Gregory Peck at his best
- To Kill a Mockingbird review by LE
The real joy of this film lies in superb performances, and it clings to key story of the book, happily ignoring the subplots. The moral standing of Atticus is a learning point for everyone.
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Period Drama (includes spoilers).
- To Kill a Mockingbird review by Steve
Meticulous and and detailed version of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning classic. Best of all is the inspired casting, from Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch all the way to Robert Duvall's debut as inarticulate recluse, Boo Radley. There are lovely child performances too, particularly from Mary Badham as Scout.
The first half of the film is a character study as the children learn about life from their small southern town. The relationship between the lawyer Atticus, a widower, and his daughter Scout is sensitively sketched. The latter part relates to Finch's defence of a black farm labourer Tom Robinson (Brock Peters) who has been set up by a mob of bigoted smallholders.
The white agricultural workers of depression-era Monroeville, Alabama are destitute. They have nothing but their perceived superiority to black people, which they guard ruthlessly. Robinson is found guilty of raping a white woman, not because he has a case to answer, but because he pitied her. Which strikes too deeply into the poor farmers' conviction of primacy.
The rural south of the 1930s is brilliantly realised. This is a memory story and there is an impression of time and events being distorted by the act of recollection. It's a remarkably subtle and intelligent film which made an issue of southern apartheid as the civil rights movement in America was coming into being.
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