An historical epic from United Artists, Cast a Giant Shadow features Frankie in a small part as an American bomber pilot named Vince, who gets to swoop in and drop a special delivery to the bad guys. Senta Berger, James Donald, and Topal co-star with the wonderful Mr. Douglas (young Michael Douglas makes his debut here, too, folks), with Angie Dickenson, Yul Brynner, and John Wayne also taking time out of their schedules to deliver enlarged cameo appearances. A good film, yes — but Im really not sure if it should have been included as part of The Frank Sinatra Film Collection.
As we find our way to the second volume's fourth disc, we enter prime Sinatra territory with 1967's Tony Rome — the first of two films featuring Frankie as author Marvin H. Albert's fictional private detective, Tony Rome. Not only is this first-rate Sinatra material, but it's also a great example of how swingin' the sixties were. Set in Miami, the streetwise, tougher-than-tough Rome lives on a houseboat, drives a convertible, and can hold his own against any regular bar patron. He also gets into more trouble than he's really out on the lookout for when asked by a seedy hotel's house detective (who's an old acquaintance, though hardly a friend) to escort an unconscious woman back to her residence — the home of powerful millionaire Rudy Kosterman (Simon Oakland).
The young lady in question — Diana Pines (Sue Lyon, in one of her few "big" roles) — comes complete with a mystery for Tony to follow. It seems her missing diamond brooch has vanished, and no one (naturally) wants to take credit for the theft. Worse still, several members of the family keep hiring and re-hiring our private dick for one reason or another. Knocked out, beaten up, and assaulted by every kind of hood and authority the greater Miami area has to offer, Rome soon finds himself smack dab in the center of regular conspiracy — complete with fresh corpses, suspicious faces, and shapely figures. Jill St. John co-stars as a divorcée, Gena Rowlands is the stepmother, Richard Conte plays Miami PD lieutenant Dave Santini, and Lloyd Bochner is a posh drug dealer in this neo-noir flick. There's also a memorable cameo with Car 54, Where Are You? star Joe E. Ross.
The hardboiled investigator motif obviously worked well for either Sinatra or the public, and — the following year — The Detective (Disc 5 of Volume 2) premiered. This time, however, Frank is a seasoned police sergeant named Joe Leland — and his life is nowhere near as swingin' as Tony Rome's. This gritty tale based on the straightforward adult look at police work written by Roderick Thorp begins with protagonist Leland — whose estranged wife (Lee Remick) is a rampant nymphomaniac — investigating the brutal death of a homosexual lad whose genitals have been sliced away (oh, my!). His examination of the murder reveals his own eagerness to promote, as well as the discriminatory opinions of his fellow officers (played by the likes of Ralph Meeker, Jack Klugman, Robert Duvall, Horace McMahon, Al Freeman, Jr., and Tom Atkins).