were included.
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