Cape Fear (1962) 4.57/5 (2)


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Rating: The Good – 82.9
Genre: Thriller
Duration: 98 mins
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Gregory Peck, Robert MitchumMartin Balsam

The original (and yes the best) Cape Fear sees Robert Mitchum give a masterful performance as Max Cady, the recently released convict who is intent on terrorising the man who put him away (Gregory Peck) by targeting the dearest thing to him, his family. Peck is (as usual) a great central character, his large frame and piercing stare saying more about his character than than any amount of dialogue could. However, this film is all about Mitchum’s insatiably cruel Cady, who really does send chills down your spine. Not nearly as caricatured as De Niro’s subsequent interpretation, his nastiness seems much more real and cold. J. Lee Thompson captures the action extraordinarily well slowing it down in classic shadowy noir style at times (such as when Cady attacks his date) and dialling it all the way up at others (such as during the climactic river sequence). James R. Webb’s screenplay is perfectly adapted from John D. McDonald’s novel “The Executioners” and on top of all that you have one of the all time great scores by the legend Bernard Herrmann which Scorsese wisely kept in his remake.

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