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Film / Lady in Cement

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Lady in Cement is a 1968 neo-noir detective film, directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Frank Sinatra, Raquel Welch, and Dan Blocker. It is a sequel to the 1967 film Tony Rome.

While diving off in the Miami coast, private investigator Tony Rome (Sinatra) discovers a dead woman, her feet encased in cement, at the bottom of the ocean. He thinks of the incident as a random encounter, until Waldo Gronski (Blocker) hires him to find a missing woman, Sandra Lomax. Rome's subsequent questioning makes him come across Kit Forrester (Welch), a woman whose party Sandra Lomax was supposed to have attended, with whom Rome begins a romantic relationship. The situation leads Rome to delve deep into an investigation in which he finds almost no answers.

This film features examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • There are a few to Frank Sinatra:
      • Rome says that he knew a girl that used to date bullfighters, a reference to Sinatra's ex-wife Ava Gardner's affair with matador Luis Miguel Dominguín when filming The Barefoot Contessa (1954) in Spain.
      • As Rome is running from the police on the beach, a band playing Sinatra's song "You Make Me Feel So Young" can be heard.
    • When Rome walks into the room in the massage parlor where Gronski is, it's implied that Gronski is watching Bonanza (the audience never sees Gronski's TV screen, but the show's distinctive theme tune is clearly heard), where Gronski's actor Dan Blocker starred as Hoss Cartwright.
  • Bound and Gagged: After being discovered at the hotel, Tony leaves the pool boy gagged and bound to chair in the cabana.
  • Cement Shoes: Sandra Lomax's body is found with her feet encased in cement.
  • Disguised in Drag: Tony goes to meet his pal Rubin, who is a vice cop, while Rubin is undercover as a woman as bait for a mugger who is targeting hookers.
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous: Sandra Lomax is found nude, with camera angles being used to avoid showing explicit nudity.
  • Embarrassing First Name: When Tony Rome asks hulking bruiser Gronski his full name, Gronski replies "Waldo Gronski". When a disbelieving Rome questions "Waldo?", Gronski defensively replies "Waldo!" as if daring him to make something of it.
  • Frame-Up: Danny Yale is stabbed to death with a knife taken from Tony's boat, which has Tony's finderprints on the handle. Tony's Friend on the Force Lt. Santini tells Tony that he knows it is a frame-up, but he is still going to have to take him in.
  • Friend on the Force: Homicide detective Lt. Santini is a good friend of Tony's, and used to be Tony's partner when Tony was on the force.
  • Going by the Matchbook: A variation: going by the swizzle stick. Tony finds a cup full of swizzle sticks embossed "Jilly's" in Sandra's houseboat. Going to the club, he discovers it was where she worked.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Tony Rome is cynical but determined, has a prickly relationship with law enforcement, and tends to keep his cards close to his chest.
  • Hard Head: A cop slugs Gronski six or seven times over the back of the head with his pistol before he finally passes out.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: While escaping from the police, Tony sneaks into a party on a houseboat and then steals the motorboat tied to the back of the houseboat. It is never seen again after her gets away, although presumably it was returned to its owner once Tony had cleared his name.
  • Little Useless Gun: The Brute Grossin laughs when Tony Rome pulls a .38 on him: telling Rome that .38 isn't going to stop him. However, he backs down when a mook enters with a .45.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Raquel Welch as Kit Forrester, especially ther introductory scene of her in a bikini surfacing sexily from her pool.
  • Pistol-Whipping: A cop slugs Gronski six or seven times over the back of the head with his pistol before he finally passes out.
  • Pool Scene: Tony attempts to lose the pursuing cops by ducking through a luxury hotel. In doing so, he runs through the pool area and past a long line of bikini-clad extras sunbathing on lounges.
  • Sexy Surfacing Shot: Kit Forrester's first appearance in the film is her emerging from her pool in a skimpy bikini to find Tony Rome waiting for her on the side of the pool.
  • Shout-Out: When Rome gets in the taxi by the airport, on the side of the cab there is an advertisement for Sinatra's fellow Rat Pack member Dean Martin's restaurant on 79th Street Causeway.
  • Threatening Shark: Sharks start circling the scub-diving Tony just as he finds Sandra Lomax's corpse in her Cement Shoes.
  • Worst News Judgement Ever: A local TV station would never break into the broadcast of a national program (especially one like Daniel Boone, aimed at children and families) to announce the murder of the owner of a go-go club, as shown in the film.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Tony Rome is framed for the murder of Danny Yale. When Lt. Santini tries to arrest him, Tony escapes to clear his name. In doing so, he commits the follwing crimes: resisting arrest; assaulting a police officer; stealing a police vehicle; dangerous driving; false imprisonment (when the binds and gags the pool boy; and theft of a boat. The end of the movie shows him free with Kit, so it seems it was charged with none of these.