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FYI: CAPE FEAR (1962) tonight @ 8:00


LornaHansonForbes
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It's been shown, but has been a year or two. Looks like a good night overall. One of the rare nights I'll be watching TCM all night long. Cant remember the last time that happened (months). I prefer this film to the later remake.

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anyone who wants to speculate as to just exactly why Gregory Peck is wearing Justin Bieber's old hair or just why Mitchum has delicate little Barbie hands on the poster below, be my guest.

Lorna, that poster is hilarious. The hands look like those of that Kristin Wiig character from SNL!

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Yeah, Peck looks like Tony Perkins and Mitchum looks like the

upper half of some kind of insect mutation climbing a tree, and

Polly Bergen looks like Deborah Barone. Weird. One of the most

enjoyable aspects of this film is Mitchum's southern accented

hep cat lingo--C'mon counselor, have another blast, daddy-o.

If there had been a scene of Mitch in a back alley sucking on

a joint, it would have fit right in. Of course, there wasn't. His

wardrobe is a hoot too.

 

Mitchum just channeled Lucas Doolin from Thunder Road for that lingo.

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Can't say the last time it aired, but it has been on TCM fairly regularly over the years. What has never aired on TCM is the Scorsese remake. I wouldn't mind watching them back-to-back if TCM was ever so inclined. I'm sure I'm inviting any number of "new movies suck" posts (even though the remake is a quarter century old already), but I think the remake has its own merits.

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(IN RE: THE MOVIE POSTER)

Yeah, Peck looks like Tony Perkins and Mitchum looks like the

upper half of some kind of insect mutation climbing a tree, and

Polly Bergen looks like Deborah Barone.

 

Actually, from the artist's depiction, she more resembles the Quaker Oats guy to me, which is a real feat on the part of the artist, because Polly Bergen was one fine piece of woman.

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Can't say the last time it aired, but it has been on TCM fairly regularly over the years. What has never aired on TCM is the Scorsese remake. I wouldn't mind watching them back-to-back if TCM was ever so inclined. I'm sure I'm inviting any number of "new movies suck" posts (even though the remake is a quarter century old already), but I think the remake has its own merits.

 

That is an excellent idea.

 

Illeanna could even host; she wrote an article for slate.com recently wherein she shared an anecdote about befriending DeNiro before they filmed the horrific assault scene.

 

full disclosure: I live in Wilmington, North Carolina- right at the mouth of the Cape Fear river (where the film is ostensibly set, although we're not mentioned in the 1962 version, we are name-dropped in the remake.) My father is also a lawyer- a little more Nick Nolte than Peck (but deep down- aren't most men?)

 

When the remake came out- and was a huge hit making $80 million- it was a big deal around here.

 

i actually learned A LOT about remakes from watching the 1991 version- almost* all the changes they make are the right ones.**

 

It was brilliant to make the "Hero" a lawyer who deliberately misrepresents Cady in the remake. Why IN THE HELL they didn't do this in the original is over my head. There's honestly no need for Peck to even be a lawyer in the original. It takes everything up a notch.

 

it was brilliant to make the wife a neurotic ***** (and to expand her role and make the marriage a troubled one)...and if you're going to get someone to play a neurotic *****, I'm hard-pressed to think of someone better than Jessica Lange (at this point in time, Faye Dunaway had been put in dry-dock)

 

it was brilliant to make the daughter a tramp. the remake is hardcore noir, the original is black and white melodrama.

 

It also makes so much more sense that the woman Cady attacks is the mistress of the Hero.

 

...and the finale, with the out of control houseboat veering down the river in the storm is better (although they do push it a little overboard with some horror elements in Cady's death scene.)...although I appreciate the very different ending of the 1962 version.

 

while it has been a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time since I have seen it, i have to say if anyone wants a primer on "REMAKES 101" I really suggest comparing 1991 and 1962.

 

 

 

 

 

*excepting the presence of Joe Don Baker

 

**I do not know if these details were present in the John MacDonald

source novel, if they are and I am giving undue credit to the remake,

all apologies.

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I'll mention this here once, and hopefully it won't send all the ADHD in the forum membrship into the sunset with it, but I'll try to remember to start a new thread of the topic----

 

I never saw the 1962 original CAPE FEAR until years AFTER the Scorsese remake.  And now since I'm a bit familiar with both, I only have a few issues-----

 

Dinero's Cady, much like Mitchum's, if real, would have preferred the daughter NOT be such a tramp.  For him, it's not so much fun if she likes it.

 

I also thought having Cady strap himself under the car('91)  a bit ridiculous, and unreal, but realizing it was only a movie, just shrugged it off.

 

Sepiatone

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Great write-up and reminiscences in your post, Lorna.

 

Yes, I too would say that while the original was shocking to audiences in and for its day, compared to Scorsese's remake, much of Thompson's original still seemed to present many Hollywood conventions of that era, and such as the hero and his family being almost too "virtuous" in order for the villain Cady to be motivated enough to seek such great revenge upon him and them.

 

I wonder if you think Cady's more severe fate in the remake also speaks of a more "realistic" ending for the picture, or, as what springs to my mind, a feeling Scorsese might have been catering to a more modern audience far less likely shocked and more accepting of the more severe fate De Niro's Cady comes to than does Mitchum's Cady? 

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Great write-up and reminiscences in your post, Lorna.

 

Yes, I too would say that while the original was shocking to audiences in and for its day, compared to Scorsese's remake, much of Thompson's original still seemed to present many Hollywood conventions of that era, and such as the hero and his family being almost too "virtuous" in order for the villain Cady to be motivated enough to seek such great revenge upon him and them.

 

I wonder if you think Cady's more severe fate in the remake also speaks of a more "realistic" ending for the picture, or, as what springs to my mind, a feeling Scorsese might have been catering to a more modern audience far less likely shocked and more accepting of the more severe fate De Niro's Cady comes to than does Mitchum's Cady? 

 

Having the lawyer (father) deliberately misrepresents Cady in the remake was brilliant since that is a much sounder reason for Cady to seek revenge then the lawyer just being a witness to a crime.   It also helps equalize  the two character and makes the film more 'noir' since flawed 'heroes' are a noir convention.

 

But to me changing the nature of the character of the daughter doesn't work.  i.e. I view that as one change too many in the remake.

 

I'm neutral as it relates to the role of the wife in the two versions.  

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Me, I like the original so much better, De Niro comes off as too buffoonish and the strapping himself to the underside of the car is a bit much (as mentioned),

 

Mitchum is downright scary and the noir-ish cinematography is great  Mitchum should have got an Oscar.

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Great write-up and reminiscences in your post, Lorna.

 

I wonder if you think Cady's more severe fate in the remake also speaks of a more "realistic" ending for the picture, or, as what springs to my mind, a feeling Scorsese might have been catering to a more modern audience far less likely shocked and more accepting of the more severe fate De Niro's Cady comes to than does Mitchum's Cady? 

 

Thank you for the kind words, and an intriguing point you make...I feel like the 1991 version is SO bleak and the character SO evil that he ends up on the same kind of level as a Freddy or a Jason- by the end, he just has to die.

 

SPOILERS IN RE: THE END OF 1962 CAPE FEAR AND 1955'S NIGHT OF THE HUNTER\

 

It's interesting that in both of those movies, Mitchum takes it pretty far in the evil dept., but in both, his character (rather surprisingly) lives at the end, almost confoundingly so in HUNTER, because with CAPE FEAR, they make it very clear that more confinement is a fate worse than death for Max Cady.

 

Also of note, the 1991 version of CAPE FEAR also pays homage to NIGHT OF THE HUNTER with the LOVE and HATE tattoos on Cady's left and right hands.

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This is interesting,

 

I just checked out my copy of INSIDE OSCAR and it mentioned that the remake of CAPE FEAR was set to be directed by Spielberg, who apparently wasn't in a "dark mood" and went on to make HOOK (a film that is, ironically, ten times more insidiously evil than anything in either version of CAPE FEAR.)

 

AMBLIN still owned the rights, and DeNiro- who had been attached for a long time and was really amped to play the part- suggested Scorcese, who wasn't interested in doing it at all because he "read the script three times, and three times he hated it."

 

So Scorcese did a rewrite and made the family all ****** up so he could "relate to them" as he found them "such goody two-shoes" in the original script that he claimed he was rooting for Cady by the end.

 

again, i think every change he made was spot-on.

 

FYI- Gregory Peck won the Best Actor Oscar for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD the same year the original CAPE FEAR came out; DeNiro and Juliette Lewis (who played the daughter) were both Oscar-nominated for their parts in the CAPE FEAR remake in 1992, they also won a lot of Film Critic's awards for their performances. Nick Nolte, who costarred in the remake, was also nominated for Best Actor  in1991, but for THE PRINCE OF TIDES. )

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Me, I like the original so much better, De Niro comes off as too buffoonish and the strapping himself to the underside of the car is a bit much (as mentioned),

 

Mitchum is downright scary and the noir-ish cinematography is great  Mitchum should have got an Oscar.

 

The remake is definitely a less believable movie. More extreme, yes - but that's the problem.

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Much was made at the time of the 91 version that all the principals involved did the film because they needed a hit. Nolte had fallen on hard times in the 80's, and was starting to have a career second wind. DeNiro still had clout, but hadn't starred in a commercial hit in a couple years. Scorsese too was coming off of a box office disappointment (how was GOODFELLAS a flop?), and he needed to show he was bankable so he could get the funding he needed for AGE OF INNOCENCE. At first he was circling a proposed KEY LARGO remake that was to star Mel Gibson and Al Pacino, but that fell apart, so he agreed to CAPE FEAR. The whole thing was relatively rushed through, and if it wasn't for the talent involved, it could have been a real trainwreck. Instead it was a sufficient hit (the biggest Scorsese had up to that point), and it's generally well regarded, if not enthusiastically so.

 

I liked it, anyway.

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Strangely enough, I wasn't that pleased with the 1962 version when I saw it (sometime around 1964-5), but that was because I'd read John D. MacDonald's novel not long before seeing it. It's almost always the case that reading the novel first makes the movie experience much flatter, and this was no exception.

 

One thing that bothered me about the movie was that the daughter's boyfriend was completely removed from it.

 

But, on subsequent viewings, Mitchum's amazing performance eventually won me over enough to praise the movie more as the years went by.

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