Category Archives: Films Released in 1991
CAPE FEAR-United States-1991
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Screenplay by Wesley Strick
Earlier screenplay by James R. Webb
Based on the novel “The Executioners” by John D. MacDonald
Everything is in place. The credits roll. There’s Scorsese’s old reliable workhorse Robert De Niro right there at top billing. The old trademark Madonna-whore complex is right there in the character of Danielle Bowden. There’s even the customary cameo from Marty’s parents, Charles and Catherine. Everything is in place for this to be another great Martin Scorsese picture. So why the hell does it feel so wrong?
I’ve watched Cape Fear on at least 4 occasions and it has never felt 100 per cent like a film that Martin Scorsese would make. Then, last night, I realized exactly why. It occurred during the scene where Max Cady is working his redneck charm on Lori at the bar. The acting was great; the scene seemed set up well, but lo and behold it just never felt like Scorsese was in control of the scene. In fact, it never really feels as if he’s in complete control throughout the entire picture. Scorsese has stepped away from his traditional New York settings before, but the whole thing seems so out of place. Even the film quality doesn’t seem like what we’ve come to expect from a Marty picture.
As a major Scorsese fan I want to like this film; but I just can’t bring myself to completely commit to it. When the credits say ‘A Martin Scorsese picture’, the quality should be there. I’m sorry; folks, but I don’t see it with Cape Fear.
Robert De Niro paid a dentist $5,000 to make his teeth look suitably bad for the role of Max Cady. After filming, he paid $20,000 to have them fixed.
The scene in the high school auditorium was totally ad-libbed by Robert De Niro andJuliette Lewis, and done on the first take.
Steven Spielberg was originally set to direct. He later recommended Martin Scorsese for the job and personally called the director, letting him know that this was a commercial film that had potential to be a hit, which would exercise more power for Scorcese to make his films.
- Classic films in focus: ‘Cape Fear’ (1962) (examiner.com)
- Martin Scorsese still a Goodfella (canada.com)
- Nick Nolte: ‘Martin Scorsese Won’t Have Anything to Do With Me’ (moviefone.com)
- Gallery: ‘Batman’ Directed By Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Ang Lee, Guillermo Del Toro, Brad Bird and More (slashfilm.com)
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS-United States-1991
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Screenplay by Ted Tally
Based on the novel by Thomas Harris
I wonder if Thomas Harris knew just what a powder-keg of a book he had written. Did Jonathan Demme have any idea he was directing what would be the biggest movie of his career? What about Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins; did they have any suspicion that they were starring in a masterpiece? Did any of them realize they were a part of the greatest serial killer film of all time? If they didn’t know it then I guarantee you they know it now.
There is not a single weak performance in this film. The four main stars; Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn and Ted Levine knock their performances out of the ballpark. Foster reminds us that her Oscar win for The Accused was no fluke. Her turn as Clarice Starling is the type of role that other actresses would kill for and Foster performs it as if she stepped right into Starling’s skin.
Scott Glenn is one of the most underrated actors in the cinema. He plays FBI agent Jack Crawford with a mixture of authority and fatherly concern for Agent Starling. He is as proud of her as if she were his own flesh and blood. As Jame ‘Buffalo Bill’ Gumb, Ted Levine plays the most bizarre of serial killers. His ability to hold his own in a film with Hopkins and Foster is a testament to his ability as an actor.
I find myself at a loss for words as I seek out what I want to say about Anthony Hopkins and his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter. One particular scene that stands out in my mind is when Starling meets Lecter for the first time. Lecter is standing quietly in the middle of his cell like a tiger poised to strike. It is in that moment that Hopkins lets us know that Hannibal Lecter is a man of grace, intelligence and sophisticated evil. It is no wonder that the American Film Institute voted him the Number One screen villain of the past 100 years. Incidentally AFI voted Clarice Starling as the Number Six greatest screen hero.
The Silence of the Lambs is a haunting work of art truly deserving of each and every accolade that has been bestowed upon it in the past 20 years. I have watched it dozens of times and will watch it dozens more. That, my friends, is the true sign of a great movie.
Anthony Hopkins described his voice for Hannibal Lecter as, “a combination of Truman Capote and Katharine Hepburn.”