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Robert Mitchum in his unforgettable role as ex-con Max Cady.

  • Dec 20, 2008
The original 1962 version of "Cape Fear" just has to be one of the creepiest films I have ever seen.  An ex-con by the name of Max Cady (portrayed by Robert Mitchum) turns up to wreak havoc for the man who testified against him and sent him to prison for eight and a half years.  Cady is no dummy.   No sir.   He spent virtually all of his time in prison learning the law and plotting to get even with his accuser Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck).  He begins turning up everywhere and subtly hints that Sam had best keep an eye on his wife (Polly Bergen) and his young daughter Nancy. Sam turns turns to his friend the Police Chief (Martin Balsam) but he is virtually powerless to do anything to help. The tension builds throughout this film before the matter is finally resolved once and for all on a houseboat in the Cape Fear river. "Cape Fear" reminds me an awful lot of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.   Bernard Hermann, who was responsible for the music in a number of Hitchcock films, does a great job with the score for this one.   "Cape Fear" will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.     Very highly recommended!
Robert Mitchum in his unforgettable role as ex-con Max Cady.

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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this movie


Cape Fear is a 1962 film about an attorney whose family is stalked by a criminal whom he helped to send to jail. It stars Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum as Max Cady, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin, Martin Balsam, Jack Kruschen, Telly Savalas, Paul Comi and Barrie Chase. It was adapted by James R. Webb from the novel The Executioners by John D. MacDonald. It was directed by J. Lee Thompson, and released on April 12, 1961.

Peck acquired the rights to Cape Fear, he was originally attached to the project as a producer, not an actor. However, he was sought for the role of antagonist Max Cady by the studios. Peck, who initially did not consider acting in the film, agreed to appear but was so against playing a villain at the time that he steadfastly refused the part. He went on to say that he felt audiences would not accept him playing a ruthless character so he instead sought the role of the hero.

When approached to play the villain, Mitchum turned down the role. Convinced Mitchum would still make the perfect Cady, Thompson and Peck sent him a bottle of bourbon. A couple of days later, Mitchum sent a telegraph to Thompson, which read: "I've had your bourbon. I'm drunk. I'll do it."

Thompson had always envisioned the film in black and white prior to production. Being a Hitchcock fan, he wanted to have Hitchcockean elements in the film, such as unusual lighting angles, an eerie musical score, closeups of serious faces, and indicating very little of the violence that Cady has in mind for the...

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