'Lady in Cement' *** 062405
DVD Review (1968)

The Work = ***
'Lady in Cement' is the sequel to the Frank Sinatra vehicle, 'Tony Rome'. Director Gordon Douglas is back and once again this film is a sort of mix between a 50’s crime drama and a late swinging 60’s comedy. The mix sometimes works and sometimes falls flat on its face. I am going to break with the other reviews I’ve read of 'Lady in Cement' and say that I enjoyed this film about as much as I enjoyed 'Tony Rome'.

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 = ***

The Look
Like 'Tony Rome' Fox gives 'Lady in Cement' a good transfer. The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen, in an aspect ration of 2.35:1.

The Sound
We get an English stereo track and stereo tracks in French and Spanish. I only listened to the English track and it sounded good to me. Nothing remarkable but pretty good considering the age.

The Bonus
Again, like 'Tony Rome', Fox dropped the ball here. The DVD has some a trailer for the film and some TV spots. There are some trailers for movies from Fox that have Raquel Welch in them. There also a trailer for 'Tony Rome' and one for 'The Detective'.

All Together = ***
Ok, so what can I say? I enjoyed 'Lady in Cement' as much as 'Tony Rome'. Does it have flaws? Yep, but so does 'Tony Rome'. I still enjoyed it though, largely because of some of the supporting actors like Kazan and Blocker. Sinatra does his thing well in this too and there were enough entertaining moments to make me over look the bad ones. Recommended but if you are worried I say rent it first.


'Lady in Cement' Links:


'Tony Rome' Review

'The Detective' Review

Copyright 2005 - 2012 Nate Bundy. All rights reserved.