'Tony Rome' *** 062305
DVD Review (1967)
The Work = ***
In the late sixties Frank Sinatra worked with director Gordon Douglas to make three crime dramas. Too were more on the comedic side of things and the third attempted to be a gritty cop drama. In 'Tony Rome', (the first of the two more comedic pictures,) Sinatra plays the titled private detective. He lives on a houseboat, chaises women, and works for high class clientele.
'Tony Rome' is fun crime drama that more or less takes say 'The Maltese Falcon' and crosses it with sixties Sinatra culture. The result works for the most part and makes the film an entertaining flic’. Trouble is, it is not a terribly remarkable one. I suspect had the film possessed a few more action sequences or maybe gone a little bit darker with the humor and the violence it may have been more memorable.
As it is the film is good and Sinatra carries much of it with his charm and charisma. I think his attitude about filmmaking may have limited his film career. Supposedly he liked working with Douglas because he wouldn’t ask Sinatra to do many takes. I suspect Douglas was just a guy that Sinatra could always get his way with. Douglas is certainly not a bad director, he is simply not a very remarkable one. To be fair though, who knows the budget and circumstances that he had to contend with making this film.
The supporting cast is ok but the trouble is outside of Sinatra there isn’t anyone terribly memorable or charismatic. Gena Rowlands is good but her role is limited. Still everyone involved does what they can. 'Tony Rome' ends up being an entertaining film that Sinatra fans will probably dig.
DVD = ***
Fox gives 'Tony Rome' a good transfer. The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen, in an aspect ration of 2.35:1. The film looks very good, especially for its age.
We get an English mono, stereo and stereo tracks in French and Spanish. I only listened to the English mono and it sounded good to me. The dialogue, effects, and music were all crisp and easy to hear.
Here’s where Fox dropped the ball. The DVD has a bevy of trailers annnnnnd that’s it for features. Now I am glad they included some trailers but how about a commentary by one or more Sinatra biographers like the ones on some of Sam Peckinpah’s DVDs? How about some interviews with people who worked on the film or a commentary track by them? There are some trailers for movies from Fox that have Raquel Welch in them and there also a trailer for 'Tony Rome', 'Lady in Cement', and one for 'The Detective'.
All Together = ***
So it is not the most memorable film but it is fun and entertaining while it lasts. Sinatra shows he is a strong lead and helps to make the film enjoyable. Fans of this sort of thing will probably really like it. If you’re curious try a rental first. Recommended.
'Tony Rome' Links:
'Lady in Cement' Review
'The Detective' Review