Moviedrome Mondays: The Duellists (1977) and Cape Fear (1962)

Once again, it turns out that this Moviedrome Monday blog entry will be another double bill.

The Duellists (1977)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction of Ridley Scott’s 1977 directorial debut The Duellists – a period piece based on writer Joseph Conrad’s 1908 short story entitled The Duel: A Military Story. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 21, 1991 (read here).Β The Duellists production values – music score, scenery and sword-fighting sequences – stand out as the film’s strongest aspect. Everything else pales in comparison. Once again, it is neither a great, nor very good film, but a good one nonetheless.

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to The Duellists

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Cape Fear (1962)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction of director J. Lee Thompson’s 1962 classic psychological thriller Cape Fear. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 21, 1991 (read here). Unlike Cox (whose praise for the film is more reserved), I love this film. Regarding the film’s audacity (lead actor Robert Mitchum’s villain is openly depicted here as a sex offender), Cape Fear debatably resembles what an early 1960’s psychological thriller would look like helmed by Alfred Hitchcock as a spiritual companion piece (albeit one in name only) to the then similarly daringΒ PsychoΒ (also directed by him) from two years earlier in 1960. While all of the performances are strong, Mitchum is undoubtedly the standout as the creepy Max Cady and legendary music composer Bernard Herrmann’s delivers a memorably menacing score to complete the package. P.S. I also love director Martin Scorsese’s 1991 remake staring Robert De Niro in the Cady role.

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Cape Fear

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

11 thoughts on “Moviedrome Mondays: The Duellists (1977) and Cape Fear (1962)

  1. I find Alex Cox’s political commentary is both unnecessary and tedious.

    When it come to the two “Cape Fear” movies, I prefer the original over the remake. Robert Mitchum can play creepy like no one else. DeNiro is good, and can play evil, but when it comes to creepy, it is Mitchum.

  2. I have to disagree with your opinion of The Duellists, whis I think is little short of a masterpiece, and in my top 20 films of all time. I have a box set of both versions of Cape Fear. I think they are two different films, with the original more stylish, and Mitcum incredibly menacing in the role of Cady. The remake is a sleazier, more mainstream film, but still excellent.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Cape Fear is an example of me liking the remake more than the original. I agree with Pete’s assessment on the two films, but for me, I liked the narrative of the family dynamic in the remake more; the original was too white picket fence IMHO, but, yes, Robert Mitchum was excellent as Max Cady.

  4. I’m really against remakes as a whole, especially if the original was a classic or close to perfect. But I gotta admit…sometimes they do a good job the second time around. I still think there’s so many unique ideas out there that aren’t getting the time of day, though, ’cause we can’t seem to let go of the past and old material.

  5. I hear ya Pete πŸ™‚ I love both versions of Cape Fear, but again, I place the original above the remake as equal as the latter is to the former. Anyway, thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

  6. Along with the 1946 and 1964 versions of The Killers, the 1962 and 1991 versions of Cape Fear are equal each other while also differing at the same time. Anyway, thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

  7. More perfect examples of great remakes are director Philip Kaufman’s 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers – equal to Don Siegel’s 1956 version, while also bettering it in some ways – and David Cronenberg’s 1986 version of The Fly, which I personally feel was better that the 1958 version. Anyway, thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

  8. I agree with you and Alex Cox that The Duellists is a great looking film, his quip about Barry Lyndon brought a smile to my face too. Cape Fear is one of Mitchum’s best performances.I watched him in The Friend’s of Eddie Coyle over the weekend, he was great in that one too.

  9. The only difference is that Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon is a great film whereas Ridley Scott’s The Duellists is only a good one. I agree with you on Cape Fear and yes, The Friends of Eddie Coyle is a classic πŸ™‚ Anyway, thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

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