Last night I re-watched my Bluray of J. Lee Thompson‘s Cape Fear (’62), which costarred Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Martin Balsam, Telly Savalas and, as Peck and Bergen’s Tinkerbell-sized daughter, Lori Martin.
The Martin casting side, I’m a much bigger fan of Thompson’s version than Martin Scorsese’s 1991 remake, which costarred Nick Nolte, Robert De Niro, Jessica Lange, Joe Don Baker and, as Nolte and Lange’s daughter, Juliette Lewis.
The Martin casting made no sense because she was way too tiny to be the daughter of the 6’3″ Peck and the 5’5″ Bergen. And I don’t want to hear any bullshit about how normal it is for the daughter of an exceptionally tall father and an average-sized mom to look like the daughter of Mickey Rooney or Truman Capote. Don’t even try it.
Martin was 14 during filming in ’61 and is clearly pubescent, but she’s roughly the size of a seven- or-eight-year-old. The publicity photo wth Peck shows she was at least 18″ shorter, or roughly 4’10”. Most teenage girls reach their full height by age 15 so don’t try that crap either.
Will you look at that photo of Martin sitting next to Bergen? Martin looks like Howdy Doody.
Thompson reportedly wanted to cast Hayley Mills in the daughter role, and was unhappy about being more or less forced to cast Martin.
I’m very sorry to report that Martin died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on April 4, 2010, two weeks before her 63rd birthday. Her Wiki page says she had “struggled with mental illness (bipolar schizophrenia) and illicit drug use in the decade after her husband died.”