Cape Fear

Cape Fear

3.6 3
Director: J. Lee Thompson

Cast: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen


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This edition of Cape Fear may not have everything, but nobody will come away disappointed with this Universal DVD release of the taut suspensor. The widescreen letterbox dual-layer transfer was struck from a very clean print; the print has some minor scratches on it but nothing that is too obtrusive. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track is pristine and showcases


This edition of Cape Fear may not have everything, but nobody will come away disappointed with this Universal DVD release of the taut suspensor. The widescreen letterbox dual-layer transfer was struck from a very clean print; the print has some minor scratches on it but nothing that is too obtrusive. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track is pristine and showcases Bernard Herrmann's knock-out score. There are a few extras, the best of which is an original "making of" documentary. Better than the average DVD featurette, it basically contains edited interviews with star/producer Gregory Peck and director J. Lee Thompson. Both men are charming and Thompson displays cheeky good humor as he talks about the production in general, star Robert Mitchum in particular, how Hitchcock inspired him, the issue of censorship, and his positive view of the Cape Fear remake. It's an entertaining and educational featurette but it would've been wise to balance the memories of these two people with archival interview material with other members of the cast and crew, particularly Mitchum. During the Great Depression, the future actor was incarcerated as a teenage hobo in Georgia (where location shooting took place) and put into a chain gang. His crime was homelessness and the state got free labor out of prisoners at a time when unemployment ran rampant. Mitchum never forgot this injustice and was none too happy to be back in Georgia. Supposedly, the grudge he held about it colored his chilling portrayal of a brilliant, charming sociopath who feels he was wronged. His grounded, understated performance is far more chilling than anything Robert De Niro did in the worthy remake. The disc also includes the theatrical trailer, production notes, a poster gallery, biographies, and a rather paltry photo album.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
An unusually daring thriller that inspired controversy upon its theatrical release in 1962, Cape Fear broke new ground in its cinematic depiction of terrorization with sadistic and sexual components. Robert Mitchum portrays the villain superbly, bringing quiet menace to his depiction of the cruel ex-convict bent on revenge. The object of his terror is a small-town Georgia lawyer (played by Gregory Peck as initially stolid but eventually unnerved) who he believes is responsible for his imprisonment. When Peck learns that Mitchum's scheme threatens his wife (Polly Bergen) and teenage daughter (Lori Martin), he's moved to consideration of unusual precautions -- including, if necessary, murder. Next to 1961's Guns of Navarone(in which Peck also starred), Cape Fear is easily the best film directed by J. Lee Thompson, a prolific, competent, but generally uninspired journeyman who took John D. MacDonald's pulpy novel The Executioners and adapted it into a cinematic classic of riveting suspense. Taut and gripping, its Hitchcockian verisimilitude enhanced by a suitably eerie Bernard Herrmann score, Cape Fear is the progenitor of literally hundreds of subsequent movies and TV shows that have mined the same vein. And even though others have hit paydirt, this is the one that struck the mother lode. The DVD offers a documentary covering the film's production, along with still galleries, production notes, cast and director highlights, trailers, and DVD-ROM content.
All Movie Guide
Robert Mitchum, one of the screen's most ruthless figures, was most menacing when he was most amiable. His role as Max Cady in Cape Fear (the role reprised by Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese's 1991 remake) comes in second in the sinister sweepstakes only to his chilling performance for Charles Laughton in Night of the Hunter seven years earlier. Mitchum's Cady is every father's and husband's worst nightmare: an untouchable, unstoppable, unrepentant corrupter of innocence. . .all with a sadistic smirk. Gregory Peck is cast obviously as the upright and proper father. Director J. Lee Thompson clearly envisioned Cape Fear as a 1962 challenge to the fading Fifties concept of the perfect nuclear family. Coming off the success of The Guns of Navarone, Thompson significantly scaled back his scope for this drama, and even the fight scenes at the end have a subdued, almost still aspect. A special note has to be given to Bernard Herrmann's haunting score, which ranks with his memorable scores for Vertigo and Psycho.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
[B&W, Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital, monaural]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Exclusive original documentary; photo gallery with original score by Bernard Hermann; poster gallery; production notes; cast and filmmaker biographies; DVD-ROM features

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gregory Peck Sam Bowden
Robert Mitchum Max Cady
Polly Bergen Peggy Bowden
Lori Martin Nancy
Martin Balsam Chief Dutton
Jack Kruschen Dave Grafton
Telly Savalas Charles Sievers
Barrie Chase Diane Taylor
Paul Comi Garner
John R. McKee Officer Marconi
Page Slattery Deputy Kersek
Edward Platt Judge
Will Wright Dr. Pearsall
Joan Staley Waitress
Mack Williams Dr. Lowney
Thomas Newman Lt. Gervasi
Alan Reynolds Vernon
Herb Armstrong Waiter
Allan Ray Young Blade
Paul Levitt Police Operator
Ward Ramsey Officer Brown
Jack Richardson Deputy
Al Silvani Man
Josephine Smith Librarian

Technical Credits
J. Lee Thompson Director
Sy Bartlett Producer
Robert F. Boyle Art Director
Oliver Emert Set Decoration/Design
Alexander Golitzen Art Director
Ray Gosnell Asst. Director
Bernard Herrmann Score Composer
Corson Jowett Sound/Sound Designer
Sam Leavitt Cinematographer
Frank Prehoda Makeup
George Tomasini Editor
Tom Tuttle Makeup
Waldon O. Watson Sound/Sound Designer
James R. Webb Screenwriter
Ernest B. Wehmeyer Production Manager
Mary Wills Costumes/Costume Designer
John D. MacDonald Source Author

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scenes
1. Main Titles [1:18]
2. A Man With Attitude [4:15]
3. Happy Family [3:27]
4. Chat With The Chief [4:22]
5. A Show Of Power [7:06]
6. Warning The Women [5:00]
7. Cady Lawyers Up [6:12]
8. Max Cady: Rock Bottom [11:09]
9. At The Marina [3:21]
10. At School [7:51]
11. Sam And Max Talk [8:34]
12. Sam's Mistake [2:32]
13. Plans For The Family [2:19]
14. On Cape Fear [2:28]
15. Being Observed [8:07]
16. Turning Tables [9:05]
17. A Long Life... [15:07]
18. End Titles [2:40]


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Cape Fear 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
really great. and REALLY scary too! especially the part when Cady walks into Sam's wife's room when Sam isn't there, and the part when Peck's character is almost drowned by Cady.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago