Tony Rome

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Tony Rome
Original one-sheet poster
Directed by Gordon Douglas
Produced by Aaron Rosenberg
Screenplay by Richard L. Breen
Based onMiami Mayhem
by Marvin Albert
Starring Frank Sinatra
Jill St. John
Richard Conte
Sue Lyon
Music by Lee Hazlewood (title song)
Billy May
Cinematography Joseph F. Biroc
Edited by Robert L. Simpson
Color process DeLuxe Color
Arcola Pictures
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release date
  • November 10, 1967 (1967-11-10)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$3.5 million [1]
Box office$4 million [2]

Tony Rome is a 1967 American neo-noir detective film directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Frank Sinatra, Jill St. John, Sue Lyon and Gena Rowlands. It was adapted from Marvin H. Albert's novel Miami Mayhem.


The story follows the adventures of Miami private investigator Tony Rome (Sinatra) in his quest to locate a missing diamond pin that belongs to a wealthy heiress.

A sequel, Lady in Cement , was made in 1968, again featuring Sinatra as Tony Rome, and co-starring Raquel Welch and Dan Blocker. Appearing in both films was Richard Conte as Miami police lieutenant Dave Santini.

Both films are examples of a late-1960s neo-noir trend that revived and updated the hard-boiled detective and police dramas of the 1940s. Other films in this genre include The Detective (1968), which also starred Sinatra, as well as Point Blank (1967), Bullitt (1968), Madigan (1968) and Marlowe (1969).

Sinatra had originally been considered for the lead role as the tough private eye in Harper (1966), but lost out to Paul Newman.

Tony Rome, The Detective and Lady in Cement were all directed by Gordon Douglas. The three films were packaged together in a DVD box set by 20th Century Fox in 2005. Douglas also directed Sinatra in Young at Heart (1954) and Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964).

Randy Newman is co-credited on a soundtrack song.


Tony Rome is an ex-cop turned private investigator who lives on a powerboat in Miami, Florida, called "The Straight Pass". This is a reference to the fact that Tony also has a gambling problem. He is asked by his former partner, Ralph Turpin (Robert J. Wilke), to take home a young woman who had been left unconscious in a hotel room.

The woman, Diana (née Kosterman) Pines (Sue Lyon), is the daughter of rich construction magnate Rudolph Kosterman (Simon Oakland), who subsequently hires Rome to find out why his daughter is acting so irrationally.

After regaining consciousness, Diana discovers that a diamond pin that she had been wearing the night before has gone missing. Diana and her stepmother Rita (Gena Rowlands) hire Rome to find the lost pin.

Rome is chloroformed and beaten by a pair of thugs, and Turpin is found murdered in Rome's office. Lt. Dave Santini (Richard Conte) of the Miami police investigates the crime scene and demands information from Rome, who is an old friend.

Rome gets help from a seductive divorcee, Ann Archer (Jill St. John).

An attempt is made on Kosterman's life, and a jeweler is found murdered.

Rome discovers that Diana has been selling her stepmother's jewels and giving the money to Lorna, her biological mother. The trail leads to Rita's dead ex-husband and Adam Boyd, a doctor, who ordered the killings. The case solved, Rome invites Ann for a romantic getaway on his boat, but she decides to go back to her husband.


Sinatra as Tony Rome Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome (alt).jpg
Sinatra as Tony Rome

Deanna Lund plays a lesbian stripper but, embarrassed by the role, she asked for her name to be removed from the credits. She also appears in the film's poster. [3]


Filming took place on location in Miami, Florida, with some scenes being shot during the day at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, where Sinatra was performing in the evenings. [4] Other scenes were filmed at the Corsair Hotel at 101 South Ocean Drive, Miami Beach.

It was partially filmed on the property that novelist Douglas Fairbairn was renting at the time. [5]

Nancy Sinatra, daughter of Frank, sang the film's eponymous title track which then appeared on her album, Nancy Sinatra, The Hit Years (Rhino Records).

Critical reception

Tony Rome was met with mixed reviews upon release. Many film critics felt that he was paying homage to his late friend Humphrey Bogart, since he was part of the original "Rat Pack" and had dated (and nearly married) Bogart's widow, Lauren Bacall. However, Sinatra created his own version of the private detective, making him a more jaunty and less dour incarnation than Bogart's famous characterizations. [6]

Box office

According to Fox records, the film needed to earn $6,875,000 in rentals to break even, but fell short at $6,250,000. [7]

See also

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  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. "All-Time B.O. Champs", Variety, 3 January 1968 p 25. Please note these figures refer to rentals accruing to the distributors.
  3. Tom Lisanti (2001). Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema: Interviews with 20 Actresses from Biker, Beach, and Elvis Movies. McFarland. p. 237. ISBN   978-0-7864-0868-9.
  4. Scott Allen Nollen (2003), The Cinema of Sinatra, Luminary Press, ISBN   1-887664-51-3
  5. Fairbairn, Douglas (1973), A Squirrel Forever, Simon and Schuster, p. 83,109, ISBN   978-0-671-21587-3
  6. Santopietro, Tom (2008). Sinatra in Hollywood . St. Martin's Press. pp.  395-396. ISBN   978-0-312-36226-3.
  7. Silverman, Stephen M (1988). The Fox that Got Away: the Last Days of the Zanuck Dynasty at Twentieth Century-Fox . L. Stuart. p.  326. ISBN   0-8184-0485-X.