When I first saw the original Cape Fear (about 3/4 years ago on VHS) I was REALLY REALLY disappointed, having seen the remake some time before: The ending was such an anti-climax - the exact opposite of the remake, which was slightly OTT in my opinion - and the resolution so unsatisfying given the antagonist's character (Robert Mitchum). Its certainly a well made film, and a well told tale. But it was just so simple. For this reason, it was soooooo right for a modern retelling. In a sense, Cape Fear was a movie that couldn't be told properly back in 1962 because of the censorship issues of the time, and the requirements of a B film at the time. Scorsese's remake takes everything that was over-simplified in the original (everything), and gives it a complex, necessary revision. Adding kinetic camerawork and expert editing, building the tension that was somewhat lacking in the original. A contemporary audience watching the original film, just wouldn't be on the edge of their seat: because the line which films have to cross to horrify or scare you has (arguably) somewhat changed over the last 30-40 years! Knowing full well that no (on screen) blood shed, torture or horror would be coming, a modern audience just wouldn't be able to enter into the emotional arc of the film. Now in the remake, not only will an audience be unknowingly disturbed by the underlying psychological perversions (of all of the characters), but while watching, there is a high degree of tension - both due to Scorsese's techniques (and knowledge of what he has done before), and because you are made to believe in Cady's capabilities for evil. Having De Niro vary his performace from slight wacko, to charming yet deadly anti-hero, to all out nut, gives the audience triple the capacity to feel simpathy and pity and repulsion for the characters he is tormenting: Sam is a flawed individual - unlike Gregory Peck in the original, who prosectuted the wrong and won - Nick Nolte is the defender of the wrong - and is losing both in his professional and domestic life. Just as the original reflected the seeming idylic bliss of 50s/early 60s domestic America, the remake demonstrates that such a simple world could never have existed, and gives us an alternate portrait of 90s family life. The perfect remake, and possibly, suitable for another retelling in another 40 years, when the intellectual basis for a family has morphed again! I know none of this is new regarding the remake vs. the old, but I just felt like bringing it up for discussion, in light of the excellent DVD re-issues!