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This review is from: Cape Fear Box Set [1961 and 1991] [DVD] (DVD)
Both these films are worth getting, but as a double bill this becomes a great purchase. If anything the original film is the better of the two, but don't under-estimate Scorcese's remake, its a powerful film in its own right, but just a little over the top.
Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum star in the original 1961 version, and Scorcese gave them both small roles in the remake. Nick Nolte and Robert DeNiro star in the remake. DeNiro worked out seriously for this role, and although aged 49 at the time, when you watch the opening scene (the last to be filmed) you can see he was in tremendous shape. He was working out for hours every day before filming. The main difference between the two films is that in the original version the Bowden family are basically 'good' and Max Cady (Robert Mitchum) is 'evil'. In the remake this is much less clear cut, and the family have problems. Cady is also given some legal basis for being unhappy with Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) in the remake, although this is no justification for his actions of course.
Its worth mentioning Bernard Herrmanns teriffic score which was adapted for the remake as well. If Hitchcock had had the chance he would have used this, its very sinister, with a memorable hook.
There is a bonus disc with the 1991 version. This contains a documentary, deleted scenes etc etc. The original version also has a similar number of extras as well.