“To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962)
5.0
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  • I don't think I can choose a favorite but the line that explains the movie is apt
  • Since I think of To Kill a Mockingbird as a childhood memoir movie I'd recommend The Yearling also starring Gregory Peck

    • by tfedge
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      “To Kill a Mockingbird” is an excellent movie based on the Pulitzer Prizewinning novel by Harper Lee. Screenplay is by Horton Foote. Like all good movies it can be viewed on various levels, but I tend to think of it as a childhood memoir. The movie is told from the perspective of Scout, the daughter of Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck. Over the couple of years of Scout’s childhood she and her brother Jem learn what a strong brave man their father is. He lives according to a strict moral code and hopes his children will do so as well. However, rather than being a cruel disciplinarian he leads by example and explains why he wants his children to behave in particular ways.

      Gregory Peck was a star under the old studio movie system. Because of this he learned to play a wide variety of roles in a wide variety of film styles: westerns, comedies, science fiction, and dramas. Besides his winning a Best Actor Oscar as Atticus, he was nominated for Best Actor for “Twelve O’Clock High,” one of my favorite World War II movies, “Gentleman’s Agreement,” “The Yearling,” and “The Keys of the Kingom.”

      Apart from Gregory Peck, there are not any well-known, big-name, actors in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ however there are several well-knowncharacter actors and one actor who later became both well-known and a big-named actor.

      Robert Duval plays Boo Radley, the scary, perhaps crazy neighbor of the Finch’s. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ was his first nontelevision role in a career that has included one Oscar win as Best Actor for ‘Tender Mercies’ (1983) and five other Oscar nominations. According to IMDB he has 40 award


      wins and 27 other nominations. Duval had become one of the premier actors working today with roles in ‘The Godfather,’ ‘Apocolypse Now’ where he loves the smell of napalm in the morning, and ‘Lonesome Dove.’ As I’ve mentioned in other reviews somehow Duval does such a good job in every role that it seems like he was born to play that particular role.

      Other actors who are to be recognized in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ include Brock Peters who plays Tom Robinson, the mockingbird in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Peters has starred in movies and television since the mid-1950s. He is probably most recognizable to many views for his portrayal of Joseph Sisko in ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.’

      Paul Fix plays Judge Jaylor. According to IMDB Fix’s career began in 1925 with an uncredited appearance in ‘The Perfect Clown’ a movie that features Oliver Hardy without Stan Laurel. He has more than 300 appearances to his credit but may be most familiar to Baby Boomers as Marshal Micah Torrance, the lawman, turned drunk, turned lawman in Chuck Connors’ ‘The Rifleman.’

      Alice Ghostley, whose near fifty year career in movies and television features her portrayal of Esmeralda a replacement for Aunt Clara and dozens of other shows and movies, plays Aunt Stephanie Crawford.

      William Windom plays the prosecuting attorney. Windom has nearly two hundred and fifty credits listed in IMDB beginning in 1950. He’s still working and is in production for the 2008 release of ‘Madness.’ In between he won a Primetime Emmy for Leading Role in a comedy series for ‘My World and Welcome to It,’ a short-lived television series based loosely on the work of James Thurber.


      • I remember liking this series when it came out. The series also featured Lisa Gerritsen who is best known as the Bess Lindstrom daughter of Phyllis Lindstrom, played by Cloris Leachman, on the ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ and later on the ‘Phyllis’ show. Interestingly Gerritsen is listed as working for a large California software company according to IMDB. In the mid-1960s she attended the same college I did and I had to help her use a keypunch machine and helped her with a couple of computer programs she was trying to write.

        Robert Mulligan’s directorial career spanned forty years. He directed ‘The Great Imposter’ with Tony Curtis (1961), ‘Up the Down Staircase’ with Sandy Dennis (1967), and, a favorite movie of mine, ‘Summer of ‘42′ (1971) with Jennifer O’Neill and Gary Grimes. Mulligan was nominated for an Oscar for Best Director for ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ but lost out to David Lean for ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’

        ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ won three Oscars, including Best Actor for Gregory Peck and was nominated for five more. Horton Foote won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Foote would also win a Pulitzer for his play ‘The Young Man from Atlanta’ and another Oscar for his screenplay ‘Tender Mercies’ that stars Robert Duval.

        One of my favorite moments is when Scout appears in costume as a ham in the pageant having to do with agricultural products. One of the great things about kids is that they can seriously take part in pageants and build dioramas about agricultural products and the imports and exports of other countries.

        The movies is full of special, thoughtful lines. I don’t think I can choose a favorite but the

        line that explains the movie is apt. Atticus said, ‘I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house; and that he’d rather I’d shoot at tin cans in the backyard. But he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted - if I could hit ‘em; but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird. Well, I reckon because mockingbirds don’t do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat people’s gardens, don’t nest in the corncrib, they don’t do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us.’ And that’s the story behind the movie and the title.

        Since I think of “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a childhood memoir movie I’d recommend “The Yearling” also starring Gregory Peck. Don’t forget “How Green Was My Valley” with Walter Pigeon, Maureen O’Hara, and Roddy McDowell. And of course, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” with Dorothy McGuire, Joan Blondell, and Lloyd Nolan, and “I Remember Mama” with Irene Dunne and Ellen Corby (Grandma Walton) are worth watching.

        This is a great movie. I think one of the best ever made. It has real, believable, engaging characters. The movie is well plotted, and filmed in black and white when most movies with big stars were being done in color. The choice to use black and white makes a huge difference in this movie. I give the movie a 98% or an A.




    0
    Charles M. Bona says :

    You wrote the following in your review of To Kill A Mockingbird a couple of years ago The series also featured Lisa Gerritsen who is best known as the Bess Lindstrom daughter of Phyllis Lindstrom, played by Cloris Leachman, on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and later on the Phyllis show. Interestingly Gerritsen is listed as working for a large California software company according to IMDB. In the mid-1960s she attended the same college I did and I had to help her use a keypunch machine and helped her with a couple of computer programs she was trying to write. Are you sure you meant Lisa Gerritsen the child actress or was `mid-1960s` a typo? She was born in 1957, I think.

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    0
    Violet says :

    I believe that if the review told more about the movie itself and less in-depth history about the stars that it would be helpful.

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    Vanessa says :

    While I agree with the responders posts on several other movie reviews that are pretty awful, I have to disagree with her negative comment here. I think this is a good review. Given the nature of this film and its role in American culture, I think the extra historical information about the films background is appropriate.

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