Director: J. Lee Thompson
Cast (in credits order):
Gregory Peck ... Sam Bowden
Robert Mitchum ... Max Cady
Polly Bergen ... Peggy Bowden
Lori Martin ... Nancy Bowden
Martin Balsam ... Mark Dutton
Telly Savalas ... Charles Sievers
Barrie Chase ... Diane Taylor
Verdict: Max Cady is one of Mitchum's most indelible portraits. He simply oozes evil as the revenge-seeking ex-con. The scenes in which he stalks Polly Bergen and teenager Lori Martin are truly terrifying. Although we should be rooting for Gregory Peck's righteously indignant family man, it's Mitchum's despicable brute whom we can't stop watching.
Behind the Scenes: In the scene in which Cady surprises Peggy (Polly Bergen) on their houseboat, both actors were so in character that they just kept going, with Mitchum reportedly not coming out of character until after the director yelled "Cut" three times. "Mitchum realized I was really hurt," Bergen said of the scene in which he pushed her through a door that was not pre-set to give way. "He took me in his arms and started to rock me and said, 'I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry ..." she recalled in Robert Mitchum: The Reluctant Star. The film was remade in 1991 by Martin Scorsese with Robert De Niro in the Max Cady role and Mitchum, Peck, and Balsam in cameo roles.
Recognition: Ranked at #61 on the the American Film Institute's "100 Years ... 100 Thrills" list.
Mitchum's performance as Max Cady ranked at #28 on its list of "100 Years ... 100 Heroes & Villains."
DVD Review: Mike Clark USA Today (2001): "Many use 1962's less over-the-top Cape Fear to bash Martin Scorsese's more psychologically deep remake. It's worth noting, though, that back in my film programming career, I futilely searched half a day for a single favorable review from the 1962 film to quote in a program note. Judge for yourself, because Universal has released 18-chapter versions of the original and the 1991 remake. Robert Mitchum is convincing as a predator/rapist in the first by simply showing up on the screen -- to battle prosecutor Gregory Peck. In the remake, Robert De Niro works hard to accomplish what Mitchum did effortlessly while pitted against Nick Nolte as a public defender who has sold out client De Niro. Its making-of documentary runs 80 minutes (to the '62 version's 28), with interviews with Scorsese, the four principal leads (including Jessica Lange and Juliette Lewis) and key production personnel."
If You Liked This Movie, You Might Also Like: The Night of the Hunter with Robert Mitchum, Experiment in Terror with Glenn Ford, Act of Violence with Robert Ryan