Justin Bower

Justin Bower

Cigars in Cinema


Not often is a remake of a classic movie done so well. However, this remake (in my opinion) is one of the best to have ever been made. The original Cape Fear (1962) starring Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum and even the incredible Telly Savalas is a true classic. Robert Mitchum gives such a menacing performance, its shot beautifully and directed by the amazing J. Lee Thompson. So fast forward to 1991. A remake was in the works. Tack on the mastermind that is Martin Scorsese and add Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis…. and wait, there is more……Joe Don Baker, Fred Thompson and even bringing back Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum and Martin Balsam for cameos. Wow, that’s a mouth full and such an incredible cast! How can you go wrong with that ensemble? I must say this is probably in my top 20 list of favorite movies. o.

It looks amazing, Scorsese frames shots beautifully with different angles and closeups and the SCORE for this movie is AMAZING. The score really sets the perfect tone for this film and really keeps you on the edge of your seat. Add in a masterful performance from the always incredible De Niro and you really have one for the books.

A few reasons I picked this movie:
 1. Simple, it’s one of my favorites. 
 2. It’s a good summer movie because of the timeline of the movie being around the 4th of July. 
 3. And of course, there aren’t too many scenes where De Niro doesn’t have a cigar in his mouth. 
One of the iconic scenes in this movie is when De Niro’s character (Max Cady) goes to a movie theater where the family he is tormenting is watching a movie. He sits a few rows in front of them, bites the end off of his Casa Blanca Half Jeroboam and lights it with his bikini lighter. The next few minutes of the film are of Max laughing meniacally with the smoke from his cigar billowing around his silhouette and around everyone else, is truly a tense scene. From there on, we don’t see him with a lit cigar too much but he does however have one he is chewing on for most of the movie. 
Scorsese wanted the character of Max Cady to have a very large and menacing cigar to smoke, so they chose the Casa Blanca Half Jeroboam. It was a perfect match for the movie, being that even with its extra large size, it was still a fairly mild cigar, which made it easier for De Niro to continuously smoke throughout the takes. 
Final thoughts: Is this Scorese’s best movie? Or De Niro or the rest of the cast? Not at all. However the tone set with the score and the wonderful acting and directing by everyone involved make this one of my favorite remakes! And a terrific Cigars in Cinema pick! 
1.) Robert De Niro was tattooed with vegetable dyes, which faded after a few months.
2.) The scene in the high school auditorium was completely ad-libbed by Robert De Niro and Juliette Lewis. It was also done on the first take!
3.) This was Gregory Peck’s final appearance in a theatrical film release before his death on June 12, 2003 at the age of 87.
4.) Robert De Niro did a lot of working out for several months prior to filming m the movie as well as during the shoot to make him the muscular Max Cady, reportedly taking his body fat down to only three percent.
5.)This was Amblin Entertainment’s first R-rated film.