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Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte)is a small-town corporate attorney/"Leave It to Beaver" type family-man. Max Cady (Robert De Niro) is a tattooed, cigar-smoking, bible-quoting, rapist. What do they have in common? Fourteen years, ago Sam was a public defender assigned to Max Cady's rape trial, and he made a serious error: he hid a document from his illiterate client that could have gotten him acquitted. Now, the cagey, bibliophile Cady has been released, and he intends to teach Sam Bowden and his family a thing or two about loss. Written by
George C. Scott was originally supposed to play the Lieutenant role. But because of health problems he dropped out a few days before filming and Robert Mitchum was brought in. See more »
Sam orders the "hospital job" against Max Cady in the hope that Cady will leave the Bowden family alone afterwards. During the actual attack, Cady takes eighteen repeated heavy blows with metal pipes all over his body and then stands up to fight back, a complete impossibility. Max Cady would have been dead. See more »
My reminiscence. I always thought that for such a lovely river the name is mystifying: "Cape Fear". When the only thing to fear on those enchanted summer nights was that the magic would end and real life would come crashing in.
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Later half of the credits are played to the sound of nighttime crickets. See more »
Even though Robert DeNiro was nominated for Best Actor for this Martin Scorsese directed remake of Cape Fear, my heart is still with the original. The multi-tattooed voluminous DeNiro is far less menacing than Robert Mitchum was in the original.
One thing Scorsese did was change the billing to reflect the importance of the characters. Mitchum was billed second to Gregory Peck, the upright attorney who Mitchum threatened and stalked along with Peck's family. Then again Peck was producing the original Cape Fear so of course he was first billed.
Part of the problem was that with some 20 to 30 minutes additional running time Scorsese used it to make his characters a bit more complex. DeNiro was a real basket case as Max Cady in this one whereas Robert Mitchum was just plain no good.
Nick Nolte plays attorney Sam Bowden and he's also far more complex and not such a good guy. In the original film Peck was an attorney, but he was a witness in the trial that convicted Cady of rape. Here he was Cady's attorney and he tanked the case because Cady was such a psycho he deserved to be behind bars. Cady in fact does have a grudge of sorts against him. And it's not good to get a psycho mad at you.
Also Peck and his whole family which consisted of Polly Bergen and Lori Martin back in the original was your basic all American white bread family. Their very wholesomeness made the scope of Mitchum stalking them all the more frightening.
Nolte and Jessica Lange have marital problems and their daughter Juliette Lewis is not Mary Poppins. Not that they deserved what DeNiro was going to do to them, but it does blunt the impact of the scope of his evil.
Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, and Martin Balsam from the original cast all played supporting parts here. But while the film that Scorsese did is a good one, their presence made me all the more hunger for the original.
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