DEAN BRIERLY TAKES ON MIAMI PRIVATE EYE TONY ROME (FRANK SINATRA) OVER AT HIS SIXTIES CRIME FILMS BLOG . . .
In Tony Rome, Sinatra could not have found a character better suited to his own personality. The hero of Albert’s three Tony Rome novels exemplifies the ring-a-ding lifestyle the singer made famous. Comfortable in any situation yet basically a loner, Rome is a compulsive gambler and womanizer, chain smokes Luckies and drinks whatever’s handy, as long as it contains alcohol. He’s equally comfortable interacting with the cream of Miami society and the lowest rungs of its criminal underworld. Add the fact that there is no cooler name than Tony Rome, and it’s no wonder Sinatra found the role a perfect fit. For the first time in several years, the actor seemed to enjoy himself onscreen, his trademark swagger and insolent manner ringing fresh changes on the private eye genre. Some critics thought Sinatra was simply emulating Bogart, but such comparisons are misleading. Sinatra’s flip, hip detective is far removed from Sam Spade’s tight-lipped fatalism. Free of existential angst, Rome reacts to the seamy underside of life with an ironic “that’s life” shrug of the shoulders. Just one year later, Frank would reprise the role in the overtly comic Lady in Cement.
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