"Crap! I wish I hadn't seen Ricky on the sidewalk."

"You will be fine for 31 minutes. You will be dead in 32 minutes."

Friday, September 6, 2013


I didn't like Martin Scorsese's remake of Cape Fear (1991) the first time I saw it.

Wait--I liked it. I didn't love it. Thought it was just okay.

I revisited the film recently and was struck by the visuals.

It's almost impossible to watch Scorsese's take on Cape Fear and not be moved by the experiment in color unfolding in front of your eyes. The memorable images just keep coming, one right after another, like a fireworks display. Freddie Francis' cinematography doesn't just pop--it explodes.  

And De Niro is appropriately menacing as the single-minded thug Max Cady, who's hell-bent on revenge. This cigar chomping, heavily tattooed bully with the greasy hair and the loud clothes is not someone you want to eff with, definitely not someone you want to cross. 

But c'mon.  The scene where Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, and Juliette Lewis flee the city to get away and the camera reveals Cady hiding under their vehicle?  I mean, it's tough not to laugh.  The situation is ridiculous

There's also a scene where Cady starts speaking in tongues. Didn't phase me, didn't scare me a bit. De Niro is brilliant and talented and versatile, but even he can't pull off speaking in tongues. 

And I don't know how I feel about the scene between Lewis and De Niro, the one where he lures her to an unoccupied corner of her school and sticks his finger in her mouth. Too much?  Or maybe just the right amount of sick and twisted.

I do like the cameos by Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, and Martin Balsam do. All three men appeared in the original film version (1962), and their collective presence is a welcome nod. But why don't I love the opening titles more?  I'm a huge fan of Saul Bass, but wasn't crazy about the work here. 

The Executioners by John D. MacDonald (Fawcett Gold Medal R2055) 
I think it's fair to say I've been going through a John D. MacDonald phase recently. I haven't fully immersed myself in Travis McGee, but I've been rounding out my collection. I recently picked up a copy of The Executioners, the novel that Cape Fear was based on.

I can't wait to read the book, rewatch the 1962 version, and compare it with Scorsese's.

Years ago, I found an angry note in a used book. I don't remember who it was addressed to or who it was from, but I remember this line: I will have renvenge (sic) on you.

I will have renvenge on you.

I guess if you stick around long enough, everything makes sense in the end.

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