Lady in Cement

Lady in Cement is a 1968 American neo-noir[2] detective film, directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Frank Sinatra, Raquel Welch, Dan Blocker, Martin Gabel and Richard Conte.

Lady in Cement
Promotional film poster
Directed byGordon Douglas
Produced byAaron Rosenberg
Screenplay byJack Guss
Marvin H. Albert
Based onThe Lady in Cement
1961 novel
by Marvin H. Albert
StarringFrank Sinatra
Raquel Welch
Richard Conte
Music byHugo Montenegro
CinematographyJoseph F. Biroc
Edited byRobert L. Simpson
Arcola Pictures
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • November 20, 1968 (1968-11-20)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States

A sequel to the 1967 film Tony Rome, and based on the novel by Marvin H. Albert, Lady in Cement was released on November 20, 1968.


While diving off the Miami coast seeking one of the eleven fabled Spanish Galleons sunk in 1591, private investigator Tony Rome (Frank Sinatra) discovers a dead woman, her feet encased in cement, at the bottom of the ocean.

Rome reports this to Lieutenant Dave Santini (Richard Conte) and thinks nothing more of the incident, until Waldo Gronski (Dan Blocker) hires him to find a missing woman, Sandra Lomax. Gronski has little in the way of affluence, so he allows Rome to pawn his watch to retain his services.

After investigating the local hotspots and picking up on a few names, Rome soon comes across Kit Forrester (Raquel Welch), whose party Sandra Lomax was supposed to have attended. Rome's talking to Forrester raises the ire of racketeer Al Mungar (Martin Gabel), a supposedly reformed gangster who looks after Kit’s interests.

Thinking there may be a connection between Lomax, Forrester and Mungar, Rome starts probing into their backgrounds and begins a romantic relationship with Kit. With both cops and crooks chasing him and the omnipresent Gronski breathing down his neck, Rome finds himself deep in a case which provides few answers.



The film was based on a novel published in 1961 which the New York Times called "ingenuous".[3]

Following the success of Tony Rome, Aaron Rosenberg hired Marvin Albert to adapt Cement for Sinatra. The actor made it after The Detective.[4] Raquel Welch's casting was announced in June 1967.[5]

Sammy Davis Jr was to have appeared in the film as the charter boat captain.[6] However Sinatra fell ill and filming was postponed for four weeks. Davis was replaced by Pat Henry in the final film. [7]

Dan Blocker was given time away from Bonanza to play his part. The movie gave an early role to Lainie Kazan.[8]

Welch later said she did not realise her character was an alcoholic until after filming wrapped. "I'm watching this movie and I'm thinking, 'What the hell has she got on?' At one point, I had this epiphany: 'Oh, she's an alcoholic!' I didn't know that. How could I miss that?... I think I was just so enamoured with Frank Sinatra, you know. He's hypnotic."[9]

Filming started in March 1968. Before and during filming, Sinatra would perform at the Fontainebleau in Miami over a six week period. Welch would go to watch him and found the experience so inspiring she determined to continue to perform to live audiences in her career.[10]


Box office

According to Fox records the film required $7,150,000 in rentals to break even and by 11 December 1970 had made $6,825,000 so made a loss to the studio.[11]

Critical reception

Opening to mixed reviews, Lady in Cement is generally considered to be a middling sequel to Tony Rome. Critic Roger Ebert gave faint praise in a generally scathing review by commenting: “In the movie's few good scenes, Sinatra once again painfully reminds us what a controlled, effective actor he is.” Variety noted that “Dan Blocker is excellent as a sympathetic heavy,” whilst John Maloney liked the “fresher script” and “sharp direction.”

DVD release

Lady on Cement was released on DVD on May 24, 2005 as part of a boxed set along with Tony Rome and The Detective, both also directed by Douglas. No bonus features were included.

See also


  1. Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p255
  2. Silver, Alain; Ward, Elizabeth; eds. (1992). Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style (3rd ed.). Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press. ISBN 0-87951-479-5
  3. By, A. B. (1961, Jun 04). Criminals at large. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  4. Martin, B. (1967, Jun 05). 'Caper' for faye dunaway. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  5. Dorothy Manners:. (1967, Jun 30). Raquel welch to costar with sinatra. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) Retrieved from
  6. Sammy davis to costar with sinatra. (1968, Jan 06). The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) Retrieved from
  7. Harford, M. (1968, Mar 06). 'SWEET CHARITY' ROLE. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  8. Rose, B. (1968, Jun 08). Miss kazan weighs love-career choice. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  9. Wenn. (2017, April 10). Raquel Welch: 'I was awful in Sinatra film' Retrieved April 15, 2017, from XPOSÉ.ie.
  10. By, G. C. (1982, May 30). Raquel welch: 'I like a character with backbone'. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  11. Silverman, Stephen M (1988). The Fox that got away : the last days of the Zanuck dynasty at Twentieth Century-Fox. L. Stuart. p. 327.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.