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Cape Fear
Cape Fear
Actors: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin, Martin Balsam
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2001     1hr 45min

This good vs. evil thriller casts Mitchum as sadistic ex-con Max Cady determined to wreak revenge on the family of Sam Bowden, the good small-town lawyer who put him in jail years earlier. Stripped of legal recourse, the c...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin, Martin Balsam
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Creators: Sam Leavitt, George Tomasini, Sy Bartlett, James R. Webb, John D. MacDonald
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/18/2001
Original Release Date: 01/01/1961
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1961
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 45min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
Edition: Collector's Edition
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

The Original......Classic Thrills and Chills
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 12/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This review refers to the "Cape Fear"(1962) Widescreen DVD edition by Universal....."Cape Fear" from 1962 is a terrific example of great film noir. Filmed in black and white, director J.Lee Thompson uses shadows and light, and the art of suggestion(the censors were pretty tough back in the 60's), to bring us this bone-chilling and suspenseful classic that over fourty years later, still, has not lost it's draw. Not unlike many of Hitchcock's films, Thompson has the audience on the edge of their seats,our hearts in our throats, and in fear for the hero.It's good vs. evil, as Greogory Peck and Robert Mitchum, put their immense talents together for this spine tingler. Max Cady(Mitchum) has just been released from 8 long years in prison. From the moment we meet him, we KNOW this is one bad hombre. He is bent on revenge, and Sam Bowden(Peck) is the man who must pay. Sam's young daughter and beautiful wife are the targets of Max's obssession. He is slick and devious and will stop at nothing to get even. Sam does everything in his power legally to try and stop him, but must take matters into his own hands to protect his family.Mitchum is simply powerful in his performance of this menacing threat, and Peck as always is perfect in his portrayal of the family man whose life has just turned into one big nightmare!
The film is also helped by the wonderful talents of Telly Savalas and Martin Balsam. Polly Bergen and Lori Martin are magnificent as the terrified wife and daughter.The talent doesn't end there though, the haunting music was scored by Bernard Hermann(who worked with Hitch on several films), and Sam Leavitt does a fabulous job with the black and white cinematography.The transfer to DVD is crisp and sharp. It is presented in anamorphic widescreen(1.85:1)and barely shows it's age. The sound is in Dolby Dig 2.0 Mono. The dialouge as well as the music and background noises are all clear and distguishable.
There is a terrific featurette on the making of the film,production photos, a trailer, and DVD ROM. It may only be viewed in English, but has captions in English and subtitles in Spanish and French for those that may need them.A thriller that stands the test of time. One that esteemed Director Martin Scorsese chose to pay homage to with a wonderful remake.Get the popcorn ready and enjoy......Laurie"
"Max Cady isn't a man who makes idle threats!"
Reginald D. Garrard | Camilla, GA USA | 04/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Prior to his Oscar-winning role as lawyer Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird", Gregory Peck portrayed another attorney in 1962's "Cape Fear", a psychological thriller also starring Robert Mitchum in one of his most despicable roles. No two actors were better suited than these two. Their characters are a definite study in contrast. Peck's Sam Bowden is a civilized intellectual forced to resort to some underhanded means to protect his family and himself from the treacherous taunts of Mitchum's crude, rude antagonist. Tension builds as the two men make a final confrontation at the location of the film's title. Polly Bergen and Lorie Martin as Peck's respective wife and daughter are quite good a show a strength of character rare for women in the early 60's. They are not just "screaming Mimi's". Martin Balsam, Jack Krushen and a pre-Kojak Telly Savalas round out a superlative cast; Barrie Chase is also quite memorable as a woman that runs afoul of the Mitchum's sadistic Max Cady. Southern locations and crisp cinematography provide a picturesque yet menacing background and look. To top off the film off is another remarkable score from Bernard Herrmann. Music by the late composer elevates this already superior thriller to a higher level."
Have No Fear? Get Some NOW!
Hillary | Brooklyn, New York | 09/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The late great classic acting talents of Robert Mitchum are showcased in this 1962 classic, reproving his ability to play the villain with unsurpassed expertise, as in the former 1955 classic "Night of The Hunter".

Here, Mitchum plays Max Cady, a menacing figure with a perpetual lit cigar and Panama Hat. He has come to town after being released from jail to visit and wreak revenge on the man who put him there, enter Sam, played by Gregory Peck. From their initial reunion in the town parking lot, Cady lets Peck have a peek at what's on his mind. From that moment on, there are grippingly suspenseful encounters between the two men and even worse, threats to his wife played by Polly Bergen, and his daughter, in a rather ineffectual role considering what she goes through when encountering Cady. Particularly amusing is a scene in the beginning of the film. Cady casually watches the family bowl, while harrassing a waitress and having a beer. The expression on Pecks face as his Sam character looks up, and spots those sinister leering eyes peering from a nearby table at his family, is classic.

What needs to be mentioned more than the great direction, pacing and script, is the believabilty of the sociopath depicted, that Mitchum brings to startling low-life on the screen. He is truly mesmerizing in his sleepy-eyed evil countenance. His gaze, cigar in mouth, hat pulled low, will raise your hair as you watch him. He moves toward his victims in a slow and deliberate manner, and speaks his lines with that commanding voice that he was so famous for. When picked up for questioning, he hilariously mocks Pecks' Sam, calling him casually by name, "Why, Say-im..." and then as "counselor" refering to his lawyer status. My favorite Mitchum line here?"You might want to look closer, I've got a few jolts of horse stashed under the collar." as he hands over his shirt to the police. The other great line is to Peck in a bar, as he lets him know that he can't be bought off. When speaking of his dear ex-wife, "Pumped a quart of whiskey in her, tore off her dress, threw away her shoes, and gave her a fair chance to work her way home..." Needless to say, pretty daring for it's time. You will have to find out the rest for yourself, like the scene with the drifter girl Mitchum picks up, and of course, the showdown.

Don't even think that Martin Scorcese's subsequent remake comes close to this classic. The excessively demented southern accent and preponderance of large tattoo's on DeNiro, don't make him more frightening than Mitchums' original take on the Max Cady character. Mitchum's subtle style of menacing, which seems paradoxical, but works, is far more effective at eliciting the viewers rapt attention. Besides, the Scorcese version got mired in outside subjects like infidelity from Nick Noltes version of Sam, what for? Let's face it, the original doesn't need any additional subplots to be entertaining.

"Cape Fear" is a strange title, refering to the very real location of the story, while it also serves as a perfect double entendre for the utter fright Robert Mitchum delivers within, in an unparalleled style. Don't miss this classic."
The definitive suspense film
Hillary | 07/18/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"From the "unjust Oscar snubs" file: Robert Mitchum gets no nomination for CAPE FEAR! Scandal? Robert Mitchum is Max Cady, the vengeful ex-con who stalks Gregory Peck's family in CAPE FEAR. Mitchum is superb. Absolutely, positively, superb. Never been better. Sure, he was great in OUT OF THE PAST and NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, but this is his definitive film role. The movie crackles with suspense and tension between the two leads, both of whom execute their roles brilliantly. Robert Mitchum puts one of the most terrifying and believeable performances ever on film, while Gregory Peck performs to steely perfection. I can see the Academy's not nominating Gregory Peck. not that he wasn't good, it's a five-star performance, but he wouldn't have been able to win his Oscar for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD in the same year, one of his most brilliant roles. If he could have one for both, I would've been all for it. But Bob Mitchum deserved a nomination! He deserved the Oscar! But noooo... Ahh. It's a great film, anyway. Rent it and watch it over and over again. It's terrifying by today's standards, and if you fall asleep, you're just inhuman."