RARA-AVIS: The Executioners/Cape Fear

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 13 Jun 2003

John D. MacDonald's THE EXECUTIONERS (1958) was twice adapted for the movies: CAPE FEAR (1962), and CAPE FEAR (1991). The first version had Robert Mitchum as the villain, Max Cady, and it's one of his best performances. He can just stand around looking at you with those droopy eyes and you know he's ready to kill. The late Gregory Peck plays the hero, the lawyer whose wife and daughter are threatened. It's a good movie, with some very tense sections, especially at the end. (And the score is by Bernard Herrmann.)

I've never read the original book, nor seen the 1991 remake that had Robert De Niro as Cady and Nick Nolte as the lawyer. I understand Mitchum and Peck have cameos. How is it? Is De Niro as menacing as Mitchum? Are the endings the same? In the 1962 version, the lawyer beats Cady in the climactic fight, but doesn't shoot him: he saves him for the police and for justice.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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