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Archive for the ‘1962’ Category

cape-fearSo this is kind of weird for me. I saw this movie a couple of months ago and started writing a review where I was telling you how God awful bored I was at watching this supposed thriller.  But I didn’t finish the review and now its two months later and so I decided to watch this movie again so I could refresh my memory and I found it to be not as horrible as the first time I watched.  It is still bad but not as bad as I thought.

After serving 8 years in prison for assault and battery, Max Cady , played by Robert Mitchum (The Longest Day,) tracks down Sam Bowden, played by Gregory Peck (To Kill a Mockingbird,)who Cady personally blames for being in jail because Bowden intervened during the attack and testified against him.  Once Bowden realizes Cady is in town it becomes a game of cat and mouse as Cady stalks Bowden and his family but makes sure to never cross the line and break the law or gets caught breaking the law.  Bowden begins to lose his grasp of right and wrong as the family dog is poisoned and his daughter Nancy is hit by a car running away from Bowden.    Bowden decides to set a trap for Cady on a house boat on Cape Fear River where he can take care of Cady once and for all.

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Expectations are a funny thing.  When I watched this film for the first time I had high expectations because back in the early 1990’s I remembered the hype of the remake of this film and all I heard was how intense it was and how much of a bad ass Robert Mitchum was as Cady.  As I was watching the movie for the first time I was stunned at how slow the pace was from the beginning.  It reminds me of what my movie cohort Benn Farrell usually says about all of these movies made before the 1960’s.  Many of the scenes looked as if it was shot on a theater production stage as opposed to an actual movie stage.  The only time we had any wide shots were when there were scenes shot outside.  Almost all of the inside shots were close up shots that just give you the feeling that they are shooting in a box.  One of my biggest issues with this production was the use of the music in the film.  When I first heard it during the opening credits and establishing shot I was thinking that this was perfect mood music to set the movie up.  The only problem is that it seems like the music never disappears.  It got so bad that the more I heard it I was saying to myself, “Here comes the bad guy about to do bad things.”    The use of music reminded me of movies from the 1940’s on how music was used to set the music of every scene.  The last thing I will say about the production is that I know that this movie was made in 1962 but we never really saw the character Cady do bad things until the final act when he killed a cop in a stakeout.  Other than that, we heard a lot about how bad a man he was, and when he was about to do something bad in the movie, like beat up the woman he picked up at the local bar in his apartment, we see the girl look at Cady who has malicious intent in his eyes and she gets up to run…somewhere…and he grabs her as she grabs a swinging door and then all we see are shadows moving beyond the swinging door.   Mind you this entire time there is menacing bad guy music the ENTIRE time.  No words are spoken at all.  I know he is a bad guy but something to prove it in the beginning would be nice other than stories and mean music.

Despite the fact that the music was in the way and the production didn’t help, Robert Mitchum was still pretty awesome as the bad guy Cady.  He was menacing without the music and was very believable as a person who would appear to hate women in general.  Gregory Peck was pretty awesome as the desperate lawyer who wanted to protect his family.  I would say that the acting overall was pretty good.  I will say that with the exception of Mitchum the rest of the actors seemed to almost pantomime their acting.  I guess what I mean is that during the many times that there were no speaking parts and the camera was just panning between the actors only Mitchum seemed to be acting with his body and the rest, especially the ladies, all looked like either angry or shocked mannequins.

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I mentioned earlier that when I had high expectations for this movie I thought it was painfully slow and it was.  I kept waiting to see this suspenseful thriller about a killer stalking a family instead I go a slow and slumbering story about a guy who was more creeping on the young daughter and less scary stalker.  I will say that the costume department did a wonderful job of making a 15 year old girl look 1960’s naughty and by that I mean she was constantly wearing short skin tight shorts as well as a tight blouse…almost all the time.  By our standards today that would be nun-like but in 1962 that is terrible.  So the creeper factor was there every time Cady was looking at her in bad ways.  But it still didn’t make up for the slow pace of the film.  Basically every time Cady would do something to taunt Bowden there would be a 10 minute discussion as to what to do about it.  It got tiresome after an hour.

Lastly I will say that I also mentioned that the second time I watched this film and with no expectations I was able to pay attention to it more.  I can’t tell you why other than I kept thinking that the first time I saw this film it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I thought it was worse than it was and that’s on me.  There are a lot worse films from this time period but it just wasn’t as awesome as I was expecting.

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HatariThis is a movie review challenge from Benn Farrell to me.  Actually I set the parameters of the challenge this month because I know Benn dislike most movies made before 1970.  The challenge for us this month is to review two movies made before 1970, one of them has to have been made before 1960.

I was fascinated by this movie as a child because I got to see John Wayne be John Wayne and I got to see what Africa was like, or at least a Hollywood Epic Africa. As an adult I realize that this movie would piss off a lot of my female friends that consider their dogs or cats as children.  It’s a very dated film but I still like it and some of it is visually stunning.

So the story, if you can call it a story, is that a group of big game wild life collectors lead by Sean Mercer, played John Wayne (The Longest Day) are riding around the African country side collecting big game animals to ship off to zoos around the world.  Complicating issues this season is that one of the main assistants to Sean, the Indian, played by Bruce Cabot (The Green Berets,) is gored by a rhino and leaves the group shorthanded.  Another issues is that a zoo in Switzerland sends an inexperienced photographer named Dallas, played by Elsa Martinelli (Love In Rome,) and forces Sean to keep her around for the season.  When she starts to fall for Sean she takes the advice of Sean’s other close friend Pockets, played by Red Buttons (The Poseidon Adventure,) in how to get close to and win Sean’s heart.

So obviously there is not much of a story here.   It’s actually more of a bunch of characters arcs in between a dozen scenes involving the capturing of assorted animals.  I wouldn’t really call it a character piece because there really aren’t a whole lot of different characters.  We have some basic stereotype characters in the film.  The two females in the film are the above mentioned Dallas who is Italian, and the “owner” of the collection company Brandy played Michele Girardin, is French.  With the men we have three Americans, a Frenchman, German, and Mexican.   Now I only point that out because that’s really the only difference between these characters.  Both women are sexy and exotic but smart and ladies you don’t mess with.  The men, with the exception of Pockets and the injured Indian, are macho; devil may care 60’s bad asses, so the character arcs are more of a who will fall in love with whom and why.  The story is weak.  The ending is just ridiculous.  It starts Dallas leaving the group because she has given up on Sean ever falling for her.  When Sean hears this he starts a wild chase for her using the pet elephants (if you see the movie you will understand,) to help chase Dallas down in the town where she breaks down crying that she was found.  The final scene is Dallas in bed as Sean enters the room (recreating the scene where Sean first meets Dallas,) and we discover that the two of them married each other, the same day.  No, just no.  So the story, yeah it suffers.

The real reason to see the movie is the epic scenes of them chasing down the assorted animals and capturing them.  The cool thing about them is that the actors, including John Wayne, are actually out there in the trucks wrestling with the Rhinos, water buffalo, and Giraffes.  Many of the chase scenes show Wayne either sitting in the front of the car by the engine with a seat designed to capture the smaller non-threatening animals, or in the back of the truck holding on to the railing.  In interviews Wayne admitting to being scared that the truck would hit a huge hole on the plains and roll the truck killing everyone in the back.  The director of the film, the legendary Howard Hawks, had required that all of the actors take part in the actually capture of the animals, including the rhino.  Hawks had said that after the shooting was done he had to go to a sound stage to record John Wayne with other lines because he couldn’t use the sound from the live footage because of all of the swearing from Wayne.

The reason this film was made was to show some exciting scenes of Africa to America sense in 1962 99% of Americans had only seen Africa in the National Geographic magazines.  I wish the movie had some story to it or plot or good acting but this is the equivalent to an 80’s action film.  Lots of action very thin on plot with some laughs and hot ladies to women to look at.  If you look at this film for what it is it can be enjoyable.  For me that is what it is, an enjoyable film with the old school bad ass John Wayne in it.

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