TONY ROME / LADY IN CEMENT (1967 / 1968) (BLU-RAY)
Company: Twilight Time
Starring: Frank Sinatra, Raquel Welch, Richard Conte, Simon Oakland, Sue Lyon, Gena Rowlands, Jill St. John, Dan Blocker, Martin Gabel, Lainie Kazan
My Review and Thoughts:
Tony Rome: 3.5 out of 5
Lady in Cement: 3 out of 5
Another wonderful Special Edition release by Twilight Time. Once again we adventure into a Frank Sinatra double feature. Twilight Time has released many of his films and now here we are again embracing a classic soul into the cinema world. This is a double feature of the Private I Tony Rome. Sinatra plays the character in both films.
Old Blue Eyes was an amazing singer, and even actor. He graced the cinema world with many wonderful examples of movies that stand out, and the many films he did with Director Gordon Douglas has been honored by Twilight Time Blu-ray. They not only released this double feature starring Blue eyes but also the wonderful film The Detective.
Directed by one of the coolest directors around, Gordon Douglas. Douglas was a killer at creating memorable pieces of cinema, and The Detective is a prime example of his expertise and craftsmanship of cinema and so is this double feature. Sadly, the movie world no longer has this movie genius, he passed in 1993, but thankfully we can return to his vast array of filmed perfection. Douglas directed many greats in so many different styles of cinema, from mystery, drama, sci-fi to everything in-between. From the 1954 sci-fi creature feature classic THEM! to the violent westerns like 1970’s Barquero. From comedy action like 1967’s In Like Flint, to the films starring Frank Sinatra, 1967’s Tony Rome and 1968’s Lady in Cement. Douglas knew how to create entertainment. The Detective is a prime example of that style that he so greatly owned. These two I am reviewing and also the Special Edition of The Detective by Twilight Time are all prime examples of what Gordon was about.
First up is the feature film Tony Rome. This is a crime drama, equally filled with mystery. This 1967 film was about a Private I named Tony Rome, played by Sinatra. Rome was a tough guy, living on a houseboat. One day he is hired by a millionaire who wants Tony to find expensive jewelry taken by the millionaire’s daughter. Now as you would guess this doesn’t really go smoothly. Tony runs into local hoods and also encounters the Miami Police department.
Next up is the 1968 Lady in Cement. This crime drama also mixes a little comedy into it. Once again Private I Tony Rome is smack dab in the middle of a case. As he is diving in the Ocean Tony has the unfortunate reality to run into a body of a women whose feet are encased in concrete blocks. So as any good Private I, Tony sets out to solve the murder of the woman.
There’s a ton of wonderful actors and actresses in both these films. The one and only beautiful and sexy Jill St. John. Always a treat to watch her perform. Also starring in both films is the one and only Richard Conte who really needs no introduction to film buffs. Starring in so many wonderful examples of film from 1939 all the way to 1975, unto his death at such a young age. 65 years old is too young. He was a multi-talented actor that shinned in any role he did, and the role of Lt. Dave Santini in both films is no different. The absolutely gorgeous and stunning Raquel Welch, who needs no write up. Anyone who calls themselves entertainment buffs already know who this wonderful soul is. Starring another fantastic stunning lady of cinema Gena Rowlands. Rowlands is an actress that blesses the screen with her presence in anything see does. Starting in 1954 and still working today. She is beautiful, graceful and has an expertise in front of the camera no matter how small the part or how big the part is.
Keep an eye out for one of my all-time personal favorites Simon Oakland. Oakland has been in so many wonderful films. Playing so many wonderful small and big parts throughout his career. He was both star of TV and feature films. From 1960’s Psycho, 1961’s West Side Story, 1968’s Bullitt, 1972’s Chato’s Land (which might I add Twilight Time has released on a Special Edition Blu-ray), 1973’s Emperor of the North (which might I add Twilight Time has released on a Special Edition Blu-ray). Many might remember him as Tony Vincenzo in the 1970’s classic television show Kolchak: The Night Stalker. He was just an all-around amazing performer. Another talented soul who died way to soon, 68 years ain’t long enough. Also keep an eye out for the beautiful Jeanne Cooper. Many will know her from her daytime soap opera fame as the character of Katherine Chancellor in her long character run in The Young and the Restless from 1973 to 2013. Sadly, she is no longer with us, but she always shines in any part, and it was great seeing her in Tony Rome.
Both of these films are based on Novels written by author and screenwriter Marvin H. Albert. Albert was a fantastic writer that adventured into the realms of Western and Crime, and twisting adventure. I guess one could say Albert was a Pulp type writer that gave, heroes and bad guys thick, fun, simple stories to grab the reader or watcher. He wrote some of my favorite Western novels which also became some of my favorite western films, such as The Law of Jake Wade (1958), Bullet for a Badman (1964) and my personal favorite 1966’s Duel at Diablo which the novel was titled Apache Rising.
Another fantastic experience that Twilight Time has given the movie loving world which is another prime example of a placing great care into quality transfers and Special Edition.
My Rating: 4 out of 5
Yet again Twilight Time has taken two older films and brought them to a new outlet of High Definition. The films have never looked any better. They sound spot on. I think one of the strongest points to these Twilight Time Special Editions is the reality and care that is put into these products. Vibrant color, crisp sound and equally crisp imagery.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1967/1968 / Color
110 MINUTES / 93 MINUTES
Tony Rome: NOT RATED, Lady in Cement: RATED PG
My Rating: 2 out of 5
Isolated Score Tracks (with some effects)
Billy May worked on both films Tony Rome and Lady in Cement. For Tony Rome as conductor and for Lady in Cement orchestrator. May is truly a gifted musician. In his life he won many amazing awards for his musical talent. Not only a composer, but played the trumpet, was a song writer, and an arranger of music. He like many musicians in the entertainment world worked on both TV and feature film projects. TV fame for the TV series Naked City, Green Hornet, Batman, Mod Squad, Emergency! CHiPs.
For Lady in Cement the music is composed by Hugo Montenegro. Many will mainly know him as the man who recorded the theme song for the classic one of a kind western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Always a memorable theme. Also Hugo worked on television in a great style composing the themes to such TV shows as The Partridge Family, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Outcasts. He died at 55 years old. Cannot imagine what other amazing and great music that would have been composed by him. This was a wonderful bonus feature.
Audio Commentary on Tony Rome with Film Historians Eddy Friedfeld, Anthony Latino, Lee Pfeiffer, and Paul Scrabo. A fantastic listen. I always, as I have stated in the past, love to hear other views, thoughts and history on the film. Audio Commentaries can be jam packed with information, and this one is.
Original Theatrical Trailers
The all-important booklet insert. These always contain stills, original poster art, in this one, it's for both movies. And is always a wonderful experience to read film historian Julie Kirgo’s impressive thoughts on the films.
Yet again this is a perfect Special Edition of two films brought to Blu-ray for the first time, in a high quality reality that any movie lover could really enjoy. Amazing acting, direction. Twilight Time brought out another product worthy to praise, share and enjoy Blu-ray.
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