Lady in Cement (1968)

93 mins | Melodrama | 8 November 1968

Director:

Gordon Douglas

Producer:

Aaron Rosenberg

Cinematographer:

Joseph Biroc

Editor:

Robert Simpson

Production Designer:

LeRoy Deane

Production Company:

Arcola--Millfield Productions
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HISTORY

Lady in Cement was the sequel to Tony Rome (1967, see entry); both films were based on Marvin H. Albert’s private detective novels written under the pen name “Anthony Rome.” In between the two Miami, FL-based "Tony Rome" movies, the same production team—Twentieth Century-Fox, producer Aaron Rosenberg, director Gordon Douglas, and actor Frank Sinatra—made another film, this one based in New York City, called The Detective (1968, see entry). A third Tony Rome film, based on another Anthony Rome novel called My Kind of Game, was planned, according to the 5 Jun 1967 LAT and 14 Jun 1967 Var, but never made.
       The 2 Jun 1967 DV announced that Albert would write the screenplay for his own novel, The Lady in Cement. Richard Breen, who scripted the earlier Tony Rome from Albert’s novel, had died in Feb 1967 before it went into production.
       As he did while filming Tony Rome in early 1967, Frank Sinatra performed nightly at the Fontainebleau Hotel’s La Ronde Room in Miami Beach, FL, while shooting Lady in Concrete during the day, the 18 Dec 1967 DV reported. He opened 7 Feb 1968 for “the longest nitery engagement of his career—six weeks,” with “two performances nightly, six days a week.” All filming would take place nearby in Miami and Miami Beach, FL, beginning 19 Feb 1968, according to the 17 Jan 1968 Var. To facilitate easy travel between Sinatra’s two jobs, the movie production converted the basement of the Fontainebleu into a film studio, where at least four ... More Less

Lady in Cement was the sequel to Tony Rome (1967, see entry); both films were based on Marvin H. Albert’s private detective novels written under the pen name “Anthony Rome.” In between the two Miami, FL-based "Tony Rome" movies, the same production team—Twentieth Century-Fox, producer Aaron Rosenberg, director Gordon Douglas, and actor Frank Sinatra—made another film, this one based in New York City, called The Detective (1968, see entry). A third Tony Rome film, based on another Anthony Rome novel called My Kind of Game, was planned, according to the 5 Jun 1967 LAT and 14 Jun 1967 Var, but never made.
       The 2 Jun 1967 DV announced that Albert would write the screenplay for his own novel, The Lady in Cement. Richard Breen, who scripted the earlier Tony Rome from Albert’s novel, had died in Feb 1967 before it went into production.
       As he did while filming Tony Rome in early 1967, Frank Sinatra performed nightly at the Fontainebleau Hotel’s La Ronde Room in Miami Beach, FL, while shooting Lady in Concrete during the day, the 18 Dec 1967 DV reported. He opened 7 Feb 1968 for “the longest nitery engagement of his career—six weeks,” with “two performances nightly, six days a week.” All filming would take place nearby in Miami and Miami Beach, FL, beginning 19 Feb 1968, according to the 17 Jan 1968 Var. To facilitate easy travel between Sinatra’s two jobs, the movie production converted the basement of the Fontainebleu into a film studio, where at least four sets were built, Aaron Rosenberg told the 21 Feb 1968 DV.
       Sammy Davis, Jr., who had co-starred with Sinatra in Gordon Douglas’s Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), was originally picked for the role of Tony Rome’s close friend and former partner, but bowed out due to other commitments, according to the 5 Feb 1968 DV. Sinatra gave the role to comedian Pat Henry, his opening act at the Fontainebleu. Los Angeles Rams football star Merlin Olsen also auditioned for a role, the 24 Jan 1968 Var noted, but was apparently not involved in the film.
       The 28 Feb 1968 Var mentioned that filming had begun two days earlier, after a delay caused by Sinatra’s bout with the flu, but according to a list of studio schedules in the 8 Mar 1968 DV, principal photography for Lady in Cement actually began on 4 Mar 1968.
       Articles in the 4 Mar 1968 DV and 6 Mar 1968 Var described a squabble between Twentieth Century-Fox and the Hialeah Park Race Track in Hialeah, FL. When Hialeah president Eugene Mori refused to allow Lady in Cement to be filmed there, the production moved to Gulfstream Park at Hallandale Beach, FL. Mori publicly criticized Gulfstream for hosting the film, saying: “We read the script of the movie, and it is a picture which portrays violence and underworld activity. We don’t feel the best image of racing would be served by having Hialeah, or any track, involved in such a movie.” The Gulfstream location scene was shot on 5 Mar 1968. A week earlier, the 29 Feb 1968 DV reported that 250 Florida schoolteachers, who were in the middle of a strike, were hired as extras to sit in Gulfstream’s stands behind Sinatra and actress Raquel Welch.
       Filming ended 5 Apr 1968, the 10 Apr 1968 Var reported.
       Comedian Joe E. Lewis was hired for a small part. Frank Sinatra had portrayed Lewis in the 1957 film biography The Joker Is Wild (see entry).
       In one scene, actor Dan Blocker’s character sat in a motel room watching the television show Bonanza, whose theme played on the soundtrack. Blocker, who portrayed “Hoss Cartright” on the popular program, was on hiatus during the Lady in Cement production. When Twentieth Century-Fox ran a full-page advertisement in the 6 Nov 1968 DV and other trade papers publicizing the film’s premiere that night at Hollywood, CA’s Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, it printed a photograph of Blocker manhandling Sinatra, with the words: “Hoss plays the heavy!”
       Critical reception was tepid. The 8 Nov 1968 LAT announced that the plot of Lady in Cement was “cumbersome without being rewardingly intricate,” and as with most sequels, “the law of diminishing returns is still in force.” The 21 Nov 1968 NYT called it such “a perfect blending of material with milieu that the movie’s extraordinary vulgarity and sloppiness can almost be cherished for themselves, like widescreen graffiti.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
2 Jun 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
18 Dec 1967
p. 11.
Daily Variety
5 Jan 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Feb 1968
p. 23.
Daily Variety
12 Feb 1968
p. 11.
Daily Variety
19 Feb 1968
p. 11.
Daily Variety
21 Feb 1968
p. 6.
Daily Variety
29 Feb 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Mar 1968
p. 3.
Daily Variety
8 Mar 1968
p. 12.
Daily Variety
6 Nov 1968
p. 3.
Daily Variety
6 Nov 1968
p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
5 Jun 1967
Section D, p. 25.
Los Angeles Times
8 Nov 1968
Section F, p. 13.
New York Times
21 Nov 1968
p. 41.
Variety
24 May 1967
p. 4.
Variety
14 Jun 1967
p. 11.
Variety
28 Dec 1967
p. 52.
Variety
14 Feb 1968
p. 53, 56.
Variety
17 Jan 1968
p. 18.
Variety
24 Jan 1968
p. 23.
Variety
28 Feb 1968
p. 20.
Variety
6 Mar 1968
p. 1.
Variety
10 Apr 1968
p. 2, 78.
Variety
10 Apr 1968
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Underwater seq staged by
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp & cond
Orch
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Mr. Sinatra's makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Asst to the prod
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Lady in Cement by Anthony Rome (Marvin H. Albert) (New York, 1961).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Lady in Cement
Release Date:
8 November 1968
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 6 November 1968
Los Angeles opening: 7 November 1968
New York opening: 20 November 1968
Production Date:
4 March--5 April 1968
Copyright Claimant:
Arcola--Millfield Productions
Copyright Date:
6 November 1968
Copyright Number:
LP36449
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
93
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While diving for sunken treasure off the Miami coast, private investigator Tony Rome discovers the freshly-dumped nude corpse of a blonde whose feet have been encased in cement. He flees to his boat to avoid sharks, and by the time authorities arrive to retrieve the body, her face is gone, and Tony is the only one who knows what she looked like. Following an autopsy, which reveals that the woman was murdered with a knife, a huge ex-convict, Waldo Gronsky, hires Tony to find out if the blonde is his missing girl friend, go-go dancer Sandra Lomax. Sandra's roommate, Maria Baretto, informs Tony that Sandra was last seen at a party given by heiress Kit Forrest, but Kit, an alcoholic, claims that she was too drunk at the party to remember anything. Kit's neighbor, ex-Mafia chief Al Mungar, warns Tony to leave Kit alone. Soon afterwards, Maria is murdered, and two of Mungar's hoods make an attempt on Gronsky's life. Unperturbed, Tony continues with his sleuthing. A sketch drawn by artist Arnie Sherwin proves that the dead woman is indeed Sandra, and Tony eventually learns that Kit and Sandra clashed over Mungar's son, Paul. Maria's homosexual boss, Danny Yale, is also found murdered, and the evidence indicates that Tony is the killer. Escaping from his old friendly enemy, Police Lieutenant Santini, Tony takes refuge in Kit's home. When Kit confesses that she awoke after her party and found a paperknife in her hand and Sandra's dead body at her feet, Tony suspects that Kit may also be the victim of a frameup. After forcing Gronsky to admit that he and Paul were partners in stealing some of the senior ... +


While diving for sunken treasure off the Miami coast, private investigator Tony Rome discovers the freshly-dumped nude corpse of a blonde whose feet have been encased in cement. He flees to his boat to avoid sharks, and by the time authorities arrive to retrieve the body, her face is gone, and Tony is the only one who knows what she looked like. Following an autopsy, which reveals that the woman was murdered with a knife, a huge ex-convict, Waldo Gronsky, hires Tony to find out if the blonde is his missing girl friend, go-go dancer Sandra Lomax. Sandra's roommate, Maria Baretto, informs Tony that Sandra was last seen at a party given by heiress Kit Forrest, but Kit, an alcoholic, claims that she was too drunk at the party to remember anything. Kit's neighbor, ex-Mafia chief Al Mungar, warns Tony to leave Kit alone. Soon afterwards, Maria is murdered, and two of Mungar's hoods make an attempt on Gronsky's life. Unperturbed, Tony continues with his sleuthing. A sketch drawn by artist Arnie Sherwin proves that the dead woman is indeed Sandra, and Tony eventually learns that Kit and Sandra clashed over Mungar's son, Paul. Maria's homosexual boss, Danny Yale, is also found murdered, and the evidence indicates that Tony is the killer. Escaping from his old friendly enemy, Police Lieutenant Santini, Tony takes refuge in Kit's home. When Kit confesses that she awoke after her party and found a paperknife in her hand and Sandra's dead body at her feet, Tony suspects that Kit may also be the victim of a frameup. After forcing Gronsky to admit that he and Paul were partners in stealing some of the senior Mungar's robbery proceeds, Tony realizes that Paul killed Sandra to get the money Gronsky had given her. Knowing that Kit's life is now in danger, Tony and Gronsky race to the Mungar residence and save her from being knifed by Paul. With the case resolved, Tony calls in Lieutenant Santini and leaves with Kit to search for sunken treasure. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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