Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tony Goes A-Roamin’

Had he not died back in 1998, today would have been singer-actor Frank Sinatra’s 95th birthday. To celebrate, we’ve embedded (above) the trailer for his 1967 detective film, Tony Rome. That picture was adapted for the screen from Marvin H. Albert’s 1960 novel, Miami Mayhem, the first of three novels featuring Miami private eye Rome.

In his original review of the movie, critic Roger Ebert wrote:
Sinatra is no Bogart, which won’t come as news, and Tony Rome is no Maltese Falcon. But it plays the detective game by the rules, and that’s something.

In well-made detective movies, you have a plot, a real, honest-to-goodness plot. No gimmicks. No neo-Nazi villains in underwater pads. No exploding cigarette lighters. Just a detective, who is a hard-working, hard-drinking guy who has been unlucky with dames and plays the horses and has a lot of cynical dialog.

This guy gets involved in a seemingly innocent job, like tracing somebody’s lost husband or escorting a drunken daughter home to her millionaire daddy. Then it turns out that something valuable is missing. It can be a Maltese falcon or a diamond ring or anything just so it’s something that (quavering violin in echo chamber) Men Will Kill For.

Then you have to have intrigue and physical danger and a few surprising plot twists. You have to have a sympathetic character or two: really straight people who are trying to do the best thing, but their past is against them. Then you have to have the detective playing it tough and cynical and getting knocked around, but occasionally revealing a glimmer of human warmth in his heart.

Tony Rome does this, and to call it a typical detective movie is not an insult.
It has been a long while since I last watched Tony Rome (with its theme song by Sinatra’s daughter, Nancy), but the “classic film blog,” Out of the Past, celebrates this movie with some “pretty darn cool” stills.

Sinatra went on to make one more Rome picture, Lady In Cement (1968). It co-starred Raquel Welch and Dan Blocker (of Bonanza fame), but was, unfortunately, a rip-off of Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely, with further suggestions of John D. MacDonald’s 1966 Travis McGee novel, Darker Than Amber.

READ MORE:Tony Rome,” by Marty McKee (Johnny LaRue’s
Crane Shot).

1 comment:

David Cranmer said...

TONY ROME and THE DETECTIVE were two fine Sinatra vehicles.

And according to Wikipedia: A 1979 sequel (to THE DETECTIVE), NOTHING LASTS FOREVER, was later made into the 1988 film DIE HARD.