All these resent posts have been films screened on TCM, as part of their current Crime Wave season (yes - even High Society, which makes sense if Bing Crosby horrifies you as much as he does me). And this has been the best one so far. Robert Mitchum is an actor that I just appreciate more the older I get, and this has got to be his finest role. Absolutely terrifying as rapist Max Cady, Mitchum moves like a man who knows his body as a weapon.
He's come to town to exact his revenge on the family of Gregory Peck's upstanding lawyer Sam Bowden, who found him attacking a woman seven years ago and testified against him. The film just gets scarier, as the extent of Cady's capacity and aptitude for violence becomes apparent.
The only weakness in the film is Lori Martin as Sam's prepubescent daughter Nancy Bowden. She was given the hair style and clothes of a middle aged woman, which makes her look like... a tiny 55 year old. The Director wanted Hayley Mills for the part and you can imagine that she would have been charismatic enough to make an impact. Martin just simpers and widens her eyes through the movie, but it's still clear that by the end everyone has been irredeemably traumatised.
About a million times more intelligent and frightening than the 1991 Scorsese version.