Tony Rome (Frank Sinatra) used to be a cop. Now he’s a PI who lives on a houseboat in Miami. Work is somewhat scarce, and he spends a lot of his time gambling.
Tony gets an odd gig one day, receiving $200 to return a young woman (Sue Lyon) to her rich father’s house after she’s found passed out in a hotel room. The hotel doesn’t want any trouble, so as long as the girl gets home safe and the hotel’s name stays out of the press, Tony will get his pay day.
But the trouble doesn’t end there. The girl realizes that her diamond pin is missing, and some tough-looking, gun-toting men show up at Tony’s boat looking for it… and then, people start turning up dead. The girl’s father decides to hire Tony to find out what happened to the diamond pin. Can he sort out the whole mess before more people are killed?
Gordon Douglas directs 1967’s Tony Rome. The film was adapted for the screen by Richard Breen from a novel by Marvin H. Albert. Starring alongside Sinatra and Lyon are Jill St. John, Richard Conte and Gena Rowlands.
Tony Rome isn’t the type of film that you watch for the plot, which is thin and typical. Its driving force is its cast, Sinatra in particular. Sinatra and Jill St. John play quite well off of each other, making it a fun watch despite its lackluster storytelling.
There are a couple of reasons aside from Sinatra that bonus points can be given to the film. The first is its amazing theme song, written by Lee Hazelwood and sung by none other than Frank’s daughter, Nancy. “Tony Rome’ll get ’em if ya don’t watch out!”
A theme song and a nice cast wouldn’t be enough to save the film on their own, though. Luckily, what this script lacks in twists and turns it partially makes up for in funny dialogue. The character of Tony Rome himself is composed almost entirely of zippy one-liners.
Would the film have been even better had more attention been paid to giving the story uniqueness and intricacy? Of course! Tony Rome makes a real attempt to be a hard-boiled detective drama but there isn’t enough plot complication or depth to pull that off. It can sometimes be quite campy, and at other times takes itself too seriously.
But as it stands, Tony Rome is a perfectly fine way to spend a couple of hours, especially for fans of stylish ’60s spy/detective films or fans of Sinatra. The score: 3.5/5