Monthly Archives: October 2016

“If you hold on to the past, you die a little each day…”

I have another first.

This would be the first Scorsese movie that I would be allowed to see.  Scorsese was a name that my mother was aware of.  I was not.  She kept it from me as long as she could, but she knew I’d eventually find out about him.

It was her fault.

She had seen the original “Cape Fear (1962),”  with Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. I’m sure she was curious about what Mr. Scorsese had to say about that story.  I watched it with my mom and dad (my little brother was still too young).  It was a hard movie to watch with my parents in the room.

My mother struggles with the infamous “F” word being used in movies.  One thing I learned very quickly about a Scorsese picture…he likes characters that are comfortable with that word.  So, for every “F,” there would be a sigh of disgust and judgment from my mother…

It was distracting…don’t mention the rape scene–that’s hard to watch without a judgmental mother in the room.  #Horrifying.

In the original story, Peck plays the hero and Mitchum helms the role of one of the greatest villains to fill the screen, Max Cady.  Mitchum did a good job with it…De Niro did what he always does…made it ten times better.

The story starts with Cady being released from prison.  He is a monster of a man, De Niro was back in “Raging Bull” shape for this picture and now he dawns some haunting prison tattoos all over his torso.  With no dialogue, we’re already aware that we need to be facing this character at all times.  Cady starts to subtly creep and stalk Sam Bowden (played by the always underrated Nick Nolte) and we soon learn that all those years ago, Bowden defended Cady and fudged some of the evidence, intentionally, knowing that Cady was guilty and needed to be in prison.  Cady of course, discovers this in prison when he starts to become obsessed with the state laws and has read every book that he has on the law, committing them to memory–at least the ones that will aid him in his justification and plot for revenge.

In the original, there is a brief moment in which Peck’s past judgment with how he handled the Cady defense all those years ago, upsets the unit of his family…In the Scorsese film, it is a black cloud that lingers throughout the picture and probably after…This is where the Scorsese film brings a sense of reality and tension to a new level as we have a family (Jessica Lange is Bowden’s wife and Juliette Lewis is their daughter) that is in danger together, but also does not trust each other.

Cody quickly escalates from stalker to dangerous threat when the family realizes that their dog has now been murdered…and that’s just the start of the terror.  If I had to put a label on this movie, I think it would be psychological thriller; if someone labeled it horror and watched it every Halloween, I wouldn’t put up a fight.

Because of the graphic material, it was not a movie that I wanted to re-visit right away.  You have to give pictures like that some time to settle.  I did watch it again and I find it to be so stressful and suspenseful still, even when I know what will come next.  This is a testament to the atmosphere that Scorsese developed with the screenwriters, cinematography (tone), and last but not least, everyone of the amazing performances in this film.

Remember, always face Cady when he walks through a room.  #WildCard…to say the least.

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“Everything’s all right then.”

Unexpected.

The emotions I went through watching this movie.  That pretty much describes it.

I remember my mother being very excited to share this one with us.  It had Sean Connery in it, so why wouldn’t she…but it was more than that.  I realized after I watch–no, witnessed it–why she was so excited.

It was made in 1975, so I wasn’t too excited being a 15-year-old that only wanted “new,” but she talked it up…it better be good or she’d hear “what.”  I like Sean too, let’s not kid ourselves.

It also starred an often forgotten Michael Caine–rarely mentioned among one of the great actors of our time.  He most certainly is and this is one of the films that proves that.

I remember listening to a couple of pretentious, talentless hacks on a podcast at one point (needless to say, I do not listen to their podcast presently and I cannot make note of who they were) stating that Sean was not much of an actor and made a living off of his looks.  I think this was the final conversation that made me stop listening.  It was apparent to me that the two of them had never seen “The Man Who Would Be King.” Even if they had seen it and felt that Connery was not good in this role, showed they had it in for him for being a Greek God any way.

connery

The movie begins with a story being told to Rudyard Kipling. It is told by someone I did not recognize, until he spoke, then I realized he was played by Michael Caine.  Peachy is his name and has to share the tale of his adventure with his best friend, Daniel (Connery).

The story within the story starts off in British occupied India where the two soldiers decide to “escape” the soldiers life and enter a land that “has not seen a white man since Alexander.”  Daniel has a crackpot idea to become their gods, at best, their kings.  And we’re off!  On the road with these two.

Peachy plays the conscience, the advisor, the voice of reason…can I do more phrases that mean the same thing? Yep! Cognoscenti–look it up.

Daniel is the “idea man,” and Peachy is a natural follower, however, he can generally steer Daniel in the correct direction and keep him out of total disaster…generally; key word.

We see this dynamic after their first interaction together in the beginning of the film.  I have always counted Paul Newman and Robert Redford as the gold standard for chemistry on film together.  I stand by that.  Little known fact however; Huston was coming to the end of his career and had wanted to tell this story for decades.  He wanted Bogart and Gable, then Lancaster and Douglas, then Burton and O’Toole.  When it landed on Newman and Redford, Newman recommended Connery and Caine.  Yes, the princes of chemistry relented to the masters of suave.  It is unfortunate that they only ever appeared together in one other film in very small roles (A Bridge Too Far).  We have to remember though, this was back in old-Hollywood when enough of a good thing was “enough of a good thing.”

To see these two men interact with each other as our speaking box together amongst a number of people that do not speak our language is comical, thrilling, and eventually tragic.  Watching the change that occurs in Daniel from the start of the story to the end is something to behold.  A very bright and energetic “idea man” slowly turns into a hypnotized, prideful, monster that eventually takes one thing too many on his journey.

peachy

Peachy is the result of this pride.  Daniel’s once best friend who is nothing more than a voice for the story in front of us.

If you have not seen it yet and you are a fan/student of cinema, go see it right now.

It will be beyond deliverance.

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