While diving off the Miami coast seeking one of the eleven fabled Spanish Galleons sunk in 1591, private investigator Tony Rome (Frank Sinatra) discovers a dead woman, her feet encased in cement, at the bottom of the ocean.
Rome reports this to Lieutenant Dave Santini (Richard Conte) and thinks little more of the incident, until Waldo Gronski (Dan Blocker) hires him to find a missing woman, Sandra Lomax.
Gronski has little in the way of affluence, so he allows Rome to pawn his watch to retain his services.
After investigating the local hotspots and picking up on a few names, Rome soon comes across Kit Forrester (Raquel Welch), whose party Sandra Lomax was supposed to have attended.
Rome’s talking to Forrester raises the ire of racketeer Al Mungar (Martin Gabel), a supposedly reformed gangster who looks after Kit’s interests.
Thinking there may be a connection between Lomax, Forrester and Mungar, Rome starts probing into their backgrounds and begins a romantic relationship with Kit.
With both cops and crooks chasing him and the omnipresent Gronski breathing down his neck, Rome finds himself deep in a case which provides few answers.Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome
Raquel Welch as Kit Forrester
Dan Blocker as Waldo Gronski
Richard Conte as Lt. Dave Santini
Martin Gabel as Al Mungar
Richard Deacon as Arnie Sherwin
Lainie Kazan as Maria Baretto
Pat Henry as Rubin
Steve Peck as Paul Mungar (as Steven Peck)
Virginia Wood as Audrey
Frank Raiter as Danny Yale
Peter Hock as Frenchy
Alex Stevens as Shev
Christine Todd as Sandra Lomax
Mac Robbins as Sidney the organizer
Tommy Uhlar as The Kid, Tighe Santini
The film was based on a novel published in 1961 which the New York Times called "ingenuous".
Following the success of Tony Rome, Aaron Rosenberg hired Marvin Albert to adapt Cement for Sinatra. The actor made it after The Detective. Raquel Welch's casting was announced in June 1967.
Sammy Davis Jr was to have appeared in the film as the charter boat captain. However Sinatra fell ill and filming was postponed for four weeks. Davis was replaced by Pat Henry in the final film.
Dan Blocker was given time away form Bonanza to play his part. The movie gave an early role to Lainie Kazan.
Welch later said she did not realise her character was an alcoholic until after filming wrapped. "I'm watching this movie and I'm thinking, 'What the hell has she got on?' At one point, I had this epiphany: 'Oh, she's an alcoholic!' I didn't know that. How could I miss that?... I think I was just so enamoured with Frank Sinatra, you know. He's hypnotic."
Filming started in February 1968. Before and during filming, Sinatra would perform at the Fontainebleau in Miami over a six week period. Welch would go to watch him and found the experience so inspiring she determined to continue to perform to live audiences in her career.
Opening to mixed reviews, Lady in Cement is generally considered to be a middling sequel to Tony Rome. Critic Roger Ebert gave faint praise in a generally scathing review by commenting: “In the movie's few good scenes, Sinatra once again painfully reminds us what a controlled, effective actor he is.” Variety noted that “Dan Blocker is excellent as a sympathetic heavy,” whilst John Maloney liked the “fresher script” and “sharp direction.”
Lady on Cement was released on DVD on May 24, 2005 as part of a boxed set along with Tony Rome and The Detective, both also directed by Douglas. No bonus features were included.