Lady in Cement [1968]

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
When it was released in 1968, Lady in Cement was the perfect movie for "The Man Who Reads Playboy." It was tailor-made for middle-aged martini-and-poker men who enjoyed Frank Sinatra in Tony Rome a year earlier, and this slapdash sequel finds Ol' Blue Eyes in sun-soaked Miami, where his treasure-hunting discovery of a naked blonde (the ill-fated lady in cement, found dead underwater) gets him tangled up with a massive thug (Dan Blocker), a retired Mafioso (Martin Gabel) with an over-ambitious son, an ultra-sexy heiress (Raquel Welch, in her sexpot prime at age 27), and a variety of Floridian lowlifes who lent the film its R-rated appeal for the cocktail crowd. With its disposable mystery, rampant homophobia, go-go club lechery, peekaboo nudity, bursts of red-blooded violence, and swinging score by Hugo Montenegro, this not-so-lucky Lady bombed at the box office and tested Sinatra's legendary temper, but it's still raucously entertaining (it partially inspired the Austin Powers comedies), and there are plenty of in-jokes to be seen (and especially heard) for anyone steeped in '60s pop culture. Nestled between The Graduate and Easy Rider, Lady in Cement was a cinematic fossil even before the cameras rolled, but Frank's fans are sure to love it anyway. --Jeff Shannon

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