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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962)
Southern archetypes fill the screen in this classic adaptation of Harper Lee's beloved novel set in 1930s Alabama, where attorney Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck, who won an Oscar) defends a black man (Brock Peters) falsely accused of a rape committed by the victim's father. Meanwhile, aided by their friend Dill (John Megna), Finch's children, son Jem (Phillip Alford) and daughter Scout (Mary Badham), overcome their own fear and the prejudice of the town by making contact with their reclusive neighbor Boo Radley (Robert Duvall, in a memorable acting debut).
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was nominated for the Best Picture award.
The Director, Robert Mulligan, crafted a true, American classic out of this involving Southern tale, told through the eyes of a young girl, and the experiences of her family. Mulligan received a nomination for best directing.
Atticus Finch Quote: "You never really understand
American Southern life in a 1932 Depression-era Macomb, an Alabama town, is fully examined in this Oscar-winning film, warts and all, through the eyes of Scout (Mary Badham), the daughter of a widowed lawyer, Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), an honorable man and a pillar of the community. Finch is given the defense case of a local African American, Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), is accused of raping a poor, white girl, Mayella Violet Ewell (Collin Wilcox Paxton), who lived with her disgusting, low life father, Bob Ewell (James Anderson), near the town dump.
Finch earnestly takes on Robinson's defense, despite objections of others, and the fact that the all-white jury would certainly convict Robinson of the crime. In the course of the trail, the just lawyer comes to represent moral courage and tolerance, and the decency of the town, as opposed to the mindless hate, ignorance and prejudice that lurks just under the surface, epitomized in the sleazeball Bob Ewell (James Anderson). How this whole episode transforms and influences his children, Scout and her brother, Jem (Phillip Alford), their relationships with others, and the town in general makes an entertaining, poignant film.
The film is a classic because of its riveting screenplay, and a dynamite, talented cast, all under the gifted and inspired direction by Robert Mulligan.
Robert Mulligan's fine, gifted direction of this classic earned him an academy award nomination.
This powerful, poignant screenplay, was written by Horton Foote, which was adapted from Harper Lee's novel. Foote won the academy award Oscar, and Harper Lee received a Pulitzer Prize for her beloved and widely read masterpiece, that is required reading in many schools.. Horton Foote had a long, successful career as a writer, bringing his own personal view of small town life to many wonderful screenplays, such as TENDER MERCIES, THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL, and ON VALENTINE'S DAY.
The powerhouse acting of this talented cast brings to roaring life the fabulous screenplay particularly Gregory Peck, Brock Peters, Mary Badham, James Anderson and Robert Duvall.
Gregory Peck, is fantastic as the dedicated,
principled lawyer, and loving father doing his best to raise
his children. His performance is one of the best efforts of
his career, and won the Best Actor Oscar for his role. "There's
a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep
'em all away from you. That's never possible."
James Anderson (I) gives a chilling performance as the slimy, evil Bob Ewell, a never-do-well with a huge drinking problem, who lives near the dump with his children.
Brock Peters is very convincing as Tom Robinson, accused of raping a poor girl, Mayella Violet Ewel, living in squalid conditions, with plenty of siblings and no help, as her father was a mean drunk. He knows that he will more than likely be convicted, and is appropriately worried. He knows that his goose is cooked when he admits on the stand, that the reason he was helping the girl, was because he felt sorry for her, even though she was a white girl.
Collin Wilcox Paxton, as Mayella Violet Ewel, gives a powerful courtroom performance.
9 year old Mary Badham is wonderful as Atticus's feisty, strong-willed, young daughter, who loves her father, tries her best to keep up with her big brother Jem, and has been known to settle things with her fists, until she slowly evolves and grows throughout the story.
My favorite scene takes place in the woods at
night. Peck's daughter, Scout (Mary Badham), while being stuck
in a school play ham costume, is pursued, and attacked, as well
as her brother, Jem. The scene is scary and involving, making
us feel the girl's experience, from her perspective.