Tony Rome Gordon Douglas

It had been so long since I last saw a film with a detective who lives on a boat that the opening of Tony Rome came as a shock. Surely that feeble gesture towards loner-ish individualism wouldn't translate into a Burt Reynolds Ur-text would it? But that, hilariously, is exactly what this movie offers, sort of a last gasp of the Rat Pack before they gave way to more hairy-chested men of leisure. The boat-owning Mr. Rome (Frank Sinatra) finds himself in hot water when he's called to help a wealthy young woman (Lolita's Sue Lyon) passed out in a hotel room. When it's discovered that her $5,000 pin is missing, it plunges him into a morass of drugs, fraud, murder, bigamy and extended sequences with Jill St. John. To be honest, I couldn't make sense of the plot, which had more twisted convolutions than your lower intestines, but it's largely irrelevant to the manly spectacle of Ol' Blue Eyes reviewing his phallic self across a decadent marzipan Miami. To his left are cuckolds, failures and weak-willed creeps; to his right, various sluts, strippers, alcoholic mothers and serial monogamists, some of whom might actually sleep with him. You'd have to be freebasing estrogen not to seem manly by comparison, though it sure helps to have lines like "I'm working so hard I've turned down two chances to go to bed, and I never want to work that hard again!" Simply put, it's retro-kitsch to howl at, with such groovy outfits, candy-colours and simian sexual politics that it's probably more fun to watch in retrospect than it was when it first opened. (Fox)