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'Lady in Cement' *** 062405
The Work = ***
Sure, 'Lady in Cement' has its problems. The opening is too long and Sinatra has a sidekick in it that is supposed to offer some comic relief. Instead he is just really annoying. Then there is the whole treatment of homosexuals in the film. They are really just used for villainous comic relief.
Still, potentially offensive and annoying small roles aside, I enjoyed the film. Sinatra carries it, using his charisma to make the character watchable. This time Sinatra is surrounded by at least a few memorable characters. Lainie Kazan (who would go on to play some comedic motherly roles in 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' and 'The Big Hit',) makes a brief appearance memorable.
It’s a shame she isn’t in the film more, she looks sexy and delivers the sometimes silly dialogue well. Raquel Welch also works, (granted she isn’t the actress Kazan is,) she looks the part and fits the role. The best supporting role is easily Dan Blocker as the mob tuff Gronsky. He was a house of a man who sold his dialogue and was fun to watch onscreen.
Interestingly Blocker might have gone on to a larger career but sadly past away before he could. Director Robert Altman had worked with Blocker on the TV series 'Bonanza' and was going to cast him in his detective flic' 'The Long Goodbye' in 1972. When Blocker passed away, the role went to Sterling Hayden and the film was dedicated to Blocker. Even though I like Hayden in 'The Long Goodbye' I would love to see what Blocker would have done with the role.
Anyhew’, sorry about the tangent. Back to 'Lady in Cement'. After a poor opening the film gets better and even though there were moments that I didn’t like, there was enough that I enjoyed to make me recommend the film. It is interesting to note that some brief nudity (the titled 'Lady in Cement' is nekked’) and some fairly brief violence qualifies the film for an R rating which seems ludicrous. Actually, like 'Tony Rome', I wish this film had gone darker with the comedy and a little bit more extreme with the violence. Hey, then if nothing else it could have earned the R rating.
DVD = ***
All Together = ***
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