To Kill a Mockingbird
Release Year: 1962
Director: Robert Mulligan
Writers: Horton Foote (screenplay), Harper Lee (based on her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird)
Starring: Gregory Peck, Philip Alford, Mary Badham, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy, Brock Peters, Ruth White, Estelle Evans, Paul Fix, Collin Wilcox Patton, James Anderson, Alice Ghostley, Robert Duvall, William Windom
Rating: Won 3 Oscars: Best Actor (Gregory Peck), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction – Black & White. Nominated for 5 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Mary Badham), Best Cinematography – Black & White, Best Score. Won 3 Golden Globes: Best Actor – Drama (Gregory Peck), Best Original Score, Best Film Promoting International Understading. Nominated for 2 Golden Globes: Best Picture – Drama, Best Director. Won 1 Cannes Film Festival prize: Gary Cooper Prize for best direction, Nominated for the Palme d’Or.
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #193, week 9 2018
Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), a highly respected smalltown lawyer in a and single father of Scout (Mary Badham) and Jem (Philip Alford), agrees to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a film (and novel) that is immensely important to Americans and hits a sore nerve in the country’s history with a story that needs to be told and remembered. While the specific racial issues of the American South are less relevant to non-Americans, it is a painful subject that has lend itself to many great films about the worst and the best of humanity – a theme that is certainly universal. The film manages to combine a cruel subject with warmth and a sense of the innocence of childhood Summers. This is done by telling the story through the eyes of the siblings Scout and Jem and their new friend Dill. We never see any scenes the children do not witness or overhear. They admire the father Atticus Finch greatly and with good reason; he is thoroughly decent, upstanding, kindhearted, just, and loving. Simply said, a good man in every sense of the word. Peck (Roman Holiday, 1953) was wise enough to realise that he was offered the role of a lifetime and does so well that it is impossible to imagine anyone else as Finch. In fact, he reminded author Harper Lee so much of her own father that she gave him his pocket watch. The children are charming, the supporting cast is thoroughly strong, especially Brock Peters (Soylent Green, 1973) as the accused man. On the one hand a riveting courtroom drama, on the other hand a coming-of-age film To Kill a Mockingbird is a film that is bound to leave a lasting mark. A great film and a good adaptation of an important novel this is a classic must see.
Gregory Peck’s nine-minute summation speech at the trials was a one shot.
The piano part of Elmer Bernstein’s score was played by a young composer called John Williams.
The story of Harper Lee’s novel was loosely based on her own family and friends as well as an event that took place when she was ten years old near her hometown. Several characters have real life inspiration, for instance the character Dill (John Megna) was based on her childhood friend Truman Capote.
Picture Copyright: UIP