REVIEW: Lady In Cement (1968) - ManlyMovie

REVIEW: Lady In Cement (1968)


‘She’s one blonde I know didn’t have more fun’

*spoiler alert*

Ex-Miami cop turned private detective, Tony Rome (Frank Sinatra) encounters mobsters, girls in micro-minis and burlesque shows in this nifty little mystery.

We first see Rome, playing cards aboard his rusty fishing boat and looking for some sunken Spanish treasure. As Rome scuba dives, he is startled by the nude corpse of a voluptuous young blonde, floating upright among the seaweeds, her feet bound in cement.

After calling the coast guard, Rome goes back to his houseboat, where he runs his detective agency from. He immediately gets a message from a potential new client, Gronsky, a big mountain of a man, who hires him to find a woman named Sondra Lomax.

Taking on the new client, Rome goes to Sondra’s last whereabouts, Jilly’s, a bar with go-go dancers in skimpy bikinis. The owner of the bar, Danny Yale, claims she worked for him, but hasn’t seen her since. Yale tells Rome she was at a party held by socialite Kit Forrest (Raquel Welch). Attempting to interview Kit, Rome is stonewalled by her ex-mobster neighbors, Al Mungar and his son Paul.

Rome soon gets caught up in a maelstrom of murder, manipulation and blackmail.

Tony Rome is reminiscent of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser mysteries. Both are very witty and full of snappy one liners. The movie is an interesting look at pre-Mariel boatlift Miami, before the flood of migrants irrevocably changed South Florida. This is best chronicled in the non-fiction bestseller, Miami Babylon by Gerald Posner. Despite some strong points, the film suffers from an out of sync score which doesn’t fit the action on screen. Furthermore, Sinatra is an unconvincing love interest for the much younger Welch. Nevertheless, you can’t fault a film for cheekily ending with a close-up shot of Welch bending over in see-through white jeans.



  1. jim

    September 11, 2016 at 2:28 am

    OK…let’s not lose the run of ourselves here. Frank Sinatra is cool….. and he is perfect casting as private eye Tony Rome (his second outing in the role). . .. and there is some good tough guy patter… but…… the film is spoiled by a silly swinging sixties larkiness which degenerates to the level of bad sitcom..The tone of the thing is just all wrong…….Worth seeing once for fans of Ole Blue Eyes but it’s one of many wasted opportunities in Frank’s later career when it was obvious he was more interested in pissing about with his mates rather than doing good work. It was the weakest of the private cycle which hit the big screen at the end of the sixties ( see The Moving Target with Paul Newman ,New Face In Hell with George Peppard or Marlowe with James Garner ) but none of these come close to the classic hardboiled private detective cinema of Bogart & co in the forties..It was left to 1970’s television to create the last great private eye role : that was James Garner in The Rockford Files….The best episodes of Rockford are as good as it gets …and no wonder . Writersproducers on the show included Leigh Brackett (who worked with Bogart on The Big Sleep in the forties) as well as David (Sopranos) Chase and the very influential Roy Huggins ..Rockford was the last word on private eyes.There haven’t really been that many since….

    • ColonelBobi

      September 11, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      I’m a big fan of Marlowe, James Garner was effortlessly cool in that role. Best scene is Bruce Lee’s cameo trashing Marlowe’s office in a kung-fu frenzy!

      • jim

        September 11, 2016 at 1:29 pm

        I like it too…though today it looks less like Raymond Chandler and more like a dry run for Rockford..