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Tony Rome [DVD]
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Classic thriller starring Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome, a tough Miami PI living on a houseboat who is hired by a local millionaire to find a diamond pin stolen from his daughter. In the process of recovering the jewellery, he has several encounters with local hoods as well as the Miami Beach PD.
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Tony Rome (Frank Sinatra) is a not very good and not entirely serious private detective operating in Miami. He is a former police officer with a major chip on his shoulder - albeit, rather than being really angry at the world he is instead slightly (or maybe not so slightly?) depressed, which causes him to engage in self-destructive behaviour, namely a gambling addiction large like from here to Mars... He still however keeps in touch with his old partner, Santini (Richard Conte), who stayed on the force and became a lieutenant. Eternal bachelor, Tony Rome lives alone on a boat named "Straight Pass" (I admit I don't understand what that name means...) One day, he catches a short, but well paid gig - bring discreetly home a young girl from good family, who was found morbidly drunk in a hotel. The money, he gets it for NOT saying to anybody the name of the hotel... This deceptively simple job will of course land him in an ocean of trouble... And I will say nothing more about the story.
This film uses all the characters, techniques and tricks from old "film noirs" from 40s and 50s, but adds to it some flavours from 60s - we meet young junkies and heroine dealers, strippers are shown openly in night clubs, some characters are more or less openly homosexual (including an unpleasant drug dealer but also a surprisingly interesting exotic dancer), there are references to racial problems in the South, etc.
Sinatra was already 52 in this film and other than age, alcohol and more generally night life left already a mark on his face - but all of this actually helps him portray a badly-burnt-by-life, slowly aging private eye. The character he plays, although flawed, is actually a rather likeable half-loser. Tony Rome is not against squeezing some extra money from rich client with some creative description of his activities, but on another hand he refuses to engage in anything openly unethical (albeit sometimes reluctantly...). He leads his investigations using considerable wit and some deceptions and when he runs in trouble he gets away by ruse rather than by sheer force, as he is definitely not a very scary guy (Sinatra was barely 170 cm tall and of rather light build). If facing long odds, he will retreat or even surrender - but if forced to fight for his dear life, he still can use this small 0.38 rather well... But his greatest talent is in his tongue - he can talk most people into almost anything and himself out of almost anything.
There is a lot of humour in this film, which, under the thin veneer of realism and severity doesn't take itself very seriously and by moments goes even a little bit into a kind of self-parody. Dialogs are the greatest treasure of this film, together with the amazing shapes of the main female character, Ann Archer, played by Jill St. John, the sculpturally beautiful redhead who was going four years later to be one of the most interesting James Bond girls, in "Diamonds are forever". The presence of Gena Rowlands and Sue Lyon (of "Lolita" fame) add also a lot to this movie. And don't miss the opening song by none else than Sinatra's own daughter, Nancy.
Last but not least, any feminist exposed to this film will scream in pain and die instantly...)))
I found this film a mightily entertaining, clever and well done thing and I am very glad that I bought and watched it. The sequel, "Lady in cement", is on the same excellent level by the way and it is a good idea to watch this film first, as some characters return in the second film. I am so keeping this DVD. ENJOY!
Tony Rome available (to my knowledge) on DVD for the first time and in a crisp & clear transfer, like it was made today. Sinatra is at his best being cool and charming.
The DVD also has English SDH subtitles, which isn't listed above here. The cover can be switched if you want it to fit the Fox Studio Classics series, just switch it inside out.
Man what a fun film..They sure don't make 'm like this anymore...
Theme song sung by Frank's daughter Nancy.
Sex, prostitution, drunks, drugs, fraud, theft, blackmail and corruption. Yep. Shows nothing really changes......
Sinatra is pretty good as the Miami PI with Jill St.John, Gena Rowlands, Simon Oakland, Sue Lyon.
Snappy 60s dialogue. Slightly flat conclusion but otherwise quite enjoyable crime thriller.
Options: Play/language and scene selection/Theatrical trailer/onscreen info on Fox movies.
Tony Rome is my favourite of the 2 films (Lady in Cement being its lesser sequel), with its witty one liners, its a convoluted hard boiled detective yarn with twists, turns and random characters (Rocky Graziano!). Good fun with much to love and Sinatra hits his mark perfectly here: cool, urbane and, well, just Frank....
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